I've always loved Halloween. I'm sure much of it comes from the fact that it felt like an extension of my birthday - the house was decorated and there was lots of sugar around. I enjoyed the thrill of horror movies as a kid and have come to think it's curious that we enjoy scaring ourselves, be it roller coasters, movies or haunted houses. After all, these days I'm doing my best to keep my fear under control!
Yet, as if sensing the fog machines leaving Home Depot, I got a giant dose of fear yesterday on what we Michiganders call Devil's Night. Fitting, I suppose. Long story short, I got some work-related news that triggered my financial fears in the biggest of ways and my "What if ..." thinking went completely bonkers - in a bad way. In a flash I was jobless, hopeless and panicking.
Come to think of it, it's been a scary month! Indie needed emergency surgery (she's doing OK) that triggered all my fears of loss big time! And actually my financial fears, too. Alone in a hotel room while away on business I went to all the dark places and had to talk myself off the ledge repeatedly. Turns out, what we can imagine in our heads is usually so much more frightening than the reality.
I'm WAY better at correcting the course of my off-the-rails fear thinking than I used to be. I now have tools to grab in order to make me more centered and sane. Here's what I did to course-correct:
I did an inventory of all I am thankful for. I did this over and over until I could do it without my fears and worries interrupting the list; I did it until I physically felt better, calmer.
I wrapped some Christmas gifts. No, I'm not trying to be an over-achiever, but giving when I think I can't afford to give feels good in my heart. Plus I was on a conference call so ... that.
I took the dogs for a walk.
Throughout the day I acknowledged when I was feeling - or acting - fearful and I let it happen for a moment. I then asked myself, "what's the worst thing that could happen?" (Oh, you expected me to shift my thinking? I wasn't ready to do that yet; I needed to let myself feel what I was feeling instead of paint it with platitues that weren't authentic). I realized I could handle "the worst," that it wouldn't kill anyone.
I ate comfort food. I curled up on the couch with my dogs.
I asked myself, "What part of this is mine to own, to do something about and what part isn't?" This is important when we feel like a problem comes to us because it turns out, we're not alone in the world. Sometimes the issue is about something besides us (what a concept!) so we only need to own our portion. I can only keep my side of the street clean - that's what I can do.
I meditated. Before I went to bed I thought about my problem then I gave it away. After all, the universe has always been way better at solutions than I have. I got still and I got some sleep.
This morning I worked out, did something physical to clear my head and move the energy around. In doing that not only did I work toward a goal, but I got to cross something off the list and feel productive and in control.
This is not an exhaustive list, of course! You will have other tried and true ways to get your mind right and I urge you to do what you know works.