If you had the choice, which is it that you prefer, calm or chaos? I thrive on peace and calm, but that doesn’t always happen. Dream on. Sometimes individuals who have survived traumas crave peaceful lives and do all they can to have a life without chaos and without being in constant motion. Maybe that’s because their childhood environment was chaotic or their adult life has been like that. Peace is wonderful, but not everybody knows how to handle peace— especially if they grew up in a chaotic environment. In that case, peace would probably feel strange or out of sorts. The question to you is, do you create calm or chaos?
During our lives, we can expect to encounter people who thrive on chaos because of their life journeys. So the goal of my post is to share some tips for creating calm and for handling chaos. We’ll look at the areas listed below.
- What calm and chaos mean
- Do you create calm or chaos
- How to change what you have been creating
- Tips for handling chaos
Calm and Chaos Defined
Okay, to make sure that we’re all on the same page, let’s look at some definitions. According to Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary, calm can be defined in several ways. The definitions that most pertain to what we’re discussing are “a state of peace; tranquility; and being free from agitation, excitement, or disturbance.”
On the other hand, chaos is defined by Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary as “a state of utter confusion, unpredictability, and disorganization.”
I’m guessing that as you read these definitions, you might have been thinking of people whose lives seem chaotic or calm. Right? Wouldn’t it be nice to always have a peaceful, calm life? Well, maybe, but it can sometimes seem like a dream.
If you’re like most people, you might prefer a peaceful, organized, fairly predictable environment. But you might work with people who are unpredictable, and who tend to create stress, confusion, and chaos wherever they go. It’s like they thrive on creating these things because that’s familiar and they have learned to function in that. To others, it can be stressful, too unpredictable, and very unproductive.
Do You Create Calm or Chaos
So now that we’re on the same page with definitions, have you ever thought about what kind of environment “you” create? Below are some questions to think about.
- Do you change plans often and leave co-workers or family members scratching their heads because they planned their time to do something with you?
- Do you make last-minute project switches or requests of colleagues or family members and hope they won’t mind because it accommodates your needs or schedule?
- Do you ever feel like your life is out of control?
- Do you often find yourself getting upset and having conflicts with other people?
- Do you notice that you are being pulled in many directions?
- Have you wondered if you might be over-committed?
- Has anyone actually stated that they believe you’re trying to do too much?
- Has your body been screaming for you to get more rest?
- Have you recently longed for more peace and calm?
So how did you do on these self-check questions? Do any of these describe your life? If they do, keep reading. I have some tips on changing that.
Now let’s look at some questions about whether or not you create a calm environment.
- Do you consider the schedules, responsibilities, and needs of colleagues or family members when making plans to get together to work on projects?
- Do you feel like your life is calm at work and/or at home?
- What kind of environments make you feel calm?
- Are you sensitive to when your life no longer feels calm?
- What do you do to avoid being over-committed?
- Has anyone ever told you that you have a calming effect on them?
- Can you be still and rest or do you feel like you always need to be busy?
- What do you do to create a calm environment at home?
- How do you create a calm environment at work?
How to Change What You Have Been Creating
So your self-check results should give you a hint about what type of environment you might be creating wherever you go. Which is it—calm or chaos?
If it seems like you’ve been creating chaos, hit pause, and evaluate situations. Realize that with the chaos, it may also be the creation of unnecessary stress for yourself and for those involved. That can ruin relationships and decrease productivity in your life and in the lives of others. It might actually repel people away from you because they don’t like confusion, stress, and chaos.
For a chaos creator, it’s time to start doing the opposite. How? Rather than rushing headlong into situations, take a deep breath and spend some time considering what might work best for “others” involved. That means when scheduling projects or meetings or appointments, that you take time to consider the needs of others, their responsibilities, energy level, schedules, abilities, likes and dislikes, and even their spouses or families. Look for peaceful solutions to challenges.
Retraining yourself to create less chaotic environments may not happen overnight, so don’t be too hard on yourself. However, keep striving for and looking for ways to create calm environments everywhere you go. It will help you become more aware of the needs of others.
If it sounds like you have been creating calm, way to go! However, it seems that we can always improve. Maybe there’s a spot that needs to be tweaked to bring about more calm and less stress in your life at home or at work. See what you can do given the above tips. Look for the stressors in your life and see how to make some changes for the better. Be willing to be a peacemaker and conflict resolver.
Tips for Handling Chaos
Whenever others create chaos, it’s no fun. What can you do? You’re trying your best to think clearly, but that might be difficult in some situations. If chaos arises, individuals who have survived traumatic events may find that the chaos triggers some things from their past traumas. If that’s what happens to you, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Handle it in a way that you feel safe so you can process it and not freeze up. Maybe over the years, you’ve learned to step away from the chaos so it will have less of an impact on you. Here are a few things you might try when chaos occurs.
- If possible, step away and take time to process what’s happening
- Do some deep breathing exercises
- Take a walk to help clear your mind
- List possible peaceful solutions
- Write in your journal
- Have people involved make suggestions and try to find something that works for everyone
- Ask for time to think and to find a win-win solution
- Confront in a gentle, loving manner
When chaos happens at work, try to find more peaceful solutions so that the next time there will be less drama. To do that, you might need to go the extra mile to be the peacemaker. Minimizing chaos at work might be a bit more difficult because there may be more people involved and a wider variety of interpersonal dynamics. For instance, a boss or co-worker, or both, might be unpredictable, unorganized, forgetting what they said, changing what they said, or just generally confusing to others. Sorry, that is not fun, but you can still confront in a gentle, loving manner and work with the person to find do-able solutions.
At home, you will likely know the people better so you can address challenges before they turn into chaotic situations. Be creative and open to ideas to try for resolving the chaos.
Although there’s a lot more that can be said about handling chaos and creating calm, this is a start. We considered the definitions of calm and chaos, then looked at the environment you might be creating wherever you go and offered some tips on changing, and tips on handling chaos.
The current fast pace and the instant expectations of our society can easily lead to creating chaotic environments. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this topic. Thank you for reading!
Your Rebuilding Lives Coach