Chaos will always be part of our lives. The soonest we make peace with this reality, the sooner we will be able to deal with any unpredicted situation. I've been, like everyone else, in different chaotic situations! I've lost jobs, lost a loved one, did not have money in my bank account to pay for bills, and much more. While all those situations might leave you feeling powerless and not in control, they are the ones that help us move forward and discover new things about ourselves.
To start working around our chaotic lives, we need to first understand what chaos is. Chaotic situations will vary depending on each individual. For me, chaos might mean losing my job, but for another person, this might not be a big deal because they have some savings on the side. Chaos, in essence, is when we feel we've lost control of what's happening and the set of intense emotions that come after that.
Let's take one of the significant worldwide events happening now, the COVID-19 pandemic. This came, for all of us, out of nowhere. Some were not even realizing the severity of the virus, because nobody would ever imagine that the entire world would be placed in pause! But it happened. And with that, other more personal things started to happen to all of us. Some lost their jobs, some found new income streams, some found out that they couldn't stand their partner, some found out that they need to improve their cooking skills. Things change because, in a perfect balance, there is always two sides, and life is constantly moving and constantly changing.
Keyword: Balance. Even "good things" in excess could lead to negative results. Too much exercise could trigger your body to start consuming itself, too little fat consumption can cause your hormones to unbalance. And this is something that applies to everything in the entire universe. Without the bad things, the good things would never exist and vice versa.
The sooner you make peace with the balance of life, the easier it will be to confront tough situations.
Besides balance, detachment is another critical component to becoming happier. Since kids, we are told to get good grades and get to the right college to be satisfied, and then we need to find a job that pays well and then buy a house and the many "and then" just keep piling up! We are tied up to these patterns, rules, and ideals, and the only thing they do is bringing us down. We are constantly comparing our lives with other people's lives, on Instagram, in our communities, and even at work. For what? You are a unique being, with your own circumstances and your own life.
How many times have you sacrificed your own ideals or your passion for a job that no longer (or did never) fulfill you? I have a few businessmen friends in Manhattan that "made it." They did the entire "and then" loop, dreaming of being happy and in peace in the future. But after a drink or two, they confess how empty and unfulfilled they are!
When we focus on being happy after "I get that job" after "I get married" after, "I start traveling more." Every time we say after, we are not living in reality.
You have today, now, this moment.
Maybe this is not the best moment of your life, or perhaps it is. But whatever place you are at, you should aim to be in peace and flowing with the always-changing current of life. With no social pressure or standards.
Focus on what you can control, and let go of what you can't.
Emergency Guide for Managing Chaos:
First step: Take a deep breath or a few. Aim for diaphragmatic breathing. Click here if you don't know what that is. This will help set your emotions apart and process what' s happening so you can approach the issue with a relaxed brain. Breathing not only has an impact on your mind but also has physiological effects like decreasing cortisol and releasing muscle tension. After you've calmed down, ask yourself:
What is happening?
How did this happen?
Do I have the power to change the situation?
If yes: How will I fix it? (Be sympathetic if you are dealing with another human being)
If no: What other things I can do to cover myself from the situation.
Would this be the worse thing that can happen to me? (The answer will always be NO, and you can use this as a mantra to regain control and practice acceptance)
Here is an example of how does this work:
Breathe <Insert your name here>
What is happening? I just had a terrible fight with my loved one.
How did this happen? I got mad because he doesn't do the dishes. But, I tend to always keep things to myself and them exploiting so...
Do I have the power to change the situation? Yes.
If yes: How will I fix it? Maybe he is dealing with a lot of stress, we didn't communicate correctly. I can simply have a calm conversation so we can both agree on a system where we both help around the house.
This is not the worse thing that can happen to me. The world is not ending!
Here is another one a bit more severe:
Breathe <Insert your name here>
What is happening? I just lost my job.
How did this happen? I was told that it was due to my performance, but I know the X manager only has something against me.
Do I have the power to change the situation? Not really.
If no: What other things I can do to cover myself from the situation. it is done. Let's see what savings do I have available? What jobs are open now? Is my resume up to date? Who do I know in my social network, maybe I can help someone for any open positions?
Not many savings, but the worst-case scenario I have to hustle a bit, I used to a bartender, so maybe something to look at. This is not the worse thing that can happen to me.
My main point is that so many times in life we think the worse has happened and don't know how we will get over X situation. But look back, look at a painful or hard moment in your life. You were desperate at first. You were confused and really believed that was the end of it all. But what about today? Are you still alive? Did you find a solution? Did you move on? I think you are saying YES to all that!
Being proactive and having a set structure for our brain to follow when feeling overwhelmed or facing chaos helps us remember that we are in control.
Life will never throw you things that you cannot handle.
We all have emotions, we all experience grief, pain, anxiety, and stress
from situations in life, including uncertainty.
But we are all also are capable of moving on,
living better and happier lives
and finding peace in chaos.