5 Mindful Tips for Cultivating Calm During Chaotic Times

Photo by Callum Skelton on Unsplash

Let’s face it. You juggle an incredible number of things, even without a pandemic to deal with. We all have areas of life that sometimes feel overwhelming, over the top, and just plain too much to handle. When we have one or more items in that overwhelm category, life can feel especially grueling.

Whatever currently has you veering out of alignment with your joy, clarity, and overall well-being, mindfulness is a wonderful way to find your way back to your internal “true north.” With the pandemic as an overlay to everything else you are navigating in life right now, using mindfulness as self-care is a great way to boost your wellness regimen — and it’s easier to get started than you may think.

Here are some quick mindfulness tips you can use to check your compass and find your way from chaos back to calm.

  1. Mindfully connect with others: Call a dear friend, maybe one you haven’t spoken with in a while. Make a commitment to connect, then practice the art of connecting. If you’re really in a rut, consider making a therapy appointment. I know for myself that when I’ve been at the bottom of the snake pit, I really haven’t wanted to share my story with friends because I get sick of telling it. That’s when it’s time to call in reinforcements. Find a wonderful therapist to hear your story. Many insurance companies are covering remote therapy sessions during the pandemic.
  2. Be your own BFF: Don’t let yourself believe you are not enough, or you may not be able to handle the depths of the emotional storms that blow through your life. Be your own BFF so you can always count on YOU, no matter what hand life deals you.
  3. Embrace the yin and yang of self-compassion: Unfortunately, many of us spend a lot of time worrying about whether our personal way of being in the world is too much or not enough. In thinking about the yin and yang of self-compassion, consider accepting yourself and your energetic way of being as “just right,” just as you are. Keep your eye on the ball of focusing on self-compassion, whether it’s the soft kind or the fierce kind.
  4. Take time away from the 24-hour news cycle: Give yourself permission to step away, turn off the TV, and steer clear of political social media streams when you need a break. Take this time to do something positive and impactful instead — something that makes you feel good and helps others. Volunteer in your community. Donate to a cause you’re passionate about.
  5. Comfort yourself with soothing touch: Placing your hand over your heart — or wherever you find it most comforting (i.e., your shoulder, your cheek) — taps into your body’s mammalian caregiver response and releases oxytocin and opiates in your brain to counteract cortisol, the stress hormone.  I put my hand on my heart probably twenty times a day! Whenever I hear an upsetting story, up goes my hand to my heart. Some of my mindfulness students find that placing a hand on their belly or cheek works better for them. Try different spots out on yourself and see what works for you.

When we are in the depths of emotional chaos, turning to mindfulness can feel challenging — especially when what we feel like doing is screaming or crying! And hey, sometimes screaming or crying is necessary. Let it move through you, then pick yourself up and try the techniques mentioned above.

The more you practice these tools, the easier they will come to you when you need them most, and the more quickly chaos will resolve into something more manageable. We often can’t control what life throws our way, but mindfulness can help us control how we respond to it.


  • Julie Potiker

    Author + Mindfulness Expert

    Mindfulness expert and author Julie Potiker is an attorney who began her serious study and investigation of mindfulness after graduating from the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of California, San Diego. She went on to become trained to teach Mindful Self-Compassion, and completed the Positive Neuroplasticity Training Professional Course with Rick Hanson. Now, she shares these and other mindfulness techniques with the world through her Mindful Methods for Life trainings and her new book: “Life Falls Apart, but You Don’t Have To: Mindful Methods for Staying Calm In the Midst of Chaos.” For more information, visit www.MindfulMethodsForLife.com.