Staying Centered in the Midst of Chaos.
I’ve visited with so many people lately as I begin my new journey in Personal Development and Coaching. A common theme that seems to always pop in conversation and coaching sessions is “mind chatter”. Most that I’ve talked to didn’t know this term but once I gave it a name we both knew we were talking about the same exact thing.
Some definitions of Mind Chatter are as follows. The conversations we have with ourselves, the question and answer game inside of our minds, playing out all possible scenarios of what can happen or what should have happened. The list to define this could be endless but I am sure you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Some of us at some point due to circumstances become so distracted that we can’t even remember why we walked in the next room. We remember that we needed to retrieve something from the car in the driveway but don’t remember what. During the short walk from point A to point B we were probably overwhelmed with thought and conversations with ourselves that took us away from “the Present Moment”.
In my case prior to the biggest and most drastic transformation in my life I was worried sick about somebody I loved. I was crazy scared about a problem that was causing her to self-destruct; this problem affected every area of her life and our relationship in ways that can’t be expressed by words in this blog. In my case for many reasons that weren’t emotionally or mentally healthy at all I became obsessed with fixing this problem. I was more concerned and worried about this issue than she was.
I found myself always thinking about the future and “what could happen” or thinking about all of the past hurt that this problem had caused. I was hardly ever in the present moment and was rarely engaged with my life, my kids or anything for that matter. I was emotionally and physically exhausted all of the time. This daily pattern grew stronger and stronger as I developed habits of obsessing every single day over a problem that I had no control over whatsoever. We do this sometimes because we don’t like the pain that these circumstances bring. So we whether consciously or subconsciously look for a way to fix them to prevent us from being hurt again.
The good news is we can step out of this chaos. When we are fully engaged in the present moment the hurt from the past or the fear of the future have no power of us. In fact we need to be in full awareness to be able to make the best decisions to both heal from the past and make plans that will allow long term happiness and improvement in our lives.
In our pursuit of happiness and fulfillment we are drawn to those things that bring us pleasure and we resist those that bring pain. To make the best decisions for long term happiness we need to be aware and focused so we don’t miss opportunity. In my own life due to having to switch jobs I found myself making considerably less money than I was accustomed to. I was stressed about what I was going to do for over a year. In the midst of the mind chatter and chaos I had overlooked a very simple option that was so obvious. When I finally stepped out of the situation that consumed my life and mind I saw this option and was able to pay off all of my debt including my vehicle, credit cards, lowered my mortgage payment and paid for my Life Coach Certification schooling all within 2 weeks’ time. I was stupefied that this option was there the whole time right at my feet but I was so overwhelmed with mind chaos that I couldn’t see what was right in front of me.
So what do we do with all of the worry and past hurt? Well obviously we need to heal when we’ve been hurt and obviously we need to make good decisions to plan and hope for the future. The key is to have an outlet where we can unload. We need to express ourselves, unload hurt and fear; this has to happen as the load everyday of both becomes so heavy and burdensome to carry around. We need to manage when we unload, give ourselves time to obsess, feel and confront our hurt and fears.
Here are some ideas to manage Mind Chatter and become centered and present.
These will only work if you’re sure that you’re ready to move forward, a half ass effort here will give you half ass results.
- · Set aside time to obsess and be inside of the chaos. Be disciplined about this if you decide that you’re going to work on healing and worry set a time and duration for this daily. Then when its time open the flood gates, worry and deal with your feelings for all of the allotted time. If it’s an hour then be as intense as possible with your feelings and thoughts for the whole hour and not one minute more.
- · Find an outlet to unload. Some folks talk to friends, others journal. But during your allotted time find an outlet to unload all feelings of pain and worry. Maybe you sit in a quiet place and write a letter (that you will not send) to a person that has hurt you describing what they did and how it made you feel. Maybe you write a letter to somebody that you have hurt and ask for forgiveness. Maybe you drive into a remote place and scream and yell. Whatever it is find an outlet to unload daily. You’ll be surprised how fast you become focused and heal. Soon you won’t have much to unload and the durations for unloading become shorter and shorter.
- · Take a vacation from your thoughts. Find an activity that forces you to be present for a substantial duration of time. Some use meditation in different forms, Yoga, Martial Arts etc. Look for an activity that forces you to concentrate, one that demands your full attention. I use fly fishing, this activity for me requires my full concentration and I find that hours go by with me not thinking about anything except for the task at hand. When I fly fish problems and mind chatter don’t exist. The key here is to take an emotional break that allows your mind to take a break. Try to do this at least once a week if not more.
- · Be engaged. Listen to people in conversation, don’t just hear them but really listen. Pay attention to details every moment. Become present and in the now. You’ll find you’re not scared or worried and not in pain when your present. You’ll realize in the moment you are okay. Emotional hurt and fear have no power over you when you’re fully present and engaged. This allows you to step out of the chaos and become an observer. Look at the issues of past hurt or worry from the outside looking in.
It’s not that we shouldn’t grieve or plan ahead, or feel what we feel. By all means I am encouraging you to feel as intensely as you possibly can.
What I am hoping to communicate in this blog is that during times of great stress it’s so hard to function even at a basic level in our daily lives, work, family etc. I am confident that these tips will help to find a safety raft in the flood of emotional turmoil so that you can still be focused, engaged and attentive in all areas of life while giving yourself time to heal from hurt and deal with your fears.
As always this is all very real to me as I spent 18 months of my life paralyzed by both hurt and fear. I know how to turn this around and I can help.
Thanks for reading! Be good to yourself!