Chris Evans: The root of suffering is following the noise your brain makes

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When it comes to “The Best Chris” question – is “yes” an acceptable answer? Apart from Pratt, you wouldn’t have to force any of the other three on me. Today, however, I get to discuss Chris Evans and that makes me happy because I really like who he’s becoming. I used to put him in the “Look Don’t Listen” pile but he’s maturing. This is good because despite some past frat boy antics, Chris has been adding value to the national conversation for a while now. Today he is very politically active, especially on Twitter. Not only is he often calling people out, occasionally he can do it with such bite, it’s worthy of a standing ovation. Remember Ann Coulter’s tirade about Delta? Chris shot her down pretty succinctly:

One topic Chris has been discussing for a long time is social anxiety. In his frankness on the topic, he has not only given anxiety a voice but shown it as a challenge, not a weakness. Now that the world is burning, anxiety has found a way into most of our lives. In 2012, Chris participated in the BECOMINGseries and once again, discussed how anxiety affected his decisions and how he has been able to overcome it at times. Chris was asked what advice he would give to his 12-year-old self and Chris’ response was a simple but effective, “Shhh.” You can watch the clip here. Thank you to Pajiba for bringing this back into the discussion.

What advice would you give yourself as a 12 year-old.
I’d say ‘shhh.’ It’s been a big thing for me. It’s so funny how noisy my brain is. Everyone’s brain is noisy, that’s what it does it makes thoughts. The root of suffering is following that brain noise, listening to [it] and identifying with it as if it’s who you are. That’s just the noise your brain makes. It probably doesn’t have much to say that’s going to help you.

Why did you turn down the role of Captain America a bunch of times?
It was a big commitment they wanted six movies. Normally you do movies one at a time. If one of those movies hits and is a success and your life noticeably changes… your anonymity is affected, you have the opportunity to stop and regroup. The worry was, if this movie hits and there is a lifestyle change… I don’t have the luxury… to go back to indies or [quit]. That’s a decision you have to make and prepare for.

That’s a scary loss of control. I said no, I asked [everyone] what they thought, everyone said I should do the movie. I went to therapy. I do struggle with anxiety. It started to shift on me. It felt like ‘maybe the thing you’re most scared of is what you should do.’ It started to make sense to me that way.

On when he’s felt his best

The times that I’ve felt my best are the moments that I’ve been able to pull that plug and say ‘Chris, shhh.’ It’s not quitting [or] giving up, it’s rising above it, it’s operating on a second plane. I think back to all the amount of time I’ve spent suffering as a result of brain noise. Hours of my life wasted.

I agree with CB when she said that she needed to hear Chris’ comments right now, even if they are a couple of years old. He’s talked about brain noise before. There are jokes I could make about Chris’ word choice or shushing any voices talking trash about Tom Brady but truthfully, I’m taking a lot from his responses. I chuckled when he first said, “shhh” but with his explanation, I came to appreciate it. I think I interpreted it a little different than he said it because I don’t necessarily want to silence my opposing thoughts entirely, just lower the volume so they aren’t the loudest. And I agree that quieting them is not quitting or giving up. Lowering the volume on anything – anger, ecstasy, doubt, regret, criticism – might be just the thing we need to start processing them. I have no experience to suggest how to do this, unfortunately. I know people have found yoga and meditation helpful. I find I can untangle particularly nagging thoughts with a good run. Therapy is an incredible tool. Breathing exercises work best for me at night. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America offers a few more suggestions.

Chris deserves to be applauded for his commitment to destigmatizing social anxiety. I also applaud his awareness and major improvement as a communicator. Plus, he’s hot, clever and in love with his dog so I would like to applaud him for that as well:

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Photo credit: Twitter, WENN Photos and Getty Images

 

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25 Responses to “Chris Evans: The root of suffering is following the noise your brain makes”

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  1. virginfangirl2 says:

    I remember on a talk show he talked about when he was young, and wanted to attend camps, but would always call home and need to get picked up because he would cry and couldn’t stay. And how much money his parents spent on camps he never attended. I have a daughter with anxiety and am grateful he is talking about his. It helps her understand she is not the only one struggling.

  2. Miss M says:

    He has grown on me as well. I appreciate the awareness he is bringing and the improvemente of his communications skills to explain his anxiety.
    Ps: the photos with his dog are cute

  3. EscapedConvent says:

    I love him. I have been thrilled and impressed by his responses to awful, vile people like David Duke and Ann Coulter. This is Captain America!

    And the love for his dog is so sweet. Dodger’s little paw on his arm just melts my heart.

  4. LA Elle says:

    Chris is also one of the few celebrities who talks about Buddhism in an intelligent way. And he does seem to have a couple of brain cells to rub together.

    Since January I’ve found myself reading and rereading books by Pema Chodron, the Dalai Lama and others as a way to make sense of what’s happened, not lose hope, and stay engaged but separate. It’s been surprisingly helpful.

    • Wiffie says:

      In February I read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and it changed my life. I’ve read it twice now, and both times it was like it was speaking directly to me about two completely separate life issues, dead-on for each of them, like it was two different books.

      I had a sad realization about the “weird feeling” I could induce since childhood if I concentrated on my surroundings hard enough: It was actually just a normal state of presence and consciousness. I’d been in a near-constant state of dissociation since before I can remember. It takes a lot of reminders to try to make consciousness and full presence a habit instead, along with meditations to fall asleep, and I like subliminal affirmations whole I sleep (lazy and effective lol) but it makes the voices sound ridiculous instead of believable, and I can deal with the anxiety better.

    • CynicalAnn says:

      Have you read Byron Katie? Sometimes she’s a little too woo-woo for me-but she’s got interesting things to say. I also love Brooke Castillo.

  5. Ashley says:

    I can relate to everything he’s saying,Evans has truly grown on me. I turn down my loud noise with music,without it,I don’t know how I would cope.

  6. Elizabeth Rose says:

    Umm never been a fan but the 🐕 paw conversation just about killed me. Cutest effin’ thing I’ve seen today and now I’m perma-smiling from ear to ear. Alright Chris! You win. I’ve tried to resist but your doggie. Can. Not. Resist. You got me!

  7. Lightpurple says:

    He’s always been politically active just not as visible as others. His uncle is Congressman Mike Capuano. A friend of mine works on political campaigns doing get out the vote stuff and he has worked phone lines with her and not just for his uncle’s campaign but other MA democrats

  8. Browniecakes says:

    I love Chris. I transposed my Hiddles crush on to Evans. I’ve seen him at D23 expo on stage and he truly loves his fans. For someone with anxiety to stand in front of 7500 people, good for him. I hear he may do a stage play. The Cap movies are the best of the stand alone Avengers movies so far.

  9. Dixiebells says:

    I adore him. I don’t like the “woke” trope because I feel it sets people up to be dragged for one toe out of line. But he is informed and I think most of all sensitive. He might not know everything to speak in detail on feminism, racism, or any other complex issue, but he seems sensitive to it, and definitely makes his voice heard for the really egregious controversies. That seems kind of rare trait in today’s standard white Hollywood male.

    Plus I think he consistently turns in good performances (even in some of his questionable early films :) and… if you’ll forgive the superficiality…is nice to look at. So I love him.

    • LA Elle says:

      I was impressed at his apology after the Black Widow shaming during one of the Avenger movie tours. He straight up apologized without justification.

      And his trolling of the alt right since January has been outstanding. Why hasn’t someone cast him in a political comedy yet?

  10. T.Fanty says:

    Plus, he freaked Seth Rogen out. Applause for that, too.

  11. Rhea says:

    When he was dating Jenny Slate, I read quite a few tweets stating that she made him ‘woke’ (hate this term). Which is almost laughable because Chris has ALWAYS been very opinionated; his uncle is a politician, and also the recent events pertaining to the newly elected president has made him, and many other actors, more outspoken. And Jenny seems to be ‘woke’ only at her own convenience. Randomly brought this up but anyway, he is very likeable, and to me, the best Chris we have right now.

  12. N. says:

    I love that he has been giving the orange turd and his alt right naz*s hell.
    Go Captain America!
    We need more people like him. Desperately.

  13. The Recluse says:

    I get what he means by ‘shhh’. There are times I wake, usually way too soon, and off my mind runs! It can take anywhere from half an hour to an hour to get it down again. It has wrecked havoc with my sleep and therefore, my general well being.

  14. bella says:

    I loved his latest movie Gifted! It was a great movie and everyone in it was great including the afore-mentioned Jenny Slade. She was very sweet in it and it was a very sweet in it!

  15. Rae says:

    Always have time for Chris Evans.