3 Ways to Mindfully be with Fear

Greetings fellow mindful travelers!
 Happy March!

Reading the news and feeling into the consciousness of our planet right now, it seems a lot of people are struggling with fear.

Whether it is politics, a certain virus, or just your endless to-do list, there always seems to be something to worry about it 😉

And I’m feeling it too.  But not without a mindful perspective to look through.  So here are 3 things that have helped me, and the people I support to be with their fear in a mindful way.

1. Get to Know your Fear (with Compassion)

When fear shows up, one of the most common gut responses is to look away and try to make the feeling go away.  This is understandable, but in the long run, not particularly helpful.

Instead, with compassion, we can start to look at our fear and get to know it a little better.

-Where in your body do you feel it?

-What does it look like?

-Draw out a picture of your fear and give it a name

-If the fear could talk, what would it say?

-What does the fear need to feel safe?

-Can we hold our fear in compassion?

If we continue to avoid our fear, it will continue to run our lives. 

If we get to know it better and treat it with compassion, it will no longer control our life.

2. Embrace the Unknown

So much of anxiety comes down to not wanting to face uncertainty.  We worry because we think our minds can problem-solve the future and prevent something bad from happening.

Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t.  The problem is, as good as we are at predicting the future, we really don’t know what tomorrow brings.

And while that is unfortunate, it ultimately brings us back to the present moment, which is all we really have anyway.

So it can be quite helpful to accept that we don’t know what is going to happen and that we have a lot less control than we may like.

And on the flip side, doesn’t this make life amazing!?  If you know the ending to a movie, doesn’t it ruin it?

Enjoy the adventure of your life and the fact that you don’t know what will happen next 🙂

3. Accept that Nothing Lasts Forever (including your life)

OK, probably not what you were expecting!

But for those that like certainty, here it is!

We are all, at some point, going to pass away.  That’s one of the only things we can be completely certain of.

So given that your life will end at some point (and you don’t know exactly when), how do you want to spend your limited time here on this earth?

-What really matters to you in life?

-What makes your life worth living?

-What kind of person do you want to be in the world?

These questions point us to what we do have control over – whether we choose to live by our values, or not.

That is where, not matter how much fear we are experiencing, we still have choice.

If we start living our life for something greater than fear, what happens to our fear?

I hope this has been a helpful exploration of mindfully relating to fear.

Remember, we are all in it together, and compassion toward ourselves and each other goes a long way 🙂

Until next time,

Ellis Edmunds, Psy.D.

P.S. I have two upcoming groups in Oakland – one focused on mindful dating, and the other, mindfulness for anxiety:

*Mindful Dating Support Group – Starts April 2nd!  Contact me to join.

*Free Intro Class: Mindfulness for Stress and Anxiety Group (click to register) – April 23rd in Oakland.