|photo courtesy of Juan Julbe Creative Commons on Flickr.com|
I'm afraid (fear) that most of us spend a disproportionate amount of time fearing the worst. Catastrophes rarely happen, but often we tend to waste a lot energy worrying about things that will never come to be. I know that I can be extremely guilty of this. At times I have driven the people around me crazy with my doomsday -Chicken-Little reaction to unsettling events.
Studies show that we tend to overestimate the probability of something bad happening and we underestimate our ability to cope with the trials in life.
The real catastrophe is that we spend so much time and energy worrying about things that will most likely never happen. Studies show that we tend to overestimate the probability of something bad happening and we underestimate our ability to cope with the trials in life. The resulting stress wreaks havoc on our bodies and our minds.
Every moment of every day is uncertain. If it weren't, the universe would be stale. Outcomes would be fixed and life would be boring and meaningless. Every little decision and action that you take today includes risk and unknown outcome. Uncertainty is a fact, but fear is an emotion and you have the ability to act in spite of it. Remember that there is NO ONE ON EARTH that doesn't feel fear. Some people have just learned how to deal with it and so can you.
There are many ways to reduce our anxiety and counteract our mind's tendency to fear the worst. Below are a few of the simplest and most effective means.
1. Try and put realistic odds of your worst case scenario coming in to play. What are the chances that the sky is really going to fall today? In our modern world we don't generally have lions, tigers, or bears chasing us on a daily basis. Most of our fears are imagined or greatly exaggerated in our minds.
2. Think of the great challenges that others have been through and not only survived, but gone on to have very successful lives.
Albert Einstein didn't begin speaking until four years old. He was also a poor student in highschool.
Franklin Roosevelt was partially paralyzed at 39 and spent the rest of his life in a wheelchair.
Jim Carrey was homeless and lived in his car.
Bill Gates' first business failed and he dropped out of college.
3. Realize that your idea of how things need to be for you (and everything) to be okay is coming from your limited experience in the past. You have created a very narrow comfort zone and probably get very frightened and edgy when you even think of stepping outside of your comfort zone. Research shows that most people actually adapt very quickly and establish new "norms". The degree to which you can learn to accept and work with what the Universe brings your way is the degree to which your success and happiness will improve. Fighting reality is a losing game.
Get out of your "head", step back and see the big picture. Fear is an emotion and you can get over it!
Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living
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