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A 2-minute trick to calm mental chaos

Posted in the following categories: Life Lessons, Personal Development

I’ve been in Portugal for the past week to keynote an Accenture event.

A few days ago, we had dinner at a bustling restaurant, where we were seated at the “chef’s table.”

This unique vantage point placed us right in the heart of the kitchen.

As we enjoyed dinner, we were immersed in a storm of activity—cooks furiously preparing dishes, servers zipping in and out with orders, and the constant hum of organized chaos.

Some cooks were light-hearted, cracking jokes, while others exuded tension, their frustration palpable.

At times, I found myself being sucked into the chaos and absorbing the frantic energy around me. When I noticed that, I’d bring myself back—to the position of the observer enjoying the food in front of me.

As I took in the scene, I had an epiphany: My mind often works like this kitchen.

It’s a whirlwind of thoughts darting around like hurried cooks—some pleasant (“I love that I’m writing this blog post on a beach in Portugal”) and others not so much (“What if people don’t like this post?” or “Is it weird that I just waved back at a stranger who was actually waving at their dog?”).

Underneath all that frenzy is a calm, knowing self that’s quietly observing it all—much like we were at the chef’s table, watching the culinary chaos unfold.

If you can get in touch with that inner observer, you can navigate the chaos of your mind with far more ease and power.

How do you find this center during mental chaos?

Here’s a practice that works for me, and it only takes about 2 minutes. No need for cross-legged sitting or meditation chairs.

First, I step away from the chaos, even if it’s just a few feet away.

This is crucial—you must physically move.

When stress or overwhelm strikes, most people stay put, merely switching tasks. For example, they move from an anxiety-inducing Zoom meeting immediately to answering emails.

But you can’t observe the storm if you’re inside of the storm. Physical movement to a different spot gives you much-needed energetic separation.

Once I’ve moved, I close my eyes and take several deep breaths. With each inhale and exhale, I try to let go of the immediate turmoil.

Then, I ask myself: What do I really think? What’s true for me?

This exercise is my way of channeling my inner Neo, observing the 0s and 1s of my mental matrix. It’s a brief but powerful shift from reaction to action, connecting me to my essence and my source of strength.

I realize, for example, that the email that upset me isn’t worth my energy. I realize that I don’t need to get pulled into the chaos of someone else’s life. I realize that not every deadline is as urgent as it might seem.

It’s like finding the calm eye in the storm—the chef’s table in a frantic kitchen—where clarity and deliberate action become possible.

This practice isn’t about ignoring the chaos or slapping on a fake smile while pretending everything is just peachy (“I’m a radiant being of love and joy . . . on my fourth cup of coffee.”).

It’s about acknowledging the chaos and then intentionally stepping outside of it, even if just for a minute.

So next time you find yourself in a mental mayhem, remember the chef’s table.

Step away, breathe, and reconnect with your inner observer.

In that space, you don’t just survive the whirlwind—you dance with it.

And just like at the chef’s table, you get to relish every bite and every beat.

P.S. If you need help finding that calm center in your own mental chaos, my incredible wife Kathy is here to help. She’s now offering personalized coaching sessions with a special focus on personal transformation.

Kathy has a gift for turning mental mayhem into manageable and meaningful steps towards your aligned self. (She’s helped me navigate my own chaos countless times!).

👉 Find out more and schedule a session with her here.

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