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How Can I Relax When the World Feels So Chaotic?

Can you be relaxed in a chaotic world? Kelly shares two science-based insights.

Hi, it's Kelly Boys here.

I've been asked to answer the

question: How can I relax when

the world feels so chaotic?

Hearing this question makes

me feel the poignancy of this

moment we're in globally.

And I want you to know I've been

working with a question myself lately.

I'd love to share two pointers that have

helped me and I've also seen help others

regarding how to relax when the world

feels and actually is really chaotic.

These answers are based on a scientific

understanding of the body and brain.

The first pointer I'd like to offer is

to take your nervous system seriously.

It's easy to dismiss our body and brain's

stress response as we resonate with the

chaos around us, you know, in the world

and possibly also in our communities

and families, and even in ourselves.

We think we are overreacting, we can blame

ourselves and we wish we could just relax.

After all, nothing bad perhaps is

going on in our own personal lives.

But our primitive brain response is

designed to feel the stress around

us and to mirror it in ourselves.

It's an order to mobilize and take

action to survive and to thrive.

So just think of someone who is

relaxing at the side of a stream

and see someone having difficulty

swimming in front of them.

We are wired to activate mirror neurons

and to recognize what that person's

struggling to swim might be experiencing.

So we can mobilize to jump in

the water and help save them.

It would be weird, right?

If that person continued to just relax

and look at the trees, swing in the wind.

So we need to acknowledge the positive

functionality of our nervous system.

It's here to help us in our

world and to keep us safe.

So one way to take your nervous

system seriously is to notice

your level of activation.

Perhaps your whole body is tight

after watching the news, you know,

after talking to family or friends

that are experiencing hardship.

Acknowledge what is present

by naming it inwardly.

Oh, my belly is tight.

Acknowledge this is a natural response

to viewing the chaos around you globally.

Your body is actually right on track

with a mobilized stress response.

But here's where you can then step

in and harness the energy of your

nervous system in a positive way.

You take a moment, you

breathe into your belly.

You've named your experience,

and you've normalized it.

As you breathe into your belly,

you're bringing yourself back to

a sense of relaxation and calm.

So this is a tool that will help us

to have balance and relaxation in the

face of a world that is really chaotic.

And the thing is, many of us

are not facing an immediate

crisis right in front of us.

So the world and our communities

need us to be able to work with our

own nervous system response in order

to have enough calm and relaxation

to find the best action, instead of

moving from a stress response and fear.

So our systems are designed for that one

discreet moment when it's all or nothing.

We have to act now or we're

going to jump into the stream.

But yet the chronic stress we face

makes it absolutely imperative that

we harness the energy of our nervous

systems so we can bring all of ourselves

to the chaos that does surround us.

So the tip here is acknowledge your

nervous system is operating normally, take

it seriously, name your experience, and

then take an action, like a deep breath

or another moment of self-care and down

regulate, letting your body and mind

relax even in the midst of the chaos.

The next pointer that helps

me tremendously is to engage

a sense of play and humor.

So when you take a wider lens view,

you can see yourself within the

larger context of things, and you

can bring a lightness, even in the

midst of what is chaotic around you.

It's really essential that your

nervous system is able to feel

a sense of play and laughter.

For me, I recently had truly a

three month bout of what I think was

COVID and there weren't any tests

available in this state where I live.

So I don't know that it was, but

I was very sick for a time period.

And at different points in the process,

even though it was really challenging,

I would laugh and I would say, okay,

when are the murder hornets coming?

You know, it's something that had been in

the news about these large hornets that

were going to swarm the United States.

And after everything else that had

happened, it made me feel better to joke

about yet another thing beyond my control.

There's something interesting that can

occur in the presence of a lot of chaos.

We begin to let go of the

illusion of control and we

align more with life as it is.

So in that we begin to relax in the

midst of what is outside of our control.

It's like the cartoon where you see

a guy falling through space, yelling

and waving his arms in fright.

And then the next frame shows

him kicked back and relaxed and

it's entitled, two weeks later.

One teacher once to said, you know, the

bad news is that you're falling and the

good news is that there's no ground.


So in this way, you know, with the tools

of humor and play, we can learn a new way

to navigate the chaos that is around us.

It doesn't remove it, but it surely

gives us access to better choices

that aren't dependent only on our

nervous system's stress response.

Now I think in the midst of what's

happening in our world, there's this

invitation for us to actually move toward

a mindset of how can I help, instead of

just being focused on our own survival/

it's bringing us together in community.

Thank you for your practice.

And I wish you well, as you

work to relax amidst the chaos.

Remember today to be gentle, see

the beauty around you and most

importantly, be kind to yourself.

Included in

Q&A on Emotional Resilience null Playlist · 5 tracks

Q&A on Emotional Resilience

Playlist · 5 tracks4.9

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