How to Be Calm in the Midst of Chaos: 3 Helpful Practices
One way I have consistency been able to show up authentically and empowered is by cultivating states of inner balance, peace and calm.
This isn't about 'switching off' and becoming a passive participant in our life and the world. It's about staying anchored within ourselves so we can continue to move towards what we value whatever life throws at us.
As this quote so poignantly says…
“Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” (Source unknown)
With this in mind, here is a 3-step process that helps you to navigate the chaos with peace in your heart:
This could be tidying up and decluttering your spaces or even having a full refresh or re-arrangement of your things. If you’ve got the energy, organising the areas that have been on your list for some time, such as that bottom drawer, your closet, paperwork or a bit of gardening. Go at your own pace, and say no to trigger obsession or perfectionism.
Simply do what will allow you to sit down, look around and access that satisfying sense of calm. At a minimum, just keep everything clean and tidy. This gives you a sense of control and accomplishment in your direct environments, even if this doesn't extend outside the home.
Clear your physical space
While yes, we're talking about cultivating inner peace in the midst of chaos, cleaning up external spaces that we DO have control over can be extremely beneficial.
How can you get more comfortable? Does your space currently feel authentic or like home? If it’s not sweet enough already, what adjustments can you make to feel happy, relaxed and peaceful?
1. Create a calm space
A place where you won’t get disturbed. If the quietness you want isn't possible, listen to calming music to help you relax.
Practice sitting in silence
2. set a time limit
I know you’re probably tired of hearing it, but meditation truly is one of the most powerful ways to experience inner calm.
If you already meditate, seek ways to become more intentional or deeper in your practice. Or if it's not fully working for your right now, consider if there are any adjustments you can make to respond to what you need right now.
If you’re new to meditation, the first thing to do is simply give it a try, while releasing any preconceived ideas or over-attachment to 'failures' to practice or get benefit from it in the past. Today is a new day.
There are many guided meditations online, or otherwise follow the simple steps to your right to get started.
Set something totally achievable right now. Anything from just a couple of minutes can have a great impact!
3. GET COMFORTABLE
Sit cross-legged on a soft floor or cushion, upright on a chair or laying down (if you can resist falling asleep!). Just be sure that you’re comfortable and your body isn’t tense.
4. BEGIN WITH TURNING INWARDS
Close your eyes and bring your attention inwards. Notice any sensations and the weight of your body or feet on the floor.
5. FOLLOW YOUR BREATH
Use your inhale and exhale as a focal point to calm your breath and stay present in your body.
6. GENTLY BRING YOUR MIND BACK
Don’t expect your thoughts to magically disappear! As your mind begins to wander, simply catch yourself and come back to your breath. Don't judge yourself. It gets easier with time.
7. FINISH WITH SELF-LOVE
Resist the urge to rush into the next thing. Gently open your eyes, gaze around the room and wiggle your fingers and
toes. Tell yourself some loving words before getting up.
When it feels like we don’t have any control, we can be triggered into trying to control everything! Try to transcend this desire to control and fix. Resist getting pulled into judgements, assessments and obsessive thoughts about something that happened, or how you think something ‘should’ be.
If you find yourself getting caught up in stress, take a break and fall back into stillness within yourself.
During times of heightened stress, it’s only natural to find it harder to navigate and communicate with others. But as we notice our own reactions, we can begin to hit pause before things escalate in a way we didn’t want or intend. We can also take responsibility for our own reactions and emotions, and choose to be anchored to our own inner stillness as external situations try to pull us in so many different directions.
As you go about your day, start to become aware with what’s happening inside of you. This is how we begin to integrate our meditation within our daily lives.
What do I mean by this? Start becoming aware of how your body feels, and the thoughts that arise as you engage with your day; for example, during a conference call, when you’re working or talking with others. Notice any sensations or emotions that may come and go, but try not to get tangled up in them. Try to catch yourself before you rush into reaction, such as going into defence, or arguing with your partner or kids.