How do you find peace in chaos?
You define the elements that create this environment, break it down into understandable parts, then make a plan to change what you can control.
My chaos these days comes from an emotional clusterfuck in the heart of transitions and a global dramedy of tired topics. It’s tough to be segmented and regimented when personal matters, career aspirations, and global disfunction clash and bombard our daily lives. Maybe you have additional circumstances to work through like mental illness, taking care of ailing family members, or surviving trauma. Maybe your chaos is consumed by just one impactful situation.
Everyone’s chaos is unique. We have our own collections of stressors and realities that impact our ability to think clearly, solve our problems, and lead peaceful and happy lives.
To tackle my own plate of seemingly well-organized shit, I did an exercise to break through the noise of my thoughts, obsessions, and anxieties so I could start making moves about what actually matters to me.
My goal in this post is to help you find peace in chaos by sharing 3 steps to clear the air, hone your focus, and regain control.
- Define your chaos
- Break it down
- Create a plan
1. Define Your Chaos
Merriam-Webster Dictionary provides these definitions:
Chaos (n): as a state of utter confusion
Peace (n): a state of tranquility
Ask yourself these questions:
- How do you feel? What is it that makes you feel confused or out of control?
- Looking at the elements that make you feel this way, which parts can you control?
- What brings you peace?
Throughout the day, we feel an incredible amount of emotional flux. We can learn to control many of these thoughts but only with practice. Mind control is the name of the game. If you don’t decide how you want to use your energy, our environment will make that decision for us.
As much as we are sidetracked and bombarded by media, business, and pop culture of what, when, and why to think, we are responsible for our own thoughts and actions. Sometimes, all it takes is defining exactly what it is, part by part, by taking an honest and scrupulous analysis of our emotions.
2. Break it down
So now you know how you feel, but it’s still messy. How can we isolate why or how we continue to feel this way?
Here are some ways you can start to get a handle on your brilliant mind.
Really. Do it. Mindfulness is trendy, and for good reason. It answers a need that is all too present in our fast-paced, technologically-fueled, convenience-centered lives of 2019. When you don’t have the day’s to-do list running constantly in your mind, or you’re not running from task to task, or you spend more than 5 minutes away from your phone, you can then give your mind a chance to breathe. This space allows your brain to explore topics lingering in the back of your mind and help you recognize subconscious thoughts, how they behave and fluctuate, and ultimately how they affect conscious thoughts and your day-to-day happiness.
Visit Gaiam for a beginner’s guide to meditation.
Start by writing in a journal of that day’s events. Your brain will end up making connections through the process of writing that you may not have observed otherwise. For instance, you may note that a friend said something to you that piqued your interest or how much a stranger’s smile boosted your confidence. I also challenge you to try writing in a stream of consciousness style, or freewriting. This is essentially writing without stopping to think or plan what to say. This helps gets your subconscious thoughts on paper and allow you to assess and pinpoint where the feeling of chaos is coming from.
Check out this Huffpost article on the benefits of journaling.
- Review the past.
If you find yourself regularly thinking about past events, take some focused time and energy to observe what happened with as much of a non-biased eye as possible. There is no point in repeatedly reliving the event and related trauma, so give yourself the time to assess so you can move forward. Review it thoroughly, bravely assess those emotions you felt and continue to feel, and note how you would like future situations to improve. Then, move on. Let it go. It’s true that whatever you think about most becomes larger and, many times, overwhelming, creating a situation that some may refer to as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Focusing on past regrets or shame will keep you not only in the past but in a constricting mind frame that hinders real growth.
Read this article by Tony Robbins’ team on how to let go of the past.
3. Create a Plan
Plan for the future you want. Visualize the person you want to be by thinking of a situation that made you feel bad, unworthy, or less than your true character. Rewrite that scene in your head as the person you ultimately want to be. Visualize, and assert those actions into reality. Use detailed steps and develop routines to ensure consistency.
Take care of yourself. When people have problems, we tend to nurse them with the sweet array of vices around us: alcohol, drugs, tv, sex, gossip. Whatever your poison, recognize that your physiology affects your emotions. If you are sleep-deprived, you may feel aggravated and groggy, which blocks your ability to be patient and think creatively with an open mind. If you are eating fast-food every day, your body doesn’t get the nutrition it needs and puts your body and mind in a slump. If you are always on the move, you may not be listening to signs your body gives you. Remember to take breaks, use meditation to be aware of how your body feels, and never forget to include activities that bring joy.
Whether it’s making tough decisions like taking a hard look at your harmful habits or saying goodbye to toxic friends, the decision to find peace is on you.
I am going through these steps as honestly and as paced as I need, so that I could become the person that I want to be. If you end up going through these steps or would like to share your opinions or experience, please feel free to leave a comment or get in touch.