How to take care of your spirit & keep the chaos out

5-part series on destroying chaos: How to take care of your spirit and keep the chaos out

This is the 5th in a five-part series on finding and conquering the 5 areas of chaos in your life. You can catch the whole series here.

As I'm writing this, it's that special day known nationwide as (Color) Friday. I shudder to even say the name. 

I love a good deal as much as the next person, but I don't love how the (Color) Friday madness takes over otherwise soulful hearts and leads to things like store associates getting pushed down by customers, people punching others over the last Playstation, retail workers having to come to work at midnight or even 6pm on Thanksgiving night, and people getting trampled to death over a TV.

That's not to say those products are bad. As a Minimalist, I don't have a problem with shopping; I have a problem with shopping for things you don't need.

Who really wants that cheap little tchotchke 'door-buster' anyway? 

And what's worse is the retailers who start marking their products UP 10% in October so they can suddenly slash prices the weekend after Thanksgiving. Or who have (Color) Friday and Cyber Monday deals that aren't even as good as the last-minute-before-Christmas deals they'll offer later on.

And I'm not balancing on this soapbox for no reason. There's a point to this.

The point is that it's really easy to lose sight of what it means to live soulfully, when things like Black Friday come around. They whip us up into frenzies and yes, we can lose our rational minds when they do. 

It's called Crowd (or Mob) Psychology, and it can be really dangerous.

"Crowd behavior is heavily influenced by the loss of responsibility of the individual and the impression of universality of behavior, both of which increase with the size of the crowd." 

Woah, scary right?

Look, I don't want to beat a dead horse, but this is important: 

Without keeping the chaos out of your spirit, it doesn't matter how tidy the other four areas of your life are. You need to make sure you stay true to YOU, not the Crowd. 

Things that get your Spirit feeling runned-down

There are a few things that can take a toll on your Spirit and you've probably experienced all of them at some point. You may be experiencing some, or even all, of them now.

Here are some of the most common ones and what you can do to get the chaos out.

Confidence struggles and low self-esteem

We all get twinges of low self-esteem sometimes, but the difference between confident people and unconfident people is what we do when we feel those twinges. 

It takes conscious effort to push yourself back into the confident box, but it's worth that effort. When you feel those twinges of low self-esteem, stop and tell yourself, "This is a normal feeling that all people and all brains feel sometimes. It's just a little brain glitch, and it's not true."

The hardest part about being confident is believing you're confident. But it's also the ONLY part to being confident. 

Setbacks & failures

Everyone has setbacks and everyone experiences failures. It's part of the human experience and it's a GOOD thing. 

When we don't ever have setbacks or fail at something we want to do, then we don't ever grow. We need to fail sometimes. 

  • It strengthens our resolve... or breaks it entirely, so we build it anew. 
  • It toughens our skin... even though it can sometimes take a few tries.
  • It teaches us to see details... and sometimes the big picture.

Appreciate your setbacks and failures. Value them. And then milk them for everything they're worth.

Decision fatigue

When you have too many options to choose from, your brain goes haywire. It doesn't matter how complete your pro/con list or how precise your statistics are. We are not logical beings, and there will always be some degree of emotion attached to every thought we ever have.

This is a good thing.

This keeps us human and allows us to live soulful lives.

But it can also be a pain in the ass when it comes to things like deciding what to wear in the morning. This is the #1 reason I promote living a Minimalist life. It reduces decision fatigue a lot. 

And really, wouldn't it be nice to stop having to clean so much, or go through 12 outfits before work every day?

See also:

Information overload

Similar to decision fatigue, but more often to do with the fast-pace of our modern lives. It's your Facebook and Twitter feeds, your "Pin Now, Read Later" pins, your To-Read bookmarks, and all the tabs you have open related to a single topic you're trying to learn more about.

When it comes to research, sometimes we really do need to go wide before we go deep, but learning when and how to narrow down our focus is the key to staying on track and not getting bogged down in irrelevant details. 

Resource: How to Google Efficiently When You're Trying to Learn Something New (coming Dec. 13)

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Comparing yourself to others

You know you shouldn't do this, and yet, sometimes it still happens. I know. It happens to, literally, everyone. Even the really confident people. But the more you do it, the more you'll feel those twinges of low self-esteem, of questioning whether your confidence is true or not.

I can't force you to stop comparing yourself to other people, but I can offer you this:

By setting your path to someone else's, you are more likely to fail. In fact, you WILL fail.

Because what you see on the outside of someone else's success is not the full story. In their heads are all of the insights you can't grasp, the failures you haven't learned from, the intuition you don't have the years of experience to form, and the understanding of what it means to succeed the way they do—because you can't read their mind.

You have your own path. Walk it, and let other people walk theirs.

Indecision on what direction to take

Questioning your decisions isn't a bad thing. It's a trait that we humans developed to keep ourselves safe and alive. If we never second-guessed running down a ravine like a wildebeest, our species would've died out well before the holocene.

But now, we have more on our plate than "Should I chase that leopard into its den?" and "Are all red berries poisonous?"

Now we have decisions like, "Will wearing red make me seem powerful, romantic, daring, or sexually frustrated? Maybe I should just wear blue? Or will that make me seem boring and sad?"

And this feeds into the rest of our lives, too. We aren't sure whether we should invest money in our small business, or if it's a waste of time. We aren't sure if we should look for another job, or ride this one out because we can do it easily now. We aren't sure if we should start Grey's Anatomy, or if there are too many seasons to catch up on at this point.

When you constantly second-guess yourself, you are inviting chaos into your Spirit. Trust your instincts. You've honed them for a reason.

And yes, sometimes, your instincts will give you a gut feeling without knowing the full story, and sometimes, that will lead to failure.

But most of the time, it'll be the right choice.

Thinking your passion isn't worth it

I know I harp on this, but it's why I'm here. And it's important.

Without something you're passionate about, you can't expect much from your life. Pick something you love. Be confident in your decision. And do it.

Your Spirit will thank you.

See also: How (and why) to build your life on a soulful foundation

What do you do to keep the chaos out of your spirit?