Emotional Chaos: When the World Crumbles Around You

May 1, 2019
Emotional chaos is something that can happen to anyone, but it's up to you to face it bravely. Make a change go from agony to harmony in your life. 

You might have gone through some tough times in your life in which everything felt like a burden and you lacked inner peace. It’s hard to get out of the darkness when you don’t know what you’re feeling or how to handle it. These are the moments when emotional chaos rules your life.

Your world crumbles around you and you don’t know what to do. You scream “Enough!”, but you’re confused, things become unpredictable, and you can’t help but think about your past mistakes. So, you just sink in your chaotic mind.

It looks as if there were only shadows in your life, only frustration and distress. However, there is a way of handling emotional chaos.

Let’s talk about what to do when you’re in a situation like this, how to identify it, and the benefits of being aware of it.

“I find hope in the darkest of days and focus in the brightest. I don not judge the universe.” 

-Dalai Lama XIV-

What does emotional chaos look like?

It’s a state in which you feel miserable and emotionally confused. Most of the times you may associate it with suffering, especially when you don’t know what to do when problems arise. But emotional chaos doesn’t stop there: it can also be a state in which you’re unable to handle your positive emotions.

Basically, it happens when you don’t really know what you’re feeling. You may experience different emotions without knowing what they are and you can’t put them into words. Not  knowing how to handle it all is also part of the emotional chaos, even if you’re able to analyze your emotions.

In other words, in times of emotional chaos, there’s a contradiction between the emotional and the rational world, which leads you to lose control and often act impulsively.

a stressed woman experiencing emotional chaos

Characteristics

Emotional chaos usually entails:

  • Turmoil- You lose control over your emotions, you start feeling things you didn’t think you could feel and you behave impulsively as a result.
  • Confusion- Since you’re lacking clarity, you don’t know what decisions to make, so you postpone them.
  • Fear- You’re afraid of making mistakes because you feel insecure.
  • Regret- You may be feeling guilty and restless.
  • Projection- Blaming others or emotions themselves for the bad things that happen. You see them as external, when in reality, it’s all part of you.

Emotional chaos can be associated to emotional blockage, which is a way to protect yourself in order to survive a certain situation.

At the beginning, it can feel safe to protect yourself like this, but when you let your thoughts stay in your subconscious without processing them, you’re likely to end up not knowing how to handle your emotions. In the future, when you no longer need to protect yourself, these emotions can resurface and invade your mind.

Of course, emotional chaos can also be associated with new experiences; situations so new and unknown, that it’s harder to make decisions.

Dealing with emotional chaos in a positive way

First, you must know that in the middle of chaos, it’s very hard to make a decision and fix what’s damaged. However, it’s possible to handle it in a positive way, for example:

  • Through self-knowledge- Connecting with your inner self is the best way to know what you feel, why you’re having a certain reaction to a situation, and knowing which path to choose.
  • Give yourself time- Sometimes you might want to escape from it so bad that all you do is set it aside for later, so you end up accumulating feelings that make the issue bigger. It’s better if you just admit that it can happen to anyone and take a moment to let it all pass.
  • Don’t prolong emotional chaos- Although it’s important to let your emotions flow, it’s also important not to do it forever. Don’t let them stay in your system. Keep moving forward and set boundaries for your emotional chaos.

The outside world

You may think that it’s all happening because of external factors. Take a moment to think about it and instead of isolating yourself from the world, try getting help from others. Keep in mind the following:

  • Not everything is someone else’s fault. If it’s your chaos than it has to do with you. Stop blaming external factors for something you have to work on.
  • Know where to express your chaos. Although it’s important that you get it all out, you must know when’s the right time to do so. Not doing it in the right time and place can make the situation worse. It’s healthier to look for someone you can talk to.
  • Ask for help. It’s normal to look for support. Talk to your closest friends or to a professional if you need it. Psychologists are great at guiding people in tough times.
  • Unlearn some things. If you or your family have certain beliefs that you follow blindly, and this puts you under stress, maybe it’s time to set them aside. It’s healthier if you identify which beliefs are contributing to your happiness and which lead you to frustration. Learn from those beliefs, and unlearn the unnecessary ones to avoid falling into emotional chaos.

Exercising can also help you a lot. It promotes the release of  different hormones and neurotransmitters that give you a sensation of well-being. Another aspect that can make things easier for you, is to focus on a hobby in your free time. Art, for instance, can turn your angst into something valuable.

woman running and exercising

Benefits of being aware of an emotional chaos

Focusing on your emotional chaos will make you more assertive. Some of the benefits of doing this are:

  • Tension release
  • Seeing the value of each emotion
  • Letting go of what hurts you
  • Living in the here and now
  • Knowing your limits
  • Knowing what your defense mechanisms are
  • Transforming your angst in creativity
  • Emotional freedom
  • Improved ability to make decisions
  • Self-actualization

Keep in mind that this is a gradual progress. You can’t expect to get control over your thoughts overnight, and that you won’t ever have another emotional chaos in your life. As every human, you’ll have ups and downs; what matters is learning from each one of them.

So, break free from that dark overwhelming place where there’s turmoil, fear, confusion, guilt, and angst. Believe that it’s possible to stop seeing your emotions as something external. Dance with the shadows, know them, invite to get out at the right time, learn from them, and turn them into well-being.

  • Solá, D. (2016). Del caos emocional a la paz interior: cómo lograr una sanación integral. Tyndale House Publishers.