Staying Peaceful in Times of Chaos

There is a lovely quote by Joan Borysenko that says, “Every day brings a choice: to practice stress or to practice peace.”  In this time of emotional upheaval and turmoil, this quote reminds us that we can affect the outcome of our personal experiences by choosing to practice peace over stress.  Peace is always a choice.

We always have the option of cultivating an open mind and an inner centeredness that will allow us the mindfulness and strength to manage life outside of ourselves.  The tools are within us.  Here are four helpful tips for staying peaceful in times of chaos:

  1. Visualize the result you desire.  It may sound corny but visualizing or creating mental pictures of the outcomes you would like to see happen actually calms your mind into thinking this is possible and might even allow it to attract the desired result subconsciously.  If you crave peace and calm, visualize whatever image that automatically comes to mind and focus on it.  Think of how you would like things to be instead of what is missing from your reality.
  2. Affirm what is positive.  Acknowledge what you do have that is bringing you happiness or peace.  Focus on the benefits of a situation, even if they pale in comparison to potential downsides.  There are two sides to every coin and even though one side may seem much more attractive to you and/or more in alignment with your current beliefs, consider the other side.  Is there any potential for a silver lining?  Could something be a benefit even if not seemingly so?  Focus on what is available to you today that brings you inner calm.
  3. Believe in the Universe.  Find your spirituality and sit in it.  Have faith that the Universe serves your best interests even if you don’t have concrete evidence to prove this.  Pray.  Repeat a mantra.  Meditate. Use mala beads or a rosary for comfort while you ask the Universe to serve and guide you.  Be willing to give up needing tangible proof that things will turn out okay and just trust that they will.  This doesn’t mean give up fighting for what you believe.  Rather, also have faith!
  4.  Share your heart.  Be kind. Warm. Compassionate.  Open-hearted.  Give more than you receive while you are in distress.  Be mindful of your urges to ruminate in negativity or build resentment or anger.  Instead, share. Talk about how you are feeling and find like-minded people to share with. Dig deep inside yourself and practice abundant generosity and love.

In times of stress and chaos, we tend to react to the intensity of the world around us and, sometimes, the intensity of our feelings tends to naturally match the intensity of the circumstances.  Take care to notice this tendency and learn to prevent it by practicing peace instead of stress.