2020 has been an extraordinary year with all the ups and downs, like the most intense rollercoaster. So much of this year has kept us guessing, trying to figure out the unknown. Feelings of high stress and anxiety are a common response to riding this type of roller coaster.
But through it all, this is a time of great transformation and change. Human beings generally resist change. We prefer homeostasis, keeping our lives even and balanced. The upheaval of this year has pushed many people to change in ways they never imagined. Is it possible to transform the fear, anxiety and reluctance into curiosity and excitement about the possibilities coming our way?
Absolutely, but it takes courage to let go of the past and embrace the future. An analogy I like to help me understand the emotional process, is to imagine swinging from a trapeze. As you swing back and forth the other trapeze swings toward you. While you want to grab onto the bar, so you reach out and let go of your trapeze. Then for a moment you are hanging in mid-air hoping you don’t fall before your hands finally and safely grab the other trapeze. That moment in mid-air is where anxiety and fear spring into action. If you stop the forward motion you will fall. So that’s what we are all being called to move forward.
Some healthy ways to move forward are:
1. Feel the fear and do it anyway.
2. Breathe deeply and slowly which is a mindfulness practice.
3. Grieve that which you left behind.
4. Rejoice in what you have found on the other side.
5. Attitude of gratitude. Be grateful. Keep a gratitude journal.
6. Examine relationships to assess if the relationship feeds your spirit and lifts you up.
7. Ask yourself “What do I need today?” And listen to the answer, putting it into action. This is a question that isn’t asked enough.
8. Be curious with eyes that want to see.
I invite you to pick one of the items on the list and try it out today. Then I bet when you feel the fear and anxiety appear, you’ll be able to harness the emotion into excitement, just like when you ride rollercoaster.
Mary Ruth Cross, MS, MFT, NCC, RPT
CEO/Owner Treehouse Family Counseling Services, PC