- a state of great disturbance, confusion, commotion, or uncertainty; tumult; agitation; disquiet.
"the country was in turmoil"
I’m making a huge assumption that the majority of us are experiencing these feelings. I know that I have been feeling turmoil, emotional fog, frustration, anxiety and more since mid-March when we went into ‘lockdown’ in Kansas. While typically I love roller coasters (and sometimes I would guess that could be considered ‘turmoil’), this year is sure something I would rather never experience again! Sheesh…if I was peri menopausal I shiver to think how much worse it could be! ;-) But turmoil seems to be what most are describing as our ‘new normal’ and so that seemed like a good time to delve a bit more into how to cope in a tumultuous time.
To a certain degree it feels like 2020 is over and above the most tumultuous time ever! We are living in a world where we can get information in an instant, watch devastating events in real-time and feel like it’s hard to escape all the bad news. In general, the world ‘out there’ is more a source of trouble than a source of peace. What we have to acknowledge is how we relate to such a world.
Turmoil is a broad term for the many ways people may feel when worried, agitated, anxious, depressed, like you are spinning out of control. I would suggest that no one chooses to feel like this. Who would consciously choose to put themselves through such self-torture? But, in looking inward, certain common elements are generally present.
- Troubling thoughts continue repeating themselves.
- You feel like these thoughts are in control.
- This results in you feeling out of control – possibly experience an element of fear.
- The more you dwell on the thoughts and fears, the more the inner agitation is fed.
- Rising above or finding a way out of turmoil seems impossible, leading to spiraling helplessness.
These elements not only impact your mental state, but your nervous system also feels the impact of the constant tension. It is devoting energy to brace yourself for the next blow, on red alert at all times. Inner turmoil won’t take a break in wreaking havoc.
To escape inner turmoil, these elements need to be reversed.
- Stop and reflect on things that are causing worry, depression, anxiety, etc.
- Put these troubling thoughts to rest – literally imagine throwing them out with the garbage!
- Realize that you are not the victim of your mind and emotions.
- Release the element of fear.
- Find ways to decrease inner agitation – it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
- Find your inner power to feel in control.
Besides thinking about how to reverse inner turmoil, turning some of that thought into action might be more useful. Grab a pen and piece of paper and consider this exercise:
- Identify the situation – WHAT is causing the turmoil. This alone can be a huge step forward. It’s a lot harder to hide from the issue when you keep it in your mind. Writing down provides the opportunity to SEE has significant and scientifically proven benefits that can turn the chaos into order in the most basic sense.
- Then complete one, or both of these sentences:
“I’m stressing about _______________________.”
“I’m afraid ______________________ is going to happen.”
- Write down all the possible outcomes you can think of. Like a Pros and Cons list. Be specific.
- Now, fold a piece of paper in half. List fearful outcomes you imagine on one side; on the other side, list the opposite outcome.
- Keep this list handy – in your wallet, with your computer, etc. It’s not so much a lesson in taking it out and reading it, but the exercise of writing your thoughts, anxieties down and finding release.
Another suggestion is to focus on all your worrisome thoughts and organize them into three buckets.
Bucket #1 those thoughts that end in a negative result; Bucket #2 ones which end with the situation staying the same; Bucket #3 are those that are growth oriented. Put a percentage/number for each of these buckets and make a conscious effort to put more in the third bucket.
All of this requires discipline and effort to do the work. But, if in the end, your turmoil can be reduced the that makes that work all worthwhile!
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