It starts with one fearful thought, which leads to another, then another. Before you know it, you find yourself in a deep, dark hole of despair.
In these uncertain times of COVID-19 we are all being tested as our lives are being turned upside down. With so much uncertainty it is difficult to feel secure. The unknown generates fear. Our individual health and wellbeing as well as our communities and social structures are all under threat. All this confusion and chaos is creating an unsteady environment as we try desperately to prevent, predict or control what we don’t want to be experiencing.
Being overtaken by overthinking we find ourselves drowning in our negative feelings, suppressed beneath the heaviness of it all and falling deeper and deeper into the black hole.
1. LOOSEN THE GRIP OF FEAR
When we change how we think about our life and our circumstances we can profoundly shift our experience.
When we ACCEPT that we cannot control life and that we can only control ourselves we will immediately shift our experience into a more empowered perspective. Maybe you’re not able to change the things that are happening to you right now, but you can certainly change your response to them. We need to stop wasting energy attempting to control these outside events and channel our energy into simply controlling ourselves.
We need to be mindful of how we choose to meet the events and circumstances in our lives all the thoughts and feelings we have about them, followed by our reactions to them. If we don’t direct those thoughts and take control of our thinking then we will lose our way and be consumed by these experiences.
We create stress and tension by trying to bring certainty to life where there is none. Uncertainty is built into the fabric of life, it’s always been this way and it’s not going to change but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn to live with it. If we let go of trying to bend life our way and decide to follow its lead we may be very surprised as to where this can take us.
2. FOCUS ON TODAY
Things change constantly and it’s impossible to know for sure what tomorrow will bring all we can do is focus on today and bring our best self to meet it. By bringing the best of ourselves we empower ourselves to meet the demands of life in the most optimal way.
You are in charge of you. You always have been but sometimes we forget this. We need to focus on our own actions and direct them towards the outcomes we want. Don’t spend time focusing on what you don’t want. Don’t add to negative situations by fuelling them with more negativity.
Don’t jump to conclusions about how things are and how they should be. Remind yourself to be open and flexible. I often remind myself that everything is appropriate to its time and that whatever l am experiencing has purpose and meaning even if I can’t see it in that moment.
3. BE AWARE OF YOUR THOUGHTS
We need to be aware of the thoughts we choose. To be conscious of what thoughts we are thinking and where our thoughts are taking us. Perpetuating stories of doom and gloom is not going to help. Dwelling on fearful thoughts will only disempower you. What’s dangerous is that every time you engage with your fear, you make it stronger. Every time you think about it, worry about it and invest time in it. You give it more power.
Be proactive and decide to make the best out of where you find yourself. Look for the good, even in terrible situations the good is always present, admittedly you may have to look harder but I promise you will so glad you did.
Step into your power by reminding yourself that you will deal with whatever you need to, when you need too. Practice reassuring yourself, be kind and choose whatever feels good to say to yourself in the moment and use it in times of fear.
4. GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD
Fear directs our attention to the past or to the future. Without fear, we are able to live more easily in the present. The best way I know to get out of your head and into the present moment is by using the senses. When you place your attention on your physical senses, this enhances the connection to not only you but the world around you.
Did you know sound only happens in the present moment. Therefore, listening will automatically connect you to the now. You could tune in to the sounds inside or outside of the room you’re in. You could listen to sound of your own voice or the voice of someone else – hearing not just the words but also the tone. I know we are all walking a lot more these days, next time you’re out walking listen to the sound of your own footsteps. This is a powerful thing to do as it not only brings you into the present but also connects you to your own presence, your own wonderful being. I love doing this. Any of your senses will get you there, whether its sight, sound, smell, touch or taste – all of these will engage you by connecting you to your experience directly.
Throughout the day you could randomly choose a sense to become consciously aware of as this will bring you into the present. Hold your attention as long as you can, on whatever you have decided to connect with. Let your thoughts come and go, focusing on your sensory experience, rather than getting caught up in your mental chatter. When you feel yourself going down the pathway of fear divert your attention by using the power of your sensory awareness.
5. AN OPPORTUNITY IN DISGUISE
At first being in isolation was met with so much fear and resistance. For many people the restrictions and loss of freedom was a huge sacrifice. If we can connect to the positive aspects of this time we will find it to be an enormous opportunity for personal growth. Stepping back from the fast pace of our busy lifestyles even briefly will give us a chance to catch our breath. To slow down and reassess where we are and where we want to go. What’s important and what’s not.
When you look back on this time how do you want to remember it? As a punishment or as a self-defining moment that totally transformed your life.
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