How to Stay Calm in Chaos

I wrote a couple of months ago about finding calm when surrounded by the chaos of everyday life, and because this is an area so very much needing to be uncovered for so many people, I wanted to go a bit deeper and give a few more tips for everyone who’s asked for this topic in my Facebook group, and anyone else who would find it useful.

Once we’re in a panic, feeling overwhelmed and like there’s no way to get everything done let alone find time to rest, the idea of finding inner calm really can seem completely unachievable. It might sound like utter nonsense if I tell you that taking a few minutes to properly rest and reset will actually make you feel like you have tonnes more time and space available to you than if you carry on in the same chaotic mindset you’re in.

Big corporations are now hiring in wellbeing and mindfulness practitioners to provide relaxation to their workers in their lunch break. So, on the one hand the importance of clearing tension and avoiding burnout is recognised, but on the other hand you’re only allowed to do that ‘between’ being stressed. Thousands of people are having to take months out of their jobs because they’re exhausted. “I know, we’ll keep the over-work ethic the same, but add in some ‘acceptable’ relaxation experiences. What do you mean you’re still burnt out?”

To authentically live a more mindful, calm life takes a lot of work and effort. A meme I saw recently said something like ‘it takes as much effort to remain stressed as it does to become peaceful’. I’m not sure this is entirely true. As changing our habits can feel so scarily out of our comfort zone, I think it maybe takes more effort to work on becoming calmer and less agitated by everyday stress triggers thank to just keep going and feel stressed the whole time. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth the effort or that it can’t be done. It just means you have to make changes a little bit every day to move you in the direction you want to go. One-off mindful ‘experiences’ aren’t going to make much difference if you go back to a hectic, unhealthy, unhappy existence once it’s over.

The great news is, there are chances to make your everyday more positive, less chaotic-feeling and to create ingrained habits that make your life better and better. This is the case even if you’re going through difficult experiences. Your new way of seeing the world will help you handle any eventuality and give you the inner confidence to make changes if you’re limiting your happiness where you are.

I’m going to share some calm in chaos tips below, but please do join my Facebook group if you want to learn much more. Feel free to ask questions and comment of any posts that you want to know more about too –

https://www.facebook.com/groups/3528060660550872

To feel calmer when you’re surrounded by chaos, become more aware of everything that’s going on, starting with your body. Are you breathing slowly and through your nose? Are you holding tension in your shoulders or arms or face or anywhere else? If you are, just watch it and allow it to soften as you breathe out. This may sound time consuming, but it takes moments once you get in the habit of doing it. Breathing quickly sets off your anxiety sensors (amygdalae), but slowing your breath resets your nervous system and calms you down.

Once you feel more in control of yourself, you are less likely to react negatively to emotional triggers, and more likely to notice the effect they’re having. We can put some distance between ourselves and our reactions and realise there’s another, more positive way to handle life. When you’re in this habit, you can more easily notice whatever is going on around you that needs love, tidying/clearing, or acceptance and instead of feeling stuck in the middle of it, feel able to calmly deal with it.

Practicing qigong and meditation enable you to practice how to connect with your body and your mind and your breathing so that you can use these skills in the other, more difficult parts of your life. It’s important to recognise that being mindful isn’t something you do only while you’re relaxing, but while you’re living your whole life. An example from my own life, my two autistic sons have very different needs, and making sure they’re happy, healthy and supported can be exhausting. However, having the skills and knowledge I’ve gathered over the years about being mindful of my firy, quick tempered nature means I can easily ‘reset’ my body, mind and spirit, and stay calm during the most chaotic times. When my Mum died, after 8 of my other family members had also passed away, I was able to mindfully connect with myself and others to healthily work through grief (ongoing of course).

A big part of the self healing practices I teach is how to transfer the skills learned during meditations, mindset work, qigong exercises, Daoist breathing, and acupressure massage into the less relaxing parts of your life. Imagination has a huge place in this (more on that next week). Briefly, when you’re stuck outside in the rain, instead of feeling miserable and hopeless, imagine the rain cleansing though your whole body, washing away any sicknesses and toxins. Turn the rain into healing nectar. Remember your brain can’t tell the difference between real and imagined.

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