Any moment now, you could be hit by a bus, and die. It seems to be the most unpopular way to say goodbye as you live and breathe in Bangladesh. Even as I type inside my room, there is a chance that a passing bus comes crashing through my wall. Back in 2004, that actually happened when a bus rammed into our boundary wall, taking down many bricks and a very upset, rather stingy banana tree.
While life is short these days, you may want to learn quick ways to banish those distressing thoughts. You want to achieve an absolute sense of chill. The internet and my overly helpful colleague Nahela Nowshin will suggest many complicated ways to de-stress. I hack down the complications and bring you the bare essentials with a little bit of science.
Fake HA-HAs go a long way into becoming the real thing. Try it right now. Say 'haha' a few times. You will feel stupid enough to just actually really truly smile. Turns out, if you do minorly stupid things all the time, you will smile a lot. It becomes a little inconvenient because then you have to develop newer ways to do stupid things. In my line of work, I often meet many new marketing professionals who smile a lot because of what they say. For example, 'Let's make this viral. Let's make everything viral.' And that exclamation comes after a discussion on dengue virus.
What smiling does is release dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin naturally. These chemicals help relax the body and lower heart rate and blood pressure. It explains why our shipping minister managed to laugh after last week's horrific road accident that killed three students. He pointed out how people in India don't really react much when it comes to road accidents. Stupid thing to say, perhaps, but I am sure the stupidity made him smile as a result. Poor guy is just trying to relax his body from the distress he must be feeling inside. Mostly from not knowing what he is talking about.
Also, smiling puts other people around you at unease. We Bangladeshis do not smile at each other. We smile at foreigners a lot though, but never at another Bangladeshi. Often if you smile at them, they will look away or even move, leaving you with more breathing space. Having more space to breath is relaxing because Dhaka happens to be the fifth most densely populated city in the world according to Wikipedia. So, smile. Laugh even, maniacally, and clear the air.
The right smell
Smell something nice like citrus, lavender, or jasmine. These have the quickest de-stress effect by releasing relaxants already hidden deep inside your body. Which is why it is quite the popular additive in shampoos. Just be careful when you go sniffing other people's hair while out on the street. It is downright creepy even if you look like Chris Hemsworth. Only way you may get away with it is when you ARE Chris Hemsworth. Otherwise, carry your own shampooed hair. Bald men are out of luck.
The experts suggest the quick way is to sit upright, lay your palms on your thighs, breathe slowly in through the mouth and out through the nose. And you will apparently feel your negative energy slip out down your back, through your tailbone which incidentally acts as a grounding cord. Don't look at me in that weird way, this is what expert meditators claim. Although, if you read through those steps again, it sounds much like sitting at the toilet. In fact, this is exactly like sitting at a toilet and nothing brings you to the land of chill faster than emptying out all that troubles you inside. Namely last night's ill-advised kabab roll form the office canteen.
Pet that stray dog
Petting furry dogs and not cats. See, dogs reciprocate when you pat them. They will say, “Thank you for the love, here is a lick and a sniff of your crotch in return.” That is dog etiquette and not my fault. When they do it, it is harmless, like when a baby spits on you. Very different when a grown human does the same sniffing and spitting.
Pet the dogs, all the dogs. But cats are inherently evil. You never know when they will bite you and they always will. Unless they are sedated like those tigers in Thailand's zoos. You pet a dog, you feel good. Even when the dog kind of smells. And your Facebook status with a picture with the dog will make you appear cooler than you really are. My profile has hundreds of pictures of me patting dogs and looking immensely cool. And that recognition by my peers helps calm down the constant tumultuous feelings of doom and gloom. I bet Chill with a capital C has just been achieved.
Ehsanur Raza Ronny is a confused dad, all-round car guy, model car builder, and cartoonist. He is also Editor of Shift (automobiles), Bytes (technology), and Next Step (career) of The Daily Star.