I think a lot of people are fighting some of the chaos that they are experiencing currently. Chaos can actually be incredibly fertile and beneficial if we respond to it differently. That’s hat I’m writing about today….
“Chaos in the world brings uneasiness, but it also allows the opportunity for creativity and growth.” – Tom Barrett
We are all feeling the effects of the Coronavirus. Many of us are feeling scared, nervous, and worried.
In the midst of the current pandemic, there is no better time than to talk about strategies for how to handle chaos well. Yes, there are ways to manage your mind throughout this chaotic time that we’re living through.
3 Don’ts for Managing Chaotic Times
1. Don’t panic
It can be scary, daunting, unsettling to be in a situation you’ve never been in before and have no idea what to do next. You may feel vulnerable or wounded, or scared.
The first thing you shouldn’t do is panic. Take deep breathes. Count down from 10 to 1.
As Lou Holtz says, “Nothing is as good as it seems, and nothing is as bad as it seems.” Even if it is, it is GUARANTEED not to last.
If you were to look inside a calm mind, you would see that problems offer you pathways to grow yourself. They have many opportunities hidden within them. You can stay calm if you try to find more opportunities within the problems than just being fed up with them. It looks for the hidden gold within; your senses will get back to you.
As Ethan Kross, the author of the book Chatter, suggests “reframe threats into challenges” – the hormones for stress are the same ones that are preparing you for awesomeness, you simply need to tell yourself a different story. Frame the feelings as ones readying you to be incredible to overcome the challenge, reduce panic and ride the chaos as you would a wave in an active sea.
2. Don’t try to control everything
Accept that you can’t control everything. There are too many variables influencing the paths of your life. And most of these variables are out of your control.
The world is in chaos. And it has always been. It is what it is. There are simply too many variables. Some variables are only can be controlled by others, and they can have very different thinking about how to do it. Some variables not yet even able to be tampered with by humans!!
And some others not yet seen as variables, until they are effecting our life. To get inner peace, you should re-embrace the old concept of Fate. And remember-
“When the World Is in Chaos, Control What You Can”
Stop trying to control the uncontrollable. Again, ride the wave.
3. Don’t rely on hope and be prepared for the worst
When you are preparing for the worst, you are taking definitive steps to prevent a particular situation from affecting you in a certain way; you might not succeed in immunising yourself completely from the outcome of that situation but you have the sense that you will be able to cope if the worst were to happen (which is also very unlikely). For more on this topic, read this article: Using the Worst Case Scenario for Benefit.
When you ‘hope’ for the best you leave it up to fate without truly preparing yourself and without anything actionable to accompany it. You might regret that, later, at some point in your life.
So keep trying. Have a worst-case scenario in mind and act accordingly.
And by the way, when used properly, I am a big fan of hope, read this article for more on that topic: Finding Hope in Difficult Times.
So that’s enough don’ts, how about some Dos……
3 Do’s for Managing Chaotic Times
1. Focus on thoughts that make you feel better
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”- Melody Beattie Read
Think about what’s going to make you feel better and feel calm. Trust that whatever comes the way you can handle it. Have a healthy trust in yourself, your community and humanity.
There’s no point suffering for no reason. There’s no point sitting in anxiety, when you have tools and resources, and people that can help you get out of it.
Spare some time just for positive, helpful happy thoughts. It’s not denying the facts. It’s not putting your head in the sand. You’re looking at the facts and deciding what you want to think and feel about them.
2. Increase positive input and decrease exposure
How much time, are you spending on your social media accounts? How much negative news are you allowing into your eye and ear gates?
Try to increase your positive input. Listen to positive podcasts, audiobooks and spend quality time with your friends. Try to gauge the amount of negativity you are seeing and hearing, with the equivalent of positive input.
Another great way to increase positive input is to express gratitude, read this article for more on this subject: The Science of Gratitude.
3. Use this time to be stronger, creative, and innovate
“I guess darkness serves a purpose: to show us that there is redemption through chaos. I believe in that. I think that’s the basis of Greek mythology.” – Brendan Fraser
Embrace a growth mindset. When we embrace a growth mindset, we welcome challenges. We think, ‘How are we going to grow? How are we going to learn?’ We start to believe the world is going to get better.
You may need a filter change. If you filter to see only the bad, you will only see the bad. You need to take precautions and you need to be safe.
You need to choose a positivity filter to view life at this time. Choosing a positive filter means you will see this time as an opportunity to grow. Consider journaling and listing all the laudable and happiness inducing aspects of life each day.
This is an opportunity to get stronger, to look at how you can innovate. Be creative. Join together and form stronger communities. Research shows that social connections serve as buffers to stress, reducing its negative effects such as depression and anxiety (Ozbay et al., 2007).
Success in life can be found in simply leaning into change, longing for the moment of curiosity that is driven from the uncertainty. Pushing to create possibilities, movement, and relationships. Finding joy and excitement in the discovery and exploration. And do know that curiosity can only exercise it’s legs properly when uncertainty is not feared.
Life is about resilience. Pain is unavoidable, while suffering is optional. Choose your mindset. Grow an odd excitement for when things must change, for in these transitions can your true self be grown through curiosity and passion. We know that emotions last for seconds, moods last in the vicinity of hours, and our personality is something that is forged over the years. I’ll say it a third time, when it comes to chaos, learn to ride the wave…
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