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Worry and fear are two nasty minded energy vampires. But for these energy-sucking negative bullies, a silver bullet isn’t going to do the trick. We need something far more powerful.
We need the power of a mind that is in the moment. When our minds are so busy worrying about things in the past or fearing things in the future there is no space for enjoying the now.
This is not worrying or fear that you will be eaten by a lion in your sleep or that you don’t know what is lurking in that dark corner.
This is worry and fear of planning, achieving, solving, and fixing, socialising, keeping healthy and so many other everyday things which dominate our lives, thoughts and being. The worry that we are not enough or doing enough. The fear that I could be better at something, or look better, be fitter.
And our bodies don’t know the difference between the two. The chemical reaction that takes place to cope with fear is the same whether being chased by a lion or your thoughts of inadequacy.
Scheduling is a good thing but worrying about getting it all done is not.T he anxiety that I am not doing all the healthy things I can do is not going to make me healthier. Worry is wasted energy.
What can we do?
1. Take Time to Notice Your Thoughts
Be mindful, notice your thoughts. It’s easy to get swept up in the momentum of fear, so build an awareness of how it shows up for you.
For example, perhaps you have a task you are putting off because you are not sure how to start it or you know it is going to take a while to complete. So, you start making up stories in your head as to why it doesn’t need to be done now.
Building imaginary scenarios in your head, good or bad, is a classic sign of not being present and mindful. Notice what you are doing stop and consider why you are avoiding the task. Break the task down if it is too big. The best thing to do is to start. Do the smallest easiest thing that you can do to get the task started.
2. Create Calm And Space
When I take the time to connect to my body or my breath, I can create, spaciousness around the worry.
Breathing is my favourite way to create space and calm. It is free, easy and you can do it anywhere. A quick meditation can also do wonders.
Breathe in deep through the nose for a slow count of 4 and exhale for seven. Do these 3 times.
Feel the space and ease.
If there’s planning that needs to be done, we can get back to it after a few deep breaths, it only takes seconds and our planning will be the better for it.
It takes practice to pause and connect.
While the mind can pull us into the past or future, the body is only ever in the present. Hence why we use the breath or body.
3. Develop Insight Into The Worry And Fear
When I’ve analysed my worries about not being enough I realised they are rooted in the past.
Being more mindful about the present and finding joy in the things you do, as you do them is so much less stressful than worrying that you won’t look as good as this person or do it as well as that person.
Worrying about needing to do so many things won’t get them done quicker. Why not slow down and create joy and less negativity along the way?
What has made us do it the hard way for so long? Maybe that is the only way we know. It is familiar and comfortable.
Stopping and making space will improve our productivity. It seems counter-intuitive, but it works.
Ironically, stress and worry are the very reason we find it difficult to break the cycle.
Stopping, breathing, stepping away and meditation is difficult for an anxious mind which feels the urge to just keep going.
The cure to doing more may be doing less.