If you are feeling as though the world is growing more chaotic with each unfolding week, you are not alone in your perceptions. News and media sources reveal strong energies of polarity and fear in our modern society – energies that can leave us feeling frantic and increasingly uncertain about our place in the world.
Yet despite these senses and perceptions, we do not need to let the world overpower our inner state of wellbeing. Practicing mindfulness in a frantic world can help us to gain greater clarity, presence, focus, and compassion in the face of what stirs around and within us.
To be upfront, mindfulness practice does not make the chaos go away, but it does help us to soften our regrets about the past and our anxieties about the future. It is a practice that invites us to tune into the present moment and be fully attuned to whatever is right here, right now. From this place of presence, we might uncover new ways of moving forward in the world with greater resilience.
Note: For some people, opening up to this present moment can stir past trauma. If you are concerned about your capacity to dive into this work, consider exploring the more intermediate and advanced mindfulness exercises with a practitioner. Or, choose the exercises that feel soothing for you and take your mindfulness practice slowly. Learn more about trauma sensitive mindfulness to best support both yourself and others.
“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.”
6 Mindfulness Exercises for Finding Peace in Chaos
Finding peace in a frantic world is not about denying or avoiding certain realities. It is simply about finding a sense of centered presence so that we can navigate the waves of life as effectively, compassionately, and courageously as possible. The following tips are suggestions of ways that we might find that center point within ourselves.
1. Take ten long, cleansing breaths.
When we find ourselves overwhelmed by the state of the world, we can put everything aside for just a few moments and take ten long, nourishing breaths. Count them out silently in your mind. As you breathe, let your forehead muscles soften and your attention to gracefully follow the flow of air as it moves through you. Practice this as many times during the day as is needed.
For guidance, check out the Perfect 10 Breaths practice
2. Ask your heart how you can best serve it.
Mindfulness is about being fully present to this moment as it rests, and so one great exercise we can consider is mindful, non-judgmental self-inquiry. Close your eyes, tune into the heart space, and compassionately inquire:
“How can I best serve you?”
The answer might sound something like ‘rest,’ ‘a mental health day,’ ‘hot tea,’ ‘a jog,’ or ‘a walk in the woods.’ Follow the voice that rises from body and heart before that which comes from the mind. Grant your permission to take care of yourself in the ways that deeply nourish you.
3. Disconnect to reconnect
The news indeed keeps us informed about what is going on in the world, but too much of us doesn’t serve us nor anyone around us. Consciously make space in your day to be device-free. Start with mindful mornings or wifi-free evenings. Commit this time instead to being fully present with the immediate world you are a part of. This will help you to reconnect with yourself, with your loved ones, and with whatever activities await you
4. Take a walk outdoors.
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”
5. Practice metta meditation.
Another beautiful practice for finding peace in a frantic world is the Buddhist compassion practice called metta meditation. Metta meditation invites us to send love and kindness to ourselves before offering it to someone we love, someone we feel neutral towards, someone we have difficulties with, and then to the entire world.
You can practice metta using a guided mediation or simply by drawing to mind a variety of people you wish to connect with on the heart level, silently repeating to an image of them in your mind:
May you be loved.
May you be safe.
May you be happy.
May you be at peace
Note that when you practice this, you do not need to force yourself to offer these words to anyone in particular. When offering these words to someone you have difficulties with, start with someone you have minor disagreements with. Expand into more complex relationships only as it feels safe to.
6. Connect with a loved one or someone you trust.
Last but not least, the final practice offered to find greater peace amidst the chaos of the world is not a conventional mindfulness practice. Nevertheless, it is one that we can imbue with presence, honesty, openness, and compassion. If you are feeling overwhelmed or frantic, reach out to someone you love and practice mindfully sharing what is present in your heart. Can you be open about any fear, anxiety, or concern you are experiencing?
Practicing mindfulness in a frantic world does not have to be a solitary process. By reaching out to those around us, we reconnect with our shared humanity, remembering that we are indeed in this together.
Explore 8 Mindfulness Exercises for Managing Coronavirus-Related Stress
Mindfulness does not take away all of our concerns, but it can help us to find greater peace amidst whatever we are experiencing. No matter what practices or resources you explore when things get difficult, ensure that you are harnessing your innate capacity for self-compassion and self-care. There are no rulebooks as to how to best navigate chaotic times, but by making a commitment to mindfully care for ourselves, we start to see the light that shines through from behind the clouds.
For additional resources to help ease stress and anxiety amidst chaos, check out: