Everyday, in the smallest of ways, we give power to our fears. Here’s my example:
Every morning, as I lay in bed, from the moment consciousness comes back to me, anxiety creeps into my mind. It starts crawling onto my skin like little ants, into my pores, and spreads through my nerves. (Not a pretty picture, right? Well… that’s exactly what it feels like.)
I feel anxious because I want to work on sharpening the focus of my blog. But then, there’s music I have to cut for this week’s dance class. Oh, and wait! I need to check the farm budget to make sure we’re on track to make our annual payment. “What’s for supper?” races through my mind at 8 am. 8 in the morning!! “Oh, my gosh… I forgot I have a doctor’s appointment today at 2 pm…” And I’m going to be at the studio until 7:30… And it’s only 8 am…. “Can I just go back to bed?”
Writing that down, it sounds a bit crazy. In fact, its an eye-opener that I’m actually tripping over my own fear and wasting time and energy I could use to enjoy life!
What are your fears? What do you stress about everyday? What fears rob time and energy from your life?
I read a book called Never Give Up: You’re Stronger Than You Think by John Mason. Each chapter is a “nugget” of knowledge and inspiration, so I read a chapter daily as part of my morning Bible study and coffee date with myself. In his 10th “nugget,” which he dubbed “Fear Isn’t Reality,” Mr. Mason identifies how we freely give fear and worry the power to control our lives.
That morning, I read Mr. Mason’s 10th nugget while Rachel Hollis’ words lingered in my brain. Then, it hit me. I HAVE the POWER to keep fear and worry from controlling my life and giving me anxiety!
The statement seems so simple, but as I thought about it, the action seemed SOOOOOO hard. How do I just STOP my mind from worrying about things? How do I stop considering the outcome of a particular action or group of actions? How do I know something I have planned is going to turn out the way I planned it?
Short answer: I don’t.
What I’ve found I can do is make small, pro-active choices that allow me to breath easier and give fear less power:
- Developing a realistic home or business budget
- Being mindful in moments where I can enjoy the little things
- Not trying to do everything and making myself feel guilty when I can’t.
Then, when those fears creep in my mind, I can squash them. “Actually, Fear, I don’t have to worry about having enough money this month because I spend responsibly and my budget is on track. In fact, at the rate things are going, I might actually have a little money left over.”
Enter Mrs. Hollis’ words: “Know this one great truth: YOU are in control of your own life.” Meaning, I am in control of my worry. Meaning, I can make mindful decisions now to set myself up for future success.
I know I only have $100 extra in my budget each month for personal expenses. Therefore, when ThredUp sends me a promotional email right after a shopping trip with the girls, I know I’m setting myself up for stress by spending anymore money.
I know I’m not someone who thrives on chaos and a slammed busy schedule. Therefore, if I set up next week’s schedule with no downtime, I know I’m going to be drained, unhappy, and depressed by next Friday.
I know spending all day at my desk makes my knees hurt, which then causes me stress when I dance. (And dancing is my happy place!) So what am I going to do? Plan to get up every couple of hours to walk, wash some laundry, organize a drawer, etc. (Plus, that helps get little, “unimportant” projects done, too!)
I KNOW I can’t get everything done at one time, so I’m going to give myself a break, tell guilt to go the hell on, and enjoy what I’m doing in… this… moment. Everything else can wait.
Take power away from fear/stress/worry by setting yourself up for success. Make the mindful effort to tell fear/stress/worry to take a hike.
Furthermore, if something continually stresses you out, then one of two things must be done:
- Figure out a realistic solution, or
- Cut that stressor out of your life completely.
And there is nothing wrong with removing things from your life to sharpen your focus and make you happier!
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