There is no shortage of chaos, conflict, and uncertainty in the world today. The daily onslaught of crises from here at home to around the world, can leave us on unsure footing. How can we find peace when our world is crumbling?
This chaos is beyond our means of control. Finding peace within this chaos becomes an individual challenge. There are some ways to protect your well-being when you feel the earth shifting beneath your feet.
1. Look for stabilizing forces.
Seeking out sources of stability and comfort is a way to help you foster peace within yourself. Stability can be found in the comforts of life — reruns of your favorite TV shows; reading a good book; baking cookies. Family traditions, no matter how small, can be a comfort in these tough times.
Wise words from Fred Rogers can help us in times of distress:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
Kindness is a stabilizing force to the chaos induced by fear and ignorance, so look for it everywhere. No matter how unstable the world feels, there are always places and people that can help you to connect to a sense of stability.
2. Be mindful about what you consume.
Be very mindful of the people and media you allow into your world. Protect your boundaries by saying no. This is not the time for you to put up with people who drain your energy or say yes to things you don’t want to do. Just because someone else wants to talk about negative things happening, doesn’t mean you need to participate.
Say ‘no’ to watching too much news. Overexposing yourself to disturbing images and hearing stressful “play-by-play” usually doesn’t help you feel better.
To cultivate peace, limit your news intake to less than 15 minutes per day.
3. Rid yourself of the stress chemicals in your body.
Stress leads to the production of stress hormones in the body. These hormones help you with a fight-or-flight response designed to help you survive in stressful environments. Without physical activity, these hormones remain in the body and cause harm over time.
Taking care of your body almost always helps your mind feel more peaceful, too.
4. Get help. Share the struggle openly with others.
We are hardwired to connect. Getting support and giving support to others helps alleviate the feeling that the world is a scary place. Therapy is a fantastic resource for those seeking more peace. A therapist can help you process emotions that come from everything going on right now. Learning tools and coping strategies can help you find peace even now.
5. Focus on your power and strength.
One of the best ways to cope with feeling powerless is to focus on your power. Bring your attention to the many things you have control over. Remember that there are always people you can bring comfort to and help. Even more powerful than looking for a helper is becoming the helper.
If you can harness your stress and use it to do something that seems meaningful to you, it’s bound to help you feel a greater sense of peace too.
Finding peace in chaos can be elusive when it feels like the world is getting worse, but hopefully, these simple strategies help you remember that no matter what’s happening in the world. You have more control over your well-being than you think.
Adapted from 5 Tips from a Psychologist on Finding Peace in Chaos (When It Feels Like the World Is Falling Apart). (January 6, 2021)