8 ‘Don’ts’ When Coming Face To Face With Chaos In Your Life

Self, Health And Wellness

Recently I realized: Life is a constant unfolding of crazy chaos, which none of us can control. And it sucks, but it doesn’t have to. 

Here is what I mean: Though we can never control other peoples’ opinions and actions, both in our personal life or in the global arena, we are in complete control over our mental perspective. And this is huge, because our personal perspective (based on decisions about ourselves and the outside world) will chart the course of our life and produce the experiences we will have. So no matter what issues you are dealing with right now, big or small, the most important decision you have to make is this: “Life is tough, but I am tougher.” 

This puts you in the seat of power. It means you can handle the circumstances you’re encountering and endure the pain you are feeling, and you will come out on the other side as a wise and empowered winner. Because it’s up to you to decide what you’re going to think and assume about any given subject. 

Yesterday, my 17-year-old son Zach sprained his ankle really bad. The bone was sticking out, dislocated. At the same time, my mom was admitted to the ER with heart palpitations, and my youngest threw up in the car, running a 101-degree fever. Oh, and I needed to be at work in an hour. 

Immediately, I freaked out. My mind was no help, racing and telling me: “It’s too much,” “I can’t deal with this,” and “Great, what else can go wrong?”

But then, I paused (just for a moment), went outside and stared right into the center/openingof a pale pink rose. Before jumping into action and dealing with the chaos in my life, I decided to address my mental chaos first. After all, we’ve got to practice what we preach, right? Otherwise, what’s the point of listening to all the empowering podcasts and reading tons if self-help books? We have to actually apply this knowledge when life sucks, like now. Plus, a chaotic mind cannot produce rational solutions for how to handle stressful situations. 

And so, in the midst of yesterday’s chaos I remind myself that I am not a five-year-old who’s helpless, can’t handle it, or doesn’t know what to do. Because sometimes chaos triggers us into feeling like we did in childhood. I tell myself that I am an adult now. Which means I am fully capable, smart and resourceful, and I alwaysknow what to do. And if I don’t, it’s up to me to figure it out. 

Feeling calmer, I then remind myself that life happens, and that even if I can’t control my mom’s heartbeat and my boys’ maladies, I am in control over deciding who I am while facing the chaos, which is someone who is capable and strong. (I will be saying that a lot.) I also decide to apply the salve of spirituality to the equation of chaos, because it seems to soothe me when I use it. So I repeat phrases such as: “Things tend to work out for me,” “All will be well,” “I trust in the well-being of my life,” “Life’s got my back,” and “The answers exist before the problem.” 

Sometimes I use a visualization learned at one of the meditation retreats I’ve attended. I imagine a column of light pouring onto me from above, and I push all the darkness of chaos and drama out, letting it out of my space. Feeling lighter, I ask myself: “So what can I do to address all this madness unfolding on this lovely Friday afternoon?” Right away, the answers line up in my mind and make sense to me, both rational and productive.

Later, while waiting in the ER for my son’s x-rays, I pondered my ‘exciting’ day and came up with eight ‘don’ts’ when coming face to face with chaos:  

1. Don’t invalidate your experience by calling it trivial, compared to the heartaches of others. Everyone has it different, and the fact that your issue bothers you makes it worthy of addressing, so validate your pain as real and significant. 

2. Don’t push your pain away by numbing it with donuts or tequila. Accept that you are hurting and allow yourself to feel it; emotional pain seems to soften, once it is embraced. It may even lead you to a deeper understanding of where it is coming from. What mindset is causing your emotional distress? Usually it’s one created in childhood, such as “I am not good enough and not in control.” Once you know which one it is, you might want to change it to a more mature perspective, Just remind yourself that you are stronger than your pain, and fully capable of handling and healing it. 

3. Don’t hide from life out of a perceptional helplessness to handle it.When something bad happens, we tend to withdraw, to disconnect and hide. And if we allow ourselves to be this way, it becomes a habit called depression. Remind yourself that who you are is capable, strong, and in control, and that life’s got your back. Then take action to resolve your predicament. 

4. Don’t blame yourself or others when something bad happens.Take that finger and point it inward. Since the entire game of life is about self-discovery, life must be serving up a lesson of awareness about who you really are: capable and strong, and certainly good enough. Don’t miss this opportunity to be amazed at your worthiness as you dive deeper into self.

5.  Don’t belittle yourself for being weak and incompetent – a pathetic human. Don’t make yourself wrong for being eternally imperfect and continually evolving. You are here, learning how to play the very complex game of life, and though it gets tricky at times, you are gaining mastery. And in the process, admire your willingness and courage to participate.  

6. Don’t neglect yourself while in pursuit of helping others.You are a VIP in your own life. Your needs come first, and no, that’s not wrong – it’s a sign of healthy self-esteem and worthiness. So don’t ignore your body’s cues concerning rest or doing things that make you happy and bring you joy. Learn to say no when it’s too much for you, and stop feeling responsible for other people’s well-being. You can’t do it for them anyway. Remember, you can only control your own mentality, and never theirs. Instead, demonstrate by example your own harmonious living. 

7. Don’t resent life when things go wrong. Remember that life is constant chaos, where hell breaks loose from time to time. Accept this as a normal part of life, and never a punishment, and stay strong by realizing that there is a power within you stronger than any hell going on around you. Connect to your faith and witness your obstacle through the eyes of a higher perspective. Things appear different through the lens of spirituality. 

8. Don’t miss clues about when to ask for professional help.Sometimes it’s not possible to pull ourselves out of the muggy pond if chaos, and seeing a therapist or psychiatrist is a smart thing to do – a sign of self-nourishment, care and respect. After all, we see an expert for a sore throat or twisted ankle, so why not see one for a sore heart or twisted mind; it’s just that simple. 

So here you are, developing the habit of creating a state of unity, where your mind thinks thoughts that are in agreement with your heart, and your soul nods in approval. That’s called mental-emotional-spiritual alignment. This state of unity forms a backbone that allows you to cope with life’s heartbreaks and challenges. There is something noble about enduring hardships and rising above the pain. It’s a process that makes us humble, compassionate and self-aware people, truly capable of assisting others in the time of their distress.

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Katherine Agranovich, Ph.D., is a medical hypnotherapist, holistic consultant, and author of Tales of My Large, Loud, Spiritual Family. As the founder of the Achieve Health Center, she helps men and women attain mental-emotional alignment and close the gap between where they are and where they want to be. www.achievehealthcenter.com