Managing fear in difficult times
When we face challenging situations like the one created by this pandemic there are lots of things that we don’t have a choice about.
However, one thing that we do have a choice about is how to be in the face of it.
This situation is creating a unique opportunity for positive change. You may have noticed that your mind has already started to work differently.
Think about what you were worried about 4 weeks ago? What are you worried about now?
You might have noticed, as I and many people I talk to have, that you are feeling more connected to people despite the physical separation.
For many of us, there can also be a lot of fear. This is completely normal and also not necessarily a bad thing.
When we notice fear, we can either get lost in it, worrying, distracting, drinking, etc… Or, it can be an alarm bell that reminds us that we are not living in the present moment because fear is about the future. And learning to live in the present moment, where in fact all of our life experience happens, makes all the difference between suffering and wellbeing.
So, when we notice fear, we can try to bring our attention back into the now, perhaps listening to sounds or noticing something we can see, something we can touch. To this moment, where actually we realise that everything right now, is OK.
It can also remind us to switch our attention to the feeling of increased love and connection that is available to us, both with those close to us and also as a species as a whole going through this experience together.
If enough people can respond to this crisis from a place of loving presence rather than be lost in fear and reactivity, then we have an opportunity to create real change in this world. Even amongst the suffering, we have a chance to have the more compassionate world we have longed for.
The first step to make this switch is to pause. Once we pause we can then we can notice where our attention is and bring more conscious awareness to where we would like it to be. Perhaps bringing to mind that sense of connection and love towards others.
Mindfulness practice can help both to create the pause and also to become more skilled at noticing where our attention is and having more choice as to where to place it.
I can say that now, more than ever, my mindfulness practice has helped me hugely. A regular practice weaves the parachute so that when you need it, when the fear comes, it’s here to catch you.