How to Shift From Fear to Focus
With the gyrations of the stock market, apocalyptic visions of health, and an uncertain future, many of us are feeling either a low grade ‘back of the mind’ anxiety, or more full blown fear to the point that its hard to concentrate or make decisions. I noticed myself totally distracted with checking my news outlets every 10 minutes.
There have been moments I’ve gone down the rabbit hole of fear. What if I lose my business? What if my parents get sick? What if we run out of food supplies? What if the world as we know it no longer exists?
Here are 3 questions I ask myself to pull myself up from the downward spiral of anxiety. Hope they help you shift from Fear to Focus.
I ask myself:
1. What are the mental movies I’m playing that are setting me up to feel this way?
Even though I haven’t seen the movie Contagion, I’ve already ‘seen’ that movie playing for a fleeting moment in my own mind. Not to mention the scenarios of all the money being sucked out of the economy, having all business come to a grinding halt, and no one is working. At that point, I realize it’s time to use the remote control to change the channel!
Then I can ‘remember who I am’ and ‘what I’m here for’. I can reconnect with the abundance in the world. I look out at the water view outside my window. I look out at the trees in the natural world, continuing to grow unphased by the human scenario. I appreciate all the people I am in constant connection with and feel their prayers and love. Then the world feels full of possibilities again, and I can get back to problem-solving.
2. What part of my body can help me access a positive and focused state?
When I notice that I am spinning with negative movies inside my head, I seek ways to get out of my head. The best remedies are going for a run/exercise (or a walk in nature), or put on a song that reflects the mood I want to be in and do a dance break (Yes, why not do a dance break with all the people you are sheltered in with!)
If you find that your thoughts are racing and it’s hard to concentrate, you may simply need to get back to a state of calm. The fastest and simplest way to do that is through your breath.
The exhale part of your breath is the part that gives you the most relaxing effect. Any time you breathe OUT for a longer count than when you breathe IN, you will start to experience more calm. There are many variations on this theme, but an easy one to remember is to breathe in through your nose for 4 counts, breathe out for 8 counts – within 2-3 minutes you should start to feel a greater sense of calm.
If it is frustration you need to release, you may to do something that helps you “let it out.” ‘ My go to is the punching bag. After a few minutes of taking it out on the bag, I can think clearly and have more sense of possibility for the future. If you don’t have access to equipment right now, try doing the “karate chop”. Place your hands, palms facing each other, in front of your torso. Vigorously move your arms up and down as if you are doing a karate chop. If you do this as vigorously as you can for 1-2 minutes, you’ll dissolve a lot of the pent up negative energy. (Those of you who have been in my Resilience trainings may remember this, its one of the things I hear you practice the most 😉
3. How might this be happening FOR me, not TO me
We may not be taking this situation personally, it does feel like these changes are happening “to us” (and at too rapid a pace). When I think that there is nothing I can do to prevent this tsunami of events from occurring, I feel helpless. Even if I do everything possible to protect myself and my loved ones, will I be able to keep them from getting sick, or losing their jobs, or even from losing my business? Then I’m in a mental swirl of fear.
So, I’ve been asking myself the question: How might this be happening FOR me, not TO me. What relationships will this give you more bandwidth to develop (including with yourself?) What skills can you develop that will set you up for your next level? What realizations will this force you to have that you’ve been hiding under the rug?
This question empowers me, and I hope it enables you to see how to turn crisis into opportunity as well.
I now have talked to a lot of people who are bonding with spouses or family members in ways they hadn’t had the time for (or had been unconsciously avoiding through long hours at work). Others are using this collective restriction to ‘catch their breath’ and learn new skills or pay attention to projects long dropped due to lack of time.
Personally, it’s requiring me to take what I’ve been doing mostly offline and bring it online for many more people, and take this video-friendly but social media shy gal to grow into sharing herself and her strategies daily! I’ve needed that ‘kick in the butt’ for a while, and I am turning this crisis into an opportunity.
So, journal about or share with your family tonight your answer to the question: How might this be happening FOR you, not TO you?