We live in a society where security and stability are rewarded, where plans are churned out and diaries get filled.
But we are not going to ever be able to free ourselves from the unknown. It is about learning to navigate the unknown without losing ourselves totally in the process.
When we remember that we are not able to control the future, whatever lengths we try to, sometimes that alone can bring some peace…
Twelve ideas to help you feel safe….
It can be very hard to take on the logical head-based stuff when we are in fight or flight. When we are in that place of fear, that place where survival is the priority (even if it’s a modern-day situation as opposed to an actual life and death situation) our brain isn’t worried about the difference. It is doing its bit to protect us.
Fear is created by our mind to protect us from feeling things in the same way again. To protect us from our pain. To keep us safe. It recognises that we have been through something in the past and wants to ensure we don’t go through it again. It creates a story reel of fears, concerns, beliefs that we often hear chugging away. We want to reassure our mind, that yes, this may be painful, uncomfortable, but we have more awareness now, more understanding, different tools and we want to work through it.
There is a Buddhist saying that saying “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” Fear can not be avoided, but when faced, we can learn to navigate our way through it and it can release its hold.
1. Remove the bandage – So often the story reel of thoughts cause feelings that are painful for us, and so we reach for our phone to scroll, pour a drink, smoke, work harder, give too much to too many. We do what we can to numb, avoid or resist what is going on. If we are courageous enough to accept the situation as it is right now and feel what we are feeling, we are often able to navigate through it more compassionately.
2. Be present – When you are in a situation and you can feel the fear rising, ask yourself ‘Am I safe right now?’ We want to help the brain realise that yes the fight and flight has been triggered, but right now in this very situation, we are safe. It may feel incredibly uncomfortable, but we are safe. Acceptance of where we are at can help bring us back to the present, as opposed to worrying, catastrophising, projecting and more.
3. Release the pain – What ways are you able to release the pain, the stuck energy and emotions that may be inside of you? I often do it through journaling, crying and movement. Other ways can be through exercise, drumming, singing, laughing, breathwork. I highly recommend finding your way to release on a regular basis, as well as the ways that work for you in the moment.
4. Be kind to yourself – How would you talk to a young child that was afraid or anxious? How can you talk to yourself in the same way, give yourself some compassion.
5. Small steps – What are some tiny steps towards your goals that are achievable that can help you feel a sense of accomplishment, get a dopamine hit? These would send messages back to the brain that it’s safe, I am in control.
When we do start moving forward and take responsibility for where we are at, we collect more evidence for our true self, evidence of what we are capable of. This will cause the gremlins to start losing their grip. They will shout louder. They will encourage you back to your shell, encourage you to retreat, withdraw. Know that they are shouting louder because they realise change is happening, and they are more than concerned!
6. Practice gratitude – Thinking of three things you are grateful for every day can help us spot the good stuff, can help our mind to focus on other things around us, rather than focusing on or ruminating on the negative which it is wired to do, again, to keep us safe.
7. Don’t believe everything – It is recommended to be mindful of the news and other influences we are taking on at this time; but also our thoughts! Being mindful of what they are coming up with, a lot of the time the unhelpful thoughts are beliefs, they are not true. Good to put some distance – between you and them.
8. Self care – That’s right! This one gets a mention at every opportunity! Absolutely vital one. Uncertain times require energy, compassion, patience, courage, all much easier to practice when our tanks are full. It’s also another way of our mind being able to see that we can make healthy choices at this time.
9. Morning intentions – Give the mind something to work with – how am I goig to look after myself today? What can I do to get my goal moving forward a little further? Who can I connect with today? How do I want to show up today? How will I have fun today? Give your mind the opportunity to roll with some of the good stuff for a change!
10. Don’t forget to breathe – What breathing pattern works for you? I find the simple one of box breathing – breathe in for four, hold for four, exhale for four and hold for four – works really well for me. Find one that works for you and bring that in to the mix even when you are not feeling heightened, so you can start to get use to using it.
11. Finding purpose – What about a random act of kindness for someone? How can we help, do our bit? We can not stay in a place of fear and carry out such an act at the same time. Love wins.
12. Sharing the load – Who can you share this journey with? It can be easier to navigate a pathway through fear and uncertainty if we are in touch with people who can lift us up, bring that light and reassurance in to the mix.
Who could you connect with today, sure share where you are at but also remembering that there are other topics of conversation too, so wholesome when we can get on to some of them! We are here too! Contact the Retreat, or a similar organisation about support groups or one-on-one listening ears. At times when our heart feels heavy and our nerves feel raw, sharing the load can make all the difference.
Our Life Coach Liz compiled these ideas, as it is a conversation many of us are having at the moment. Please share with anyone that you feel would benefit from a read.