In the Midst of Chaos

In the midst of chaos, it can be a challenge to feel balanced and grounded; or even sometimes to know what to do. We have been experiencing a lot of turmoil and chaos recently, and people are feeling it and are struggling with it. Everyday, I see people who are having a hard time with the stress and who are looking for solutions.

And as is true with most of the stress we each encounter in our lives, although we may not be able to change the situation, we can always choose how we react. The choice is always ours. And there are things that we can do to change how we react; to create that space that allows for a different way to show up, a different choice to be made

When we practice mindfulness, and can bring mindfulness practices into our everyday lives, we are better able to find this space, and to choose our response to our stress. Being mindful means being present; present to this moment, this body, this space and time. Being in the present moment keeps us out of the future in anxiety and out of the past, in regret. It is a way to be focused on the here and now.

Research has shown mindfulness to be a perfect antidote to stress, and a tremendous help in dealing with many stress related symptoms and illnesses, from hypertension to IBS.

And let me be clear, it is not that mindfulness changes the stress; rather it allows us to change our responses to the stress in our lives.

Meditation is a specific mindfulness practice that can be particularly helpful in dealing with stress. Granted, it can be a challenge to develop a practice; it can be hard. But there are ways to get help, form Apps to finding a group to working with a teacher. I strongly encourage starting a meditation practice as part of good self-care. Over time, it becomes part of your daily routine and something that you are likely to miss if you skip.

Self-care is one of the most critical components of good health and well-being. It can be a challenge for many of us to embrace the concept of self care; it seems somehow equated with self indulgence. But nothing could be further from the truth. Taking care of ones self is not only necessary it is really the best way to honor and respect our bodies. It may sound trite, but we only have one body, and we need to take care of it. We need to give it the nutrients it needs, good clean water, fresh air, and proper rest. We need to move and stretch our bodies. And we need to provide ourselves as much peace and calm as we can so as to allow our bodies time and space to be healthy.

We can’t expect ourselves to be strong and available for the others in our lives if we are not creating the conditions in our own lives that help us be present and grounded. And this requires that we care for ourselves, and not put us and our needs at the tail end of our to-do lists; one of those items that always gets pushed to the next page.

Even the airlines teach this; how many times have we heard that emergency warning about the oxygen masks that will be released if the cabin pressure changes; and they always say to put your own mask on first before tending to the person you are trying to help. The reason is simple; if you don’t tend to your own needs, it just might be too late. This is a metaphor we would do well to remember.

Developing a meditation practice is a particularly useful way to navigate the stress of our lives, especially now when there is so much uncertainty and anxiety. There is a reason it is called a “practice”…it takes practice to develop and to maintain, but the rewards are many and so worth the effort. I encourage you to try to incorporate this tool into your lives; I think you will be grateful that you did.

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