There are many times in one’s life where it seems utterly impossible to feel good and peaceful in the storms that dust up and seem to overwhelm us.
On a very personal note, I am having one such occasion now. It involves a great period of uncertainty and it is very scary. I find myself waking up in the middle of the night with a pounding heart, getting teary eyed over trivial matters and loosing my patience with the kids. None of us are immune from such events happening and it really feels as if my feelings and emotions have gone into autopilot and I have no control over them whatsoever. It brings back memories of how I felt during our trying to conceive time period like it was yesterday.
And on top of that, I really do believe that negativity breeds more negatively, so I am really starting to stress that all these emotions are going to make things worse for me – or make it so that what I am fearing is going to come to fruition. So, that is breeding more negativity inside. Yup, a really fun and heart-pounding old fashion roller coaster – the old rickety, wooden kind that shakes and rattles through every turn, convincing you it is going to collapse in utter chaos any second. You know what I am talking about right?
So, now I scream (at myself): STOP! STOP! STOP. Stop this whining, stop this fear, stop insanity.
And I begin to work through it, begin to analyze it and here is how I reclaimed my feelings of control, peace and optimism. My suggestions are easy to understand, a bit challenging to implement, but I promise you that even in the face of utter uncertainty and dust clouds that overtake you, you will start to regain control over yourself, over your feelings and over your future:
1. Acknowledge and Define Your Fear. Exactly what is it that is causing you to panic? Is the unknowing? Is it the chance or odds of not succeeding? I would suggest taking the time to write it down and really get it right. Get to the heart of the matter and let yourself be heard. Facing your fear is not easy, but it is instrumental to the process. It’s like an alcoholic first admitting they have a problem.
2. Identify the Worse Case Scenario. Ask yourself how your life will be if what you are fearing comes to fruition? Coming to grips with how your life would turn out – in the worse case scenario – can be very liberating. Really take the time to see what it would be like, the conversations you would have, imaging how you would live, and – in the end – everything actually being OK. This is not the same as “acceptance” – you aren’t giving up – rather, you taking the fear out of the unknown and by doing so you can let it go, and start to return to focus on the life you do want in a positive fashion. It’s a very powerful way to surrender to “what is.”
3. Expression of Gratitude. I believe that expressing gratitude is the fast track way to feeling better. Did you know that Einstein practiced this almost like a mantra? He estimated he said thank you about 100 times a day – either out loud or too himself – to people or circumstances in his life (or even before) that allowed him to accomplish his daily tasks. I like to say thank you for all the things that I have in my life that make my life special. It makes me feel so blessed, and there is a prayerful quality about it, expressing gratitude opens up your heart like a flower, allowing you to accept all the good that life has to offer.
4. Share With A Loved One. For me, this is one of the hardest things to do and it usually is my husband that I open up to. But sometimes it’s enlightening to talk with a close friends or family member as a change of pace. My husband is extremely supportive, but sometimes a little too “tough-loved” if you know what I mean. Talking with a girlfriend or sister opens up another part of me to be able to process what I am going through.
5. Meditate, Breathe, Focus on the Present Moment. Of course you know I would say this! And of course listening to our programs – but that’s just a shameless plug. Seriously…spending 10 minutes a day in a quiet spot, and paying full attention to your breathing, your thoughts and space about you – or as Jon Kabat Zinn says, “the bloom of each moment.” You could do a mantra over and over again – and maybe it’s just saying “thank you.” Trying to focus on your breathing will hopefully quiet your thoughts, but don’t try to stop them – I don’t think that is possible and could elicit stress from a process that is supposed to be relaxing. Focusing on your breathing and your thoughts in a mindful way will open up a limitless wealth of peace inside that can become your guiding light.
I would also love to hear your thoughts on how feel better, how to feel more in control… share with us by posting a comment below.
With love and gratitude,