Finding the Magic in the Chaos of Life

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In one moment, life feels structured and secured. In another, chaos has a way of sneaking in and disrupting those comforts. Unstructured and unexpected moments can feel heavy and intense, exhaustive and deflating, even, but more and more women are looking for — and finding — the magic in the chaos: those moments that teach us valuable lessons, and propel us to pivot, reinvent, and iterate our lives into next level living. 

“The specific moment I discovered there was magic in chaos was when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer,” states Dr. Ellen Albertson, a psychologist and board certified health and wellness coach. She’s also the author of Rock Your Midlife, helping women through one of the most chaotic eras in their lifetime. “As a newly diagnosed patient so much is thrown at you… I felt totally overwhelmed.” 

She began to practice self-compassion as a way to explore the magic in the chaos she endured. “Utilizing my mindful self-compassion practice and positive psychology tools — rather than focusing on everything I had to do and how worried and chaotic I felt — gave me what I needed in order to go from “overwhelmed’ to ‘calm’ and then shift into ‘curious observer’ mode,” she tells CircleAround. “As a result, the magic kicked in and the experience of being a newly diagnosed cancer patient became interesting rather than overwhelming.”

Below are some more tips Dr. Albertson provides for those looking to work on creating more magic from their personal chaos, along with stories from women who have been there, done that, and can offer their own words of support.

1Pause and Just Breathe

We have the ability to take a moment for ourselves and breathe, no matter how chaotic the situation at hand is. Breathwork naturally calms the nervous system and can bring clarity to chaos.

“When life beats you up, it's okay to shut everyone down,” explains Arvie Narido, a writer and gift researcher for Gift Rabbit. “Take a step back, and breathe. Find a place where you can just pour your emotions out. Follow your heart and your feet. It will always bring you to places, people, or things where you can have a safe space for yourself.” 

2Treat Yourself Like a Good Friend

When someone you care about is dealing with a crisis, you might find yourself acting differently. Perhaps you’re more compassionate, more calm, or more action-ready. Shifting your mindset to this perspective can really help, according to Dr. Albertson.

Not sure where to start? Kate Harrison, HR director of Car Donation Centers, uses the SMILE method. “SMILE already reminds me to be optimistic in the chaos,” she explains. She breaks it down like this:

SAY what you’re feeling. MINDFULNESS helps you ease stress. INTERVENE means you can try to find a solution to the chaos. LEARNING from any kind of chaos helps you to find the goodness in it. EVALUATE what you can do to bring the magic into that chaos.

3Notice All The Things in Your Life That Are Going Right

“Early on, after the birth of my daughter (my second child), I realized that not only did I need to give in to the chaos but that there is magic and beauty in it,” states Arielle Martone, a physical therapist, yoga teacher, and author at Find Your Way Mama. “The routines you created with your first child are easily uprooted and you feel divided. That can feel really overwhelming, especially when you try to do everything ‘just right’ and keep things orderly.” 

Martone realized that there were so many beautiful moments naturally occurring in the chaos, and that holding on to old routines wasn’t necessary. “I was able to appreciate the smaller things and bring more joy into my motherhood,” she tells CircleAround. “My baby was able to nap while my toddler explored the neighborhood, getting his energy out. I was able to squeeze in a run during snack time. When you give in to the chaos you give yourself permission to really be in the moment, and that’s beautiful.” 

4Start A Gratitude Practice

Recognizing the positive parts of your life is extremely therapeutic. Whether you record these in a gratitude journal, say them aloud as a mantra, or become more self-aware of them, you’ll be able to see magic in your chaos. 

“I had to force myself to find happiness in the little magical life happenings around me,” explains Jazmin Light, an instructor at Sexy Wellness. “Sunlight sparkle-reflections dancing on the lake, a baby’s smile, a cute dog, the fresh air. Perhaps smiling at some old person, maybe making their day, and other similar brief moments of joy. This would trigger a calmness deep inside my panic and help me through a seven year horrible time in my life.”

5There IS Magic in the Chaos

Life is challenging, but with practice, you can begin to reframe these situations to be beneficial and character-building. The next time your life pulls you in a different direction, seek out the magic. You’ll find it exists more than you think.

Tags: friend, Mindfulness, wellness

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Written By

Katka Lapelosová

Katka is a writer from New York City, currently living in Belgrade, Serbia. See Full Bio

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