I travel on Vancouver transit every single day and live in an industrial neighborhood. Our closest woodsy area is a 15 min drive away.
Living in the “mental and electric chatter” of a city can make a person miserable. This effect is multiplied by our modern culture of multiple social media platforms, easy access to music, unlimited “in the moment” news, wifi, 3G, Bluetooth, etc. It is overwhelming to the brain and can have a significant impact on our physiology.
As part of my clinical practice I do a lot of work in anxiety and depression. My prediction is that in the next few years epidemiological studies will show anxiety in cities greatly out numbers anxiety in small towns or in those places closer to nature.
Recommendations for getting out into nature, experiencing more quiet time and reconnecting with the “self” will grow.
This article is a beginners guide to staying centered in daily chaos. These are the techniques I have found beneficial. There most likely are many more (please share yours in the comments) but these are the ones that just naturally worked for my personality.
Give them a try.
No matter where you live you could be experiencing negative consequences in your mental atmosphere because of your physical surroundings. These aren’t specific to people who take the Skytrain/Bus/Subway or those who’s neighborhood suffers from noise pollution. These could be beneficial for anyone experiencing racing mind, unconscious anxiety, negative thinking, a chaotic home life, etc.
All of these ideas can be done together (in fact they work best that way). Try them one by one and don’t be discouraged if you don’t feel better right away.
How to Stay Centered in Daily Chaos – A Natural Health Guide
1) Build Conscious Awareness and Subconscious Strength – 1 Minute Meditations
Meditation is becoming such a mainstream practice in North America that it can really go without being said here.
The main point I want to get across is that the more you are able to turn within the easier it will be for your brain to separate from chaotic surroundings subconsciously.
As you practice simple meditations more frequently the mind can easily protect itself from the “noise”. It really is like building a muscle.
One minute meditations are breaks in consciousness where you make a conscious decision to focus on your breathing for one minute while in a chaotic atmosphere. This relaxes the body, turns down a sympathetic nervous system response, improves whole body oxygen levels and centers the mind.
Breathing techniques like this can be practiced in many ways. For public transit – quiet long slow breaths work the best. As thoughts arise just let them fade. Only focus on the breath. In one minute you will be ready to take on the world again.
2) Read this Material – a Shift in Consciousness via Teachings
Reading can be a very calming practice. The mind cannot consider other thoughts or stimuli while reading. If it does than it is a very distracted mind and the more you read the stronger your focus will become.
If you live in a chaotic household or are experiencing negative side effects of electrochemical pollution consider reading some of the following titles. The authors are very gentle, have a simple message and are easy to read.
These book recommendations do not teach about living in a chaotic environment. They are more about living a spiritual life. While reading them a sense of peace will flood your consciousness.
- Joel Goldsmith – A Parenthesis in Eternity
- Michael Beckwith – Spiritual Liberation
- Robert Holden – Shift Happens
- Joel Goldsmith – The Infinite Way
3) Stabilize Your Blood Sugar
Let’s get medical for a moment – blood sugar spikes and subsequent crashes starve the brain of fuel for proper function.
Anxiety, depression, fear, worry and frustration are all more prevalent when we eat poorly. Eating high sugar foods make coping with stressful situations more difficult.
The brain loves sugar – that is what it uses for fuel – but it needs a steady supply in small amounts. If you bombard the body with sugar insulin is rapidly secreted and blood sugar will then drop significantly and mental function will become lower.
It will be more difficult to focus, cope with stress and stay calm.
The best way to keep your blood sugar stable it to eat fiber rich foods with your meals. Fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains all help to accomplish this. They slow digestion of the sugars and present the body with what it needs slowly. This will help you stay centered in daily chaos.
4) Reduce Caffeine Consumption – don’t get amped up to deal with everyone else being amped up
I believe it is our natural response to meet the energy of the room. In many cases that means more coffee! More stimulation! More fun!
It isn’t the answer.
I don’t have a problem with coffee. I think certain people are more susceptible to high levels of caffeine than others. I think some people can display an addictive quality with experiencing the effects of caffeine (and wanting more). But I think the research is good for long term health in those who can handle the stimulation of a cup or two per day.
The issue is when people go beyond a couple cups and expect to be able to stay centered in a chaotic atmosphere. It rarely works out. Meeting too much stimulation with more stimulation compounds the problem.
Focus more on staying centered. Focus on calming the nervous system. Focus on sitting in forgiveness, gratitude and keep a light frame of mind.
This is easiest achieved for most people off of stimulants.
5) Embrace the Inner Quiet – What is Your Self Talk Like?
I ask this question to 90% of patients. I get a range of responses. Many use the word “negative”. Some have to ask for a more clear description of the question.
I state: “When you close your eyes and begin to listen. What does the voice in your head say to you? Or do you speak to it? What is the narrative?”
This is an important question to consider. Begin to check in with yourself. What is that inner environment like? In future articles we will talk more about shaping that environment.
Some of the qualities I am looking for included peaceful, positive, gentle, loving, etc. Check in with yourself.
6) Home Environment – Perfect Your Zen Den
Amy is very passionate about our “Zen Den” and thank gosh she introduced me to this concept.
Your home is an environment you have a degree of control over. Do your best with it. Create a situation where the physiology of the body and mind are conditioned to relax when you step in that door.
Simple solutions that have worked for us include salt rock lamps, tea light candles, crystals, books, hidden internet routers, low noise, nature sounds from the Bose, herbal tea, Amy’s spiritual alter, etc.
So do whatever you need to do to create your ultimate zen den. It will bring you peace and joy everyday.
This world can be interpreted one of two ways – chaotic and out of control or chaotic and within our control.
Even with the “noise” of everyday life seemingly getting louder life can still be incredibly peaceful. Use the techniques above to center yourself on a daily basis and you will be able to see the benefits physically, mentally and emotionally.
As we put more pressure on our external selves it is important to remember about nurturing the inner self. Keeping the inner environment fresh, light and positive is the key to detoxing the bombardment of our outer world.
Do you live in a busy city? What techniques do you use to stay centered? Let us know in the comments below.
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