You might find this useful too: 5 Stages of Mindful Decision-Making in the Midst of Emotional Turbulence.
We’ve experienced an unprecedented onslaught in our world’s history in a matter of months.
2020 is not slowing down for anybody, so it’s time to be proactive rather than reactive. Chaos is inevitable in our lives, but could anyone have truly predicted the level of intensity we are currently dealing with?
As a recovering control freak, chaos is not something I have naturally celebrated or enjoyed. In fact, I have spent way more time than necessary eliminating as many sources of chaos in my life as possible. I have exhausted myself on a futile expenditure of energy, but now I know differently.
A mentor of mine once related chaos to the creative spark that allows everything to start the process of creation. Creativity has always been a natural go-to for me, so with this analogy in mind, I could coax myself into enjoying chaos.
Chaos doesn’t scare me anymore, but we are inundated right now. For me, chaos has showed up as an onslaught of online messaging upward of 1000-plus notifications per day as we transform our life events to virtual ones.
Breathe before you stress out and gloss over it. It’s time to use the tools we have and adapt to the new normal. We are truly never returning to the world we left behind in 2019. It’s highly likely that the chaos will intensify before it gets more manageable.
Here are five tips for dealing with overwhelm and chaos:
1. Disconnect from the heavy
Disconnecting doesn’t mean ignoring everything going on. It’s about choosing your priority in that moment. This process has been an eye-opener for me in realizing how much daily communication is nonessential and, sometimes, even harmful.
Turning off devices and getting away from the news can be helpful, but it’s not everything. You have to hone into what is true for you and connect with your personal lightness.
2. Do something you love (even if you don’t feel like it)
Most of the time, when our internal world is in strife, we tend to work harder. Then what we love falls to the wayside. But choosing more of those hobbies would remind us of who we are.
Find the time today to do something you love. It can be as small as reading a page of your favorite book. It can be easy; it doesn’t have to be a big feat—just enough to remind yourself of who you are.
I have rediscovered painting and reading, with more thought to the creative process behind the writing as a way to bring more joy into my daily life. Both are simple enjoyments; it’s not supposed to be complicated.
3. Acknowledge the intensity
Right now is an intense period of history we are living in. It’s okay to not be sure of yourself. My personal energy levels have gone up and down like a yo-yo during these last few months.
It is not the time now to push and be hard on yourself. You may actually desire to relax and receive more than before. But you need to surrender to that. The universe would never give us something we can’t handle.
Trust in that and in your own strength. In New Zealand, we have a phrase from our Maori culture that says, “Kia Kaha,” which means “stand strong.”
4. Take action
We get stuck in our heads, and then we can’t get out of the obsessive-compulsive worry. There is no light at the end of the tunnel and our ability to change quickly disappears.
When your monkey mind turns on, ask yourself, “What action can I take today?” This will allow you to start down a path of making conscious choices rather than unconscious reactions.
This trick has helped me time and time again get out of paralyzing overthinking. I try to do everything as much as possible without thinking, while trusting my instincts. It’s much harder to get caught up in the chaos when you are already making your own strides.
5. It’s okay to be different
We think we are the only one feeling the way we are. That’s normal, and it’s also not true. We are not alone, but we are all different. It’s time to start exploring and celebrating that difference even if it is internally.
I ask my clients to start their “weird list,” which is where they write down everything weird and different about them as a celebration. This reminds them that they have a different perspective of the world, and that is a gift.
Some of the things on my weird list include: obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); overactive creativity; a harsh, dry sense of humor; and my accent.
Chaos doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, it’s one of the creative sparks that creates our wonderful adventure of life as it is. But we tend to shy away from it and avoid it as much as possible.
Once I realized that my creativity wasn’t going anywhere, and I would never really run out of ideas, I used it to roll with the chaos in my life and know that it will continue to change, too.
We have to create and live our own reality because there is no normalcy anymore. But there are plenty of ways we can tap into our inner knowing and explore how to ride the chaos of our current life with ease.