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Updated: Nov 22, 2021

To overcome internal chaos, it is first necessary to live with external change. There are 5 valuable tips for coping with clutter, with allies such as calmness, perseverance and gratitude.

The still unfinished Covid19 pandemic is slowly revealing a submerged world in parallel to the known one, consisting of existential crises, phobias and a lot of accumulated stress. In addition to the complications of the Post-Covid, there are millions of people who are experiencing a great deal of discomfort, often linked to other unresolved problems such as health, economic and social issues. The bleak picture is also enriched by a pandemic that has not yet ended and that causes further breakdowns in emotional states in addition to the previous ones, such as fear, anger and frustration.

  • What then to do if inner chaos looms over the same outer situation? How do we find the order of things and thus an inner order in our lives?

1# Is it the mind that asking you for an inner change?

While certainty is usually synonymous with stability and equilibrium relative to a ready-made reality, uncertainty arrives like a bolt from the blue, (see chaos theory abstract) capable of sweeping away any solid affirmation of the dominant role of peaceful coexistence that we have with ourselves and the world, thus upsetting the most hidden states of mind in a single moment.

When this happens, resulting from a negative fact that arrives suddenly and we do not know how to handle it or because we are too anchored to our routine that we do not want to change, here comes in essence, from the body and the mind a signal that pushes us towards the dimension of the unknown.

The alarm sometimes comes on loudly and sometimes not, but the important thing is to be able to listen to that "little voice" that tells us: "that overcoming uncertainty, without fighting it, is possible", without getting bogged down in the complexity that surrounds us.

Therefore, when chaos destabilizes us and does not let us perceive what is really going on, the first 3 important decisive steps are in:

  • Feel the unstable ground under your feet. Without trying to create drama, try to explore the experience;

  • Accepting the moods involved and acknowledging them;

  • Thanking the unexpected that created the momentary chaos, but not spending too much time on thoughts about uncertainty. (or rather recognize the type of inner voice).

2# When external disorder is the voice of internal disorder

“…is that inner voice that can remind us of past failures, hurts or disappointments, torture us with criticism or verbal abuse, describe frightening or unpleasant future scenarios or disturb us in other ways."
- Steve Andreas -

The external context narrated by the news on TV, in the Newspapers and on Social networks, undoubtedly produces a considerable amount of thoughts that do not help; in fact, cognitive media catastrophism increases unease and fear about tomorrow. Starting from the assumption that the world "is a reflection of our inner cosmos", and accepting this phrase as a further starting point to concretely break down the "chaos" that currently seems to reign supreme in us, the next step, in addition to accepting the state of "unpredictability", will be to be able to cancel the so-called "negative inner dialogue".

The American psychotherapist and author Steve Andreas, who specializes in neurolinguistic programming, has succeeded in pointing out some practical exercises to consciously interrupt the negative inner dialogue, which we propose below with 3 examples for you to try immediately:

  1. Start of the day: Observe the first thoughts that run through your mind as soon as you get up and do this also in the following days considering the tone of these thoughts and the consequences that are reported during the rest of the day. It is an effective technique to test the feeling of imagining waking up in the future with a growing presence.

  2. Overgeneralisations, evaluations and assumptions: Such skills in describing events or ourselves can also be disadvantageous if they affect too much with negative thinking. Here we can shift the focus in a positive way, evaluating our own inclinations, as in John McWhirter's Decontamination Scheme, in which he suggests dividing a given sentence such as: "I had a bad day" by first considering the negative event from all the other neutral and positive situations to realize, in the end, that the day was not so bad after all, and re-establishing an order on the generalizations and infinite traps found within words."

  3. Where the "little voice" is: Like a detective, it would be fundamental and even fun to try to find the hiding place of the "annoying" little voice that hangs around our head. Is it somewhere inside your head or outside? Is it in front or behind, to the left or to the right, above or below? After a while, you will then begin to identify all these different aspects of your voice, perhaps pointing your finger at the point of discovery and changing its mode and place, making it slowly recede in volume and importance.

3# Questioning every single thing in life

"Being human means questioning everything, openly. It means knowing who we are and choosing a path not because we are forced to take it but because we paved it.“
- Joumana Haddad - poetessa, giornalista e traduttrice libanese

When we are afraid, chaos increases mental 'haziness' and risks making us lose control, often due to the adverse events of life in which we find ourselves 'trapped' such as:

  • Lockdown, loss of work, loss of a love or loved one, illness, money, etc.

In order to proceed in an orderly fashion, as Steve Andreas wisely indicated with his "self-listening" work, there are some halfway goals that need to be emphasized in order to achieve a good distribution of energy throughout the "Process of emptying internal clutter", and to reprogram a new order of spaces filled with positive and constructive charge.

And here comes an essential knowledge: to "question" all things done, said and above all thought, in a sort of general cleaning of our "internal system", already mentioned through the help of the negative dialogue about oneself.

The best way to consciously cleanse, also indicated by the psychiatrist Karl Augustus Menninger, is above all to learn to remain calm, to contain fear and irrational states.

He once said: "Fears are educated in us and, if we want, can be educated out."

It seems clear that in order to educate such states of mind, calmness is the essential prerequisite for dealing with the state of powerlessness acquired in the face of events that cannot be changed. But not only that. When one educates fear with calmness, the latter also becomes contagious, so much so that others will then follow suit. The three steps to enter this phase are:

  1. From Chaos to Breath: Doubt is necessary but it can fuel further chaos. It is then necessary to frame one problem at a time and bring attention to your breath and stop.

  2. From Breath to Calm: in the moment of 'listening' to your breath (no particular meditation technique is required here), you naturally enter the state of calm, which can take as little as a few seconds to begin with, but that's fine.

  3. Stay as calm as possible: practice staying as calm as possible, it will become a pleasant feeling that you will not be able to do without. And in time you will become a true master of calmness and critical observation of life's experiences!

4# Put your personal (physical) space in order

"The remedy for the unpredictability of fate and the chaotic uncertainty of the future is the ability to make and keep promises."
- Hannah Arendt -

In recognizing, listening to and doubting the inner Chaos with assimilated serenity, a fourth element is added, equally decisive to the previous ones and translated into a simple word. Order.

From the initial disorder, "as in a house left to itself, in which we rolled up our sleeves and began to see objective reality with full knowledge of the facts", in order to intervene immediately with lucidity and observation on the best intervention strategy to reorder it.

The fourth moment is no longer purely theoretical but practical; we start to act since we know what to keep and what to throw away. Beginning to tidy up personal space (including physical space) is not only the cure to get out of internal chaos, but above all a promise made to our higher level of consciousness, which must be respected.

The case of the famous guru-blog Marie Kondo with her Konmari method is a masterful and inspiring example of how tidying up your home is not just a simple trend, but a real lifestyle. Marie Kondo has succeeded in hypnotizing everyone in the art of tidying up without making it seem like an obsession; a middle way between order and disorder, in which it is possible to reflect when "working", as in a sort of emotional celebration of doing, which welcomes the good things and drives away the unsuitable ones, always with calm and rectitude. Taking some of her advice as a starting point for "overcoming inner chaos", here are the 6 rules of Marie Kondo's "Tidy style" or "Konmari method" that you can apply today:

  1. Commit to tidying up. Or rather setting the intention to tidy up seriously - and deciding to put in the necessary time and effort, is the first rule of tidying up.

  2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle. This is a turning point, as when you imagine your ideal lifestyle, you are really clarifying why you want to tidy up and you are imagining your best life;

  3. Discarding is an important part of the process. It means appreciating the objects that give you joy and letting go of the rest with gratitude and a pinch of salt (Japanese purification ritual);

  4. Sort by category, not place. Preferring to tidy by category rather than location means unlocking the endless cycle of tidying. So first the miscellaneous items (clothes, books) and then the sentimental ones (photos, gifts, etc);

  5. Follow the right order. By starting with clothes, you learn to touch the efforts made and love your surroundings more;

  6. Ask yourself whether it sparks joy. It does not follow the motto of "every time you buy something new, get rid of something old", but just ask yourself if the object in your hand triggers joy and listen to your body's response (shivers, peace, etc.)

5# Work incessantly on yourself

"One must still have chaos within oneself to generate a dancing star."
- Friedrich Nietzsche -

Chaos, which for many is experienced only as an enormous cataclysm that lowers individual energy and kills all hope and certainty for tomorrow, can instead be seen in a different and certainly positive light. The idea is a glow that cuts through the thick shadows of a grey, repetitive and calculated world, while reminding itself of another possibility of a constructive, positive and dynamic vision. Chaos as we prefer it and believe it to be, is therefore:

  • Source of opportunity: to break out of the toxic routine that drives us to absolute control of all things;

  • A good Bringer of deep crisis to awakening: the powerlessness of not knowing what to do, brings us into the blackest crisis, but at the same time awakens us from the torpor of the suffocating everyday;

  • Road to change: true transformation lies in welcoming the unknown (or chaos) with calmness, perseverance and gratitude. It is these skills that take us to a higher level of consciousness and get us through every adversity that life presents, now and yet tomorrow.

So, embracing chaos in times of Covid19, means first of all:

  1. Working incessantly. (Never stop researching on yourself to improve).

  2. Accepting and listening to your "dark" side. (Shadows, chaos and suffering are the best opportunities if we know how to exploit them). Let's take advantage of them...

Instead of continuing to choose that banal certainty revealed in situations that are apparently convenient but lacking in deep meaning for consciousness, it is undoubtedly time to risk going beyond the obviousness of factual conditions, choosing Chaos as an ally and no longer as an enemy.

Finally, it is also with the help of gratitude and humour that one can achieve further important goals, to be able to put one's own self in order, and consolidate the image of the ideal life that we truly desire; and at the same time it will be possible to reduce that annoying "negative inner dialogue" into a facetious and harmless "little monster", useful only to help us evolve in this strange and wonderful place called "Earth".


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