Updated: Mar 23, 2021
How Marvel’s Captain America, Chris Evans, became my real-life hero with just one word… (And no, it’s not “language”).
I confess that – just like many people – I spend a lot of time aimlessly scrolling through Facebook and Instagram and what not; and after the first Avengers Endgame trailer dropped I started re-watching the past films on Netflix and getting myself hyped for the highly anticipated film by watching behind the scenes footage and press-junkets etc. And, with YouTube autoplay, well that can be a never-ending train. A lot of the time I would just let it play in the background, and of course it’s ‘random’ choices were spot on, so I’d watch the next one and the next, to the point where I’d be on Guardians of the Galaxy bloopers and suddenly it’s 2am and I’m balling my eyes out watching Home and Away’s saddest storylines.
But there was one clip that unexpectedly caught my attention – an eight-minute video from 2017 by Motivation Madness titled ‘Chris Evans Advice for People with Anxiety and Depression (Very Powerful)’.
More often than not, you can hear or read something that goes right over your head/in one ear, straight out the other and you never give it a second thought. But from time to time you hear something that is so simple and it just clicks and sticks with you.
For me, it’s been phrases like ‘It’s not happy people who are thankful, but thankful people who are happy’; ‘may you live every day of your life’; and ‘it is said we cannot step into the same river twice’. But never has it been just one word.
A few days after watching this video, I went on a long awaited vacation with some friends and I started noticing how I wasn’t letting myself be 100% in this beautiful place, because half the time my brain was somewhere else. Back in Toronto, or in the future, trying to deal with issues that hadn’t even occurred yet, nor may never occur!
Why do I need to know if it’s snowing in Toronto right now? Why do I need to know, right now in this exact moment, what my work schedule is for next week? We had purposely left the “-19, but feels like -32” (FML) Canadian winter so that we could take a well-deserved break and defrost while sitting in the sand sipping margaritas; but I didn’t seem to be taking in my surroundings as much as I would’ve liked. I literally might as well have been back home with the heating turned up, staring at a picture of a beach on my computer with a glass in my hand. I needed to be in the moment, but instead my body was in paradise but my head was still at home. **Starts singing ‘my mind’s telling me noooo, but my body…’**
Having told my travel buddies about the piece of advice I was trying to adopt, every time one of us would start thinking about something we really didn’t need to be worrying about, we’d look at the person, pause, and gently shush them. And it would actually work. It then got to the point where we’d be a little drunk and start laughing at how dramatic the hush-er would be, but in turn, the laughter would become louder than the brain-noise – so, still a win.
“You are not your thoughts” – Eckhart Tolle
I slowly realised that it wasn’t about just ignoring the voice in my head. If I ignored it, it would surely just come back. No, it was about acknowledging the fact that I didn’t need to know the answer to the questions I was asking myself, because there wasn’t actually any need for me to be asking myself the question in the first place. And once I had come to that understanding, the voice in my head stopped making me sweat so much, and so frequently!
I’ve since told a few more friends about this advice, and though at first they look at me as though they are trying to hold in a chuckle, I have received a number of messages from them telling me how they ‘shushed’ themselves and how it helped them in some way. I mean, on a couple of occasions I’ve unintentionally shushed myself out loud while in public and people have looked up, so I’ve kind had to style it out as if I’m hopelessly failing at whistling a tune; but despite a couple of slightly awkward moments, it’s something that has personally helped me. So I say to you, don’t knock it ‘till you’ve tried it!