My mind is playing tricks on me.
With everything going on right now, I started to think about FEAR. On the one hand we need emotions like fear in order to survive– I see a tiger next to me, I get scared, my adrenaline and cortisol levels rise and help me make a quick run for it or decide what to do next. Fear heightens your senses, awareness and keeps you alert so you can react as quickly and effectively as possible, kind of like a SUPER BOOST. It works great, infrequently and in small doses.
Unfortunately though, most of us struggle with FEAR that lingers continuously and that takes a serious toll on both your mind and body and can lead to a weakened immune system, downward spiral in thoughts and an overall sense of malaise that in some cases can be paralyzing. And because as humans we have what’s called a “negativity bias”, we have the
tendency to not only register and be more affected by negative events than positive ones, but we also dwell upon negative things more once they’ve actually happened. Add in a 24 hour media and social media cycle and you have the perfect FEAR storm up in the mix.
So what to do? An old AA quote comes to mind…
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
Life has taken me on so many journeys. Many left turns that I wasn’t expecting, that in the moment caused a lot of stress and anxiety but afterwards ended up being for the best. In retrospect, if I had known then what I know now about life, I probably could have skipped the initial stress and anxiety, trusted in the Universe and avoided that extra mind made drama. Because that’s another thing about the mind- the minute it targets in on something negative, it’s usually a downward spiral from there. Negative thoughts attract more negative thoughts. And all of the sudden your thinking about worst case scenarios that will in all likeliness not happen.
Once I learned this, it became a lot easier to catch myself in that downward spiral. Now I laugh and go, “None of these thoughts are serving you nor are they rooted in reality. Until this state of mind blows over, I will not acknowledge any of these thoughts as real.” And then I ignore myself until it passes (and watch some reality TV to take my mind off of it 😜)
We all have different levels of anxiety, past trauma and stress in our lives that make us react the way we do. If we can begin to understand that continual fear based thoughts are not really “us” and don’t really help a situation, it becomes easier to stop them. If you combine that, with trusting the Universe (which has infinite organizing power- just think about how intricate and amazing our bodies are and how perfectly nature functions!) then maybe, just maybe, it will help stop that continual downward spiral thinking.
Life is too short to live in fear. We can all go at any time, so even in times like these, if you can let go, let god and remain positive, everything will be A-OK.