Chill Out

| by Victor Cherubim

( January 23, 2013, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) As the snow pelts like hailstones and the wind never stops howling over the past week with temperatures – 1 degree Centigrade, London seems to have ground to a halt and Britain is almost blighted. Driving on ice or packed snow for those who don’t know how to cope driving in these conditions, demands great care. Where snow has melted leaving a wet surface, there is what is called, “black ice” which can catch drivers by surprise. Thus, many planes, trains, cyclists and not to mention motor cyclists, even pedestrians are all on standby awaiting a break, at least for the sun to come out of the shadows at the least. Airports are not shut but have reduced the intake of arrivals and delayed departures.

But, the merry-go-round of intense emotions caused, never stops turning and twisting, as the City is not geared for snow which is generally an unexpected temporary occurrence. Though contingencies are covered for on paper and take days to get set for real action, snow is never a planned expectation. Gritting by snow ploughs on highways is however a common sight at night. Wintry weather is often to a snow start, as forecasters questioned how much snow the capital will see this season

Winter is hard but it is a kid’s paradise. Parents say a cold kid is a grumpy kid. Throw them a wooden sledge, a plastic sled, snow boots, thermal pants and ski gloves and they will keep throwing snowballs and frolic in the cold all day long. But, what about the adults? Yesterday was “No Pants Day”. It was a chilly morn, but that did not stop Tube travellers from stripping down to their underwear.

Everything starts as a prank and then becomes a fad. The “No Trousers Movement” started they say in 2002 in New York, but has since become a global phenomenon. Swimmers take to icy waters to show their virility or vitality. Foolhardy “ice weather for a dip” winter swimming is no longer a preserve of eccentric middle aged men; it is practiced at the Serpentine, near Hyde Park. “It is painful going in, it is painful while you are doing it, it is painful contemplating it, but it is an exhilarating feeling afterwards,” so said a swimmer who does it regularly. Perhaps, our “fire walkers,” would well have something in common.

The snow comes and drifts away. Life somehow moves on. Turning today’s ideas into successful strategies to reach tomorrow’s goals, is the name of the game as people chill out.
But what is to chill out? Does it mean the same as “calm down” or cool off or relax. It really
refers to a state of mind. We use the word in many different situations. It means “cool,”
“easy going.”

To really grasp the meaning of “Cool” we need to understand how our brain works. Brain exercises like physical exercise is both an art and a science. We know how to exercise physically, but lack doing brain exercise.

There are diverse physical activities. Similarly, there are diverse brain functions. When we analyse the main functions of the brain we trace five varied functions. They are:

1. Enhance memory
2. Concentration and Attention
3. Processing speed of information
4. Flexibility and multi-tasking
5. Problem solving

The way we respond to these five functions of the brain, shows how flexible we are and
how we can cope in today’s world.

In Sri Lanka, like in many other parts of the globe, we sometimes get embroiled in what is termed psychologically, as a “stuck situation.” We have for nearly six months talked about the “independence of the judiciary” “the rule of law,” democratic norms in response toimpeachment and removal of the Chief Justice. Are we groping in the dark or have we found a way out of our abyss? It is about how we view any unpleasant, temporary condition or circumstance. Instead of cursing the snow, or the dark days of winter, or the unfulfilling situation, we need to find a way out of our situation.

Our mind, our mood, our productivity and emotion are entirely determined by the meaning we assign to our circumstances. It is difficult, if not impossible to change the situation as it stands, but there are ways which can enable us to seek a path out of the woods.

We can look at ways of promoting a change of our laws. We know the Government too wants to refine the Standing Orders of Parliament. We need not be in a “stuck situation,” in a rigid structure but think outside the box. We have the ingenuity to invent our own opportunities instead of waiting for the world to tell us when and how they will stop aid to us.