Mindful Monday: Dealing with Fears

We all get afraid. Fear is just part of the human experience. And fear can feel pretty awful! During these days of COVID19, fear has gripped so many in our world. Caring Connection will be posting more about this in the days ahead, but this day as we greet Monday and begin this week, let’s mindfully slow this emotion of fear down, look a bit at fear, breathe and get on with our day. So here are some thoughts for this Monday!

To begin with, We HATE the feelings of fear. For all of us, trying to get away from these fear feelings can lead us down some pretty destructive paths: we can drink too much, smoke, work, act out by doing destructive things, or stuff the feelings until we feel like we’re going to implode or explode!

When we’re living with cancer, it is a pretty normal and common experience to have feelings of fear. Let’s face it, we’re dealing with some pretty scary stuff! Just like in other times in our lives, though, we have to figure out how to manage these feelings so we don’t get paralyzed into maladaptive behavior patterns or just stay stuck.

One cancer survivor says, “I try to stay positive and be thankful for each day. My favorite quote is: Fate whispers to the warrior, ‘You cannot withstand the storm.’ And the warrior whispers back, ‘I am the Storm!’

There are many ways to deal with our own fears. Here are two options you could choose in using mindfulness:

  • Focus on positivity or use a mantra such as the person above does, is one way.

Get quiet, comfortable. Be still and pay attention to your breathing. Breathe in slowly with a count of 5, now exhale with a count of five. Keep repeating this for about a minute. As you breathe in repeat a mantra such as “breathing in”. As you breathe out repeat a mantra such as “breathing out”. OR try ” breathing in what I need”; “breathing out what I don’t”. Do this for 1-2 minutes….or longer as this feels more natural. Experiment with a mantra that feels right for you. Some use words of their faith such as “Thank you, God”; “Thank you, God”. You will know what works best as you practice this meditation of breathing.

  • Another way is to simply be with your fear for a short time.

Allow yourself to sit with your fear for 2-3 minutes at a time. Breathe with it and say, “It’s okay. It feels lousy but emotions are like the ocean—the waves ebb and flow.” Just keep breathing in and out, allowing the fear to be with you. Image those waves flowing in and flowing out. Fear comes in. Fear goes out.

Then plan on doing something nurturing immediately after your breathing meditation period is completed: Call a good friend waiting to hear from you; immerse yourself in an activity you know is enjoyable and engrossing; while maintaining your social distance go outside and breathe in the fresh air, take a brief walk, or simply sit in the sunshine while being aware of nature’s sounds and beauty around you.

Fear is a part of us …. Not all of us. So allow it to be, but not take up residence.

Now take on your day!

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