Have you ever noticed how people experiencing similar circumstances can react completely differently? Have you found yourself losing your mind, rushing into anger, or feeling lost and depressed? If so, I’ve got some quick, mental tips to help you stay chill when the chaos of life comes knocking.
One of the main reasons we lose our cool is because we lose control of our emotions. The experience awakens within us something that is deeply primal and more fearful in nature. We are triggered into our natural fight, flight or freeze response. As a survival mechanism this is fantastic news, but when you are trying to stay composed in the office or a supermarket line, less so!
One of the tools I use to stay cool in the chaos is to claim the position of an observer of the situation that is unfolding before me. It doesn’t suppress my fears or triggers (I think that’s unhealthy) but allows me to assess the situation while seeing it from a higher perspective. In short, it helps me keep my head about it. It helps me leverage my grace under pressure when things go sideways.
This, of course, didn’t happen overnight; it takes practice. I’ve made some radical shifts to my way of being where, now, these instances are progressively fewer and farther apart.
Here are a few of the key realizations I had that help me to stay calm within the chaos for you to contemplate:
1) You get to choose how much or how little you want to engage with the situation.
2) No matter how fierce the storm, there is always an eye of the hurricane. Find that eye and manage your experience from that space. (Hint: it lives within you!)
3) Salt doesn’t sting unless there is an open wound. Healing your wounds is a proactive way to avoid triggers in the first place.
4) Nothing is happening TO you. You are experiencing life, not the other way around.
5) Be clear on your priorities. Often simply asking yourself: “Does this behaviour bring me closer to joy?” is the simplest way to diffuse a situation. (The meme “Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy” comes to mind.)
This isn’t a quick fix but, if it can make a dent in what you experience as chaos, it is worth the share.
In the grand scheme, the most important thing you can do is to break up with the stuff in your life that creates turmoil in the first place. I’m not saying quit your job or leave your spouse (unless that’s appropriate for you). What I’m getting at is this, I’ve been purging the thoughts, feelings and behaviours that do not reflect my inner joy junky and the life I want to lead. As a result, the landscape of my life has changed dramatically in the last ten years, and I know that’s it’s directly related to the inner work that I’ve been doing.
There is no doubt for me that everything I experience is somehow seeded within me. Finding out exactly what my inner journey is, I’ve come to appreciate each experience (not always in the moment but during reflection) as it shows me and guides me deeper and deeper into the depth of my authentic being.
What do you need to heal or break up with to satisfy your inner joy junky? Your journey to an authentic life of abundance may be just beginning but stuck in the path. I’ve been there and done that, and I can tell you it was well worth every single step.
Anik J. Malenfant
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