Jo, what’s the way out for those who subconsciously generate chaos because it is what they have become familiar with, and without it, they struggle to function optimally? /how do they return to a state of feeling comfortable with calm and performing well there rather than self-sabotaging? by creating chaos?
I received this question earlier today and decided to answer it here on the Blog.
The short answer to the question is that the brain is used to chaos and work to keep you in what’s familiar. Anything other than what you are used to will feel alien, uncomfortable and wrong.
On a conscious level, you want the opposite to chaos, but when you are in turmoil, the subconscious mind is in complete control, helping you to stay with what’s familiar.
Any change will require developing the ability to sit with discomfort and utilise tools to help you work through the pain until you train your mind to get used to something else.
For example, a person raised in poverty will have to work hard at not repeating patterns to keep them poor because that’s what’s familiar. This person might say things like, ‘I don’t like budgeting. They might work hard and earn a lot of money but struggles to retain what they make.
Breaking that cycle will take training, unlearning and relearning money management skills, tackling their money story and constantly aware of how the feeling of dread can pop up at any time.
Likewise, the person dealing with the chaos described in the question needs to be alert to the root of the problem and begin learning how to change.
Be aware that the thought of change will feel threatening and almost precarious. You are trapped in your old patterns because when the Amygdala senses a threat, it activates the sympathetic nervous system, which puts you in your fight or flight response; this initiates your automatic reaction.
This reaction keeps you in fight/flight mode. The decision to chose your automatic response is a split-second decision. This effect will be so natural that you will sometimes act before it’s a conscious thought. That is why chaos shows up so often instead of the calm you desire.
When you chose chaos, it means the Amagadla is entirely in charge. Calm is a frontal lobe activity, and when the Amagadla kicks in, the frontal love is offline. Therefore, you will naturally do what is familiar, even if you desire something else. However, the more you practice the behaviour you want, your brain will get accustomed to it and eventually, you achieve the calm you desire.
You achieve the change by learning things that soothe the Sympathic system and give you back control of your frontal lobe, where you do your reasoning, thinking and decision making.
How do they return to a state of feeling comfortable with calm and performing well there rather than self-sabotaging?
Achieving a state where you feel calm might take some time. Initially, you might feel overwhelmed, anxious, sad or even angry. The desire will always be to return to your old ways of responding. Despite that working through the discomfort will eventually become your new normal.
Address the root, and change will follow.
The chaos probably started early in life, and because of that experience, you recreate scenarios that keep you in that state of confusion.
You will choose calm when you continually do so; managing feelings and knowing your automatic response is vital to change; this is called self-regulation.
Our actions are complex, and what influences them is also not simple, but as you practice being aware of thoughts and feelings and commit to understanding yourself, you train your brain and nervous system to get used to the new normal.