How to Choose Peace in the Face of Fear
Worry is a feeling. Worry is a feeling that is created by a thought. There is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling any feeling. You can feel worried and that is 100% okay.
But sometimes we think that if we feel worried it will solve something. It won’t. Our brain thinks if we are suitably worried and feel anxiety about our current circumstances, that will be effective at preventing disaster. This of course is not the case.
I think this is one of the most fascinating things about our brain. Our brain is very averse to feeling negative emotion. It wants to avoid negative emotion in the future. In fact, that’s what it’s worried about….it’s worried that at some point in the future we could die or get hurt or the people we love could die or get hurt and then we would feel terrible. It is always trying to predict and avoid negative emotion in the future.
But worry will not change the future. It will not prevent any possible negative feelings in the future. Worry will not lessen those emotions if they arrive in the future. It will not soften the blow.
This is so important to understand. It means that of course you can feel worried now if you won't, but it won’t prevent any negative emotion or any "negative circumstance" from happening in the future.
Worry just lets you feel negative emotions now. So if you want to feel it, you can. But it isn’t necessary to avoid feeling it later.
Start by doing a body scan. Get out of your head and into your body. Notice what your feelings actually feel like.
Name the emotion you are feeling, and then ask, "Why are you here?"
If you can do this with curiosity, your brain will offer you all the thoughts that are creating this feeling in your body.
You can then look at the thoughts and decide if you want to keep thinking about them or if you want to question them and think something else.
Thinking about something else will allow you to feel something else.
Other Thoughts You Could Also Choose to Think
In the middle of the current chaos, it may seem necessary to think thoughts that create fear or worry or anxiety. But every thought we have is optional. Here are some other thoughts you could choose to think:
Whatever you are feeling right now, know that it is 100% okay. And whatever you are feeling, also know that it is 100% because of what you are thinking. You have options. You are not obligated to feel anything or keep feeling anything.
Decide how you want to feel and then think the thoughts that will create that feeling. Your agency to choose, even when the world is coming apart, is the greatest gift you’ve been given and the greatest power you have. It is the way to always have the experience you want no matter the circumstance.
Use these thoughts to help ease your worry and fear and empower you to decide how you want to think about what is happening in the world right now.