Finding Calm in the Chaos

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We all experience moments of absolute chaos. Our emotions can overwhelm us, overriding our better instincts to resist crying, striking out, running away, screaming or saying something hurtful. As a result, we feel remorse—or even embarrassment—when our strong emotions subside. Practicing some basic mindfulness skills daily can help us find calm when chaos strikes again.

1. Pay Attention to Right Now
When you control your attention, you control your mind. Step back and observe the moment without reacting or judging. This sounds easy, but takes time and practice. Exercise this skill by asking yourself, "What do I ... see ... hear ... sense ... feel ... right now."

2. Stick to the Facts
Much of the distress comes from assumptions and judgments we make about the thoughts, feelings or motivations of others. Reduce your emotional reaction by staying focused on what is rather than what might be or should be. For example, "He is jumping on the couch" produces less emotion and is easier to deal with than,"He's a badly behaved child who is constantly disobedient!"

3. One Thing at a Time
Research shows people who concentrate on one task at a time are more effective than those attempting to multitask. Attempting to juggle multiple tasks creates anxiety and intensifies emotions, thereby decreasing our productivity. Fully participating in one task at a time increases our effectiveness, decreases our internal chaos and intensifies our enjoyment.

If you are struggling with anxiety, stress, grief, anger, parenting challenges or other issues, please call Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services. Our highly trained therapists can help. Call 866.852.4001 for questions or an appointment at one of our nine outpatient clinics in West Michigan.


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