Thursday, December 10, 2015

HOW TO WIN OVER THE FEAR OF THE  FUTURE 

Fear which is part of our emotional makeup is invariably felt at several stages of our lives. And without doubt we are definitely going to be in situations where we face an external or internal stimulus that activates this fear. Being an introvert, an extremist, a pessimist and a perfectionist, I have experienced this fear more than usual.

Below are a few practical steps I’ve used to tackle my fear, I assure you that if you mindfully follow them you will also find that peace you deserve.

PART 1 OF 3
(ACKNOWLEDGE THE FEAR)

  • 1.  Understand the fear: As the German-Born American Physicist — Albert Einstein said “if I were given an hour in which to do a problem upon which my life depended, I would spend 40 minutes studying it, 15 minutes reviewing it and 5 minutes solving it.”

  • 2.  It’s only in your head: Technically, most of the fears an introvert experiences is a result of the negative interpretation of events which he/she repeatedly play in his/her mind. As part of my temperament disposition I am always reflecting on negative stimulus, which of course stirs a negative response. Towards life’s events. Hence, it is crucial to understand that most of the fear we feel will probably not come to pass; they only exist in your thoughts.

PART 2 OF 3
(TACKLING THE FEAR OF FUTURE)

  • 1.  Do mindful meditation: This is easier said than done but it’s possible if you apply a little commitment and focus. Mindful meditation helps bring you to consciousness because most of the things we fear aren’t as real as we imagine them. As a melancholy I fantasize practically over everything I observe and my negative emotions dominate my subconscious thoughts, which in effect magnify the fear. Thus a mindful meditation will bring this emotion to consciousness which now allow you apply reason.

  • 2.  Talk to a friend: You know that popular saying “a problem shared is a problem half solved” that’s kind of like how this is. Find a close friend, a priest or a counselor who probably has more experience that you do, who can advise you and hold you accountable.

  • 3.  Set realistic goals: it’s okay to have big dreams, daring goals, ambitions and aspirations, but setting goals beyond our limits and capabilities is totally unrealistic and the result is heartbreak. And this certainly is enough reason to make you want to quit. In his book “how to conquer frustration”William Knaus outlined a formula (SWLO) for setting realistic goals.
·         S — STRENGTH
·         W — WEAKNESSES
·         L — LIMITATIONS
·         O — OPPORTUNITIES
Practicing this formula would give you a head start on how to set achievable goals.

  • 4.  Focus on the things you can control: So naturally we’re all born with the instinct to control — we want to be in control of every situation. This, my friend, is something you need to put in check. Focus on the situation you can control; such as, gaining knowledge, losing weight, developing a better sleep habit, a more positive emotional response, and focus less on circumstances beyond your control which could be other people’s perspective/reaction, how the suns rises and sets, etc. Be cognizant of the fact that tomorrow is only the output of today’s input. Ever heard of the butterfly effect? This is a theory that explains how related a result is from the initial action. Put simply, the butterfly effect is a system that is sensitive to initial conditions ~ CHAOS by James Gleick. What this means is that the results we get tomorrow is dependent on the actions/decisions we make today.

  • 5.  Be flexible: In physical science there’s what we call elasticity. Imagine a elastic band, now if you stretch that object ever so slightly it expands, facing tension, but when released it goes back to its initial form. That’s exactly what you should train your mind to be — flexible. Don’t let circumstances stretch you till breaking point.

  • 6.  Act: Now that you’ve understood the problem, you should act upon it. Because the problem won’t wake up to bring the changes you desire.

  • 7.  Be thankful: Seldom will you find and introvert with a thankful attitude. Because we embrace and magnify negative emotions — we are less conscious of the wonderful things we own, the amazing abilities we possess, the awesome relationships we’re in; we forget the good things we have when things go wrong, thereby magnifying negativity which then results to depression. When you learn how to be thankful you become content with yourself and the world around you.

PART 3 OF 3
(THE LONG-TERM REWARD)

  • 1.  Healthy/positive thought pattern: Like the butterfly effect proposed, everything you do today has a long-term future effect, so if you mindfully practice these simple steps you can reward yourself with a healthy thought pattern.

  • 2.  Emotional stability: Imagine how beautiful life would be when you finally can have peace of mind, when you don’t have to worry about what tomorrow brings because you’ve learned to respond positively.

  • 3.  You gain resilience: Remember the elastic band principle? That’s what you’ll become. You will possess a mind that bounces off from setback, a mind that regenerates. You no longer would perceive life to be a pressure cooker; instead you see it as a means to become better.

Lastly, be aware that we’re all different; we all have issues to attend to. Don’t expect your life to turn out to be like someone else’s, be proud of who you are and always find opportunity to improve and find happiness.

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