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How to Reset Your Intentions After and Amidst Chaos

Whether or not you got the break you needed between 2020 and 2021, we’re back it—running at an all out sprint. For some, the pause was fleeting, and for others, it may feel like you’ve been on hold for awhile now, pausing with no real rest. Truthfully (and it’s a truth most of us knew all along), as much as we wanted to wake up in a new era, time is very much like the serpent eating its own tail. Everything that has happened is still there, just beneath the surface, and the circle keeps spinning and spinning. 

I had a conversation with my colleague and friend, Kristie, who reminded me of the wall we sometimes hit as humans. Our brains are experiencing what neuroscientists call allostatic load—a state at which we’ve encountered too much chaos to adapt any longer. If it’s not a wall, then it’s sort of like a breaking point. We can’t just keep pushing and pushing and pushing... At some point, we all reach a dead stop caused by chronic stress and an inability to take a meaningful break filled with rest and honest reflection.

Whatever particular brand of chaos you’ve been experiencing— whether that be the stress of unemployment, the pressure of being a frontline worker, or the everyday issues piled on top of the doom and gloom of life during a pandemic, we all need to get centered before we take another step and get back to pushing, pushing, pushing. Even if you feel like there’s nothing you can do to regain your balance, there is! The time spent in chaos-mode, at the peak of allostatic load, is the time when we’re least likely to step back, breathe, and reset our intentions. But ironically, that’s exactly what we need.

Step Back, Breathe, and Reset Your Intentions

  1. Before checking into our prefrontal cortex— the region of the brain used for planning and setting goals— take a step back from the chaos. That step doesn’t need to be in the form of a vacation or even a three-day weekend. It’s more like consciously clearing your plate before you go back for more. Some common step-back methods include:
    1. Taking a short walk
    2. Getting an extra hour of sleep
    3. Making a creative meal
    4. Playing with your kids
  2. After you’ve cleared your plate, take time to set your intentions. I appreciate the focus that comes with choosing a specific word, but this could also be a list, a mantra, or a visualization. Just don’t go blindly back into the chaos. Have a destination in mind or a target to aim at — a method to your madness.
  3. After you’ve taken a moment to step back and set those intentions, dive in from a different angle. Jarring our old habits or psyche can give us an entirely new perspective and increased momentum. These could be small shifts like making to-do lists on a whiteboard instead of in a journal, or taking a short hike instead of going to the gym. Changing up the routine helps our brain form new pathways, connections, and neurons. It’s like a tune-up for your car. So, don’t be afraid to adapt. In fact, lean into it.
  4. Feel into the shift. What will it be like if you create this new reality? Sit inside that feeling of what you’re looking to create instead of stressing. To our brains, that feeling is just as fruitful as actually being there.

Meddlers

Think about the last time you learned a new skill or changed up your routine. How did it feel? If you choose to take advantage of the brain’s ability to adapt, it can literally change your life. Change can be scary though. At Meddlers, we’re equipped to help you reset your intentions and move through the liminal space between where you are and where you want to be with care. Contact Meddlers today, and chaos be damned!