“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
As human beings, we desire structure and order. Yet at the same time, chaos exists in both human beings and nature — the turbulent sea, the fluxes of wildlife, the undulations of our hearts and brains, even the occurrence of a pandemic. Instabilities create volatility but allow creativity.
To discover calm amidst chaos, it’s helpful to identify the worth of disorder in your life. Then you can easily acknowledge and move through chaos. In the midst of transformation (especially, times like right now) everything can feel chaotic. While chaos can seem portentous because we’re conditioned to avoid it, in reality it may be redeploying our minds and aligning our psyches for growth.
Uncannily our lives can feel the most exciting and rewarding, when we experience chaos. Right now, thanks to the pandemic and its fallout, we’re living through one of the most chaotic times the world has ever experienced. When chaos strikes, it can help to look at the feelings it can engender.
Use these times to reform the way you respond to negative feelings and build personal grit and strength. Recognize that you are being asked to change, embrace new skills and move forward. Chaos can be a great stimulus, goading and pushing you to keep going, recommence your goals and question your behaviors.
Here are seven effective strategies to help you move through chaos, once you stop being overwhelmed by it, you can actually come out feeling calmer:
- Trust in yourself. When you’re in chaos, trust your inner voice. Believe in your intuition and continue to recognize and welcome what’s positive in your life.
- Have faith in a higher power. Whatever happens, the structure of your world will uphold its shape. It won’t disappear. Focus will emerge.
- Recognize that sanity develops in persistence. Your main concern is not to gain pleasure or avoid pain, but rather to see the gist of life emerge. Use this time to pause, ponder, reboot and shape a calmer and more focused you.
- Nurture your growth. Simply realize the state of calm through contemplative practice. We use breath in meditation as the key anchor to the now, to the present. With that, we keep the mind busy observing and noticing the breath while we start connecting with our physical body and its sensations. Be gentle with whatever you’re going through.
- Focus towards your direction. You may feel like a ship at sea being tossed around in choppy waters. But keep directing it toward the shore or the light. The key lies in breathing and steering the boat. Remember you’re going to get through it all. Eventually, there will be a wide, calm, and a deep delight. Meditation will allow your mind to step out from the flight/fight mode and step into a calmer sense. Use the breath as an anchor. Use visualizations if helpful to center when thoughts pop up.
- Be prepared to be troubled. Once you arise from chaos to order without too many bruises, you’ll know you can throw yourself into the flurry of chaos anytime, and you’ll still be all right.
- Keep going. The next time you find yourself in chaos, keep moving. Physical movement brings balance to our body (mental, physical and emotional) and allows to express and release emotions through physical activity. This releases endorphins (happy hormones) while detoxifying cortisol/adrenaline (causing stress). Spending time in nature is a wonderful way to move while being present and connecting with your surroundings. Anything from yoga to running to boxing to dancing – allows you to express freely!
Finding reasons to be happy, joyful, content is fundamental to stay healthy and with a positive mindset. Being able to forgive yourself, to be compassionate will release a lot of the guilt that you are holding back for “not having been able to do better” – you did the best you could in the given circumstances – that’s enough, that’s perfect.