How do you respond in the face of uncertainty? What emotions come up for you when life doesn't seem to be going your way? For many of us, these things can send us into a tailspin of emotions like fear, anxiety, worry, disappointment, and frustration. These emotions are natural but they often become overwhelming and negative when we don't know how to work with them. Sure, sometimes emotions like fear can be clear alarms to slow down and proceed cautiously. However, most of the time there is so much more going on and available to us if we know how to take advantage of the opportunity.
One of the challenges we run into is believing that our feelings are facts. When we do this, we create stories about what those facts mean and most of the times these stories are what limit us or keep us stuck. We create a story about something that happened to us when we were nine years old that produced a feeling of shame and that associated shame continues to live within us even at fifty. No one ever taught us to be curious, ask questions, inquire within, and let go.
Emotions like fear, anxiety, disappointment, and frustration can be wonderful teachers if we understand their purpose. For example, fear can be an alarm that we are nearing the edge of our comfort zone. It can inform us of the places within ourselves that we are disconnected from love. It can motivate us to go within, connect with our hearts and get clear on what we really want so we can take the appropriate steps forward. Often times fear is mistaken for excitement, both contain nervous underlying energy. The way we interpret an emotion can have a huge impact. Imagine choosing to look at fear as an opportunity to reconnect to yourself and step out beyond your comfort zone with a sense of excitement.
Anxiety can show us where we are not listening to ourselves, disappointment can show us where we are not being honest with ourselves or clearly communicating our needs. Frustration can show us where we may be stuck in patterns of control or where we are going against the flow or resisting what is in our lives. There is a richness that is available when we begin to learn how to relate with ourselves and our emotions with a growth mindset. Most of us were not taught these skills and so it takes practice and often the support of others to begin retraining the way we respond to difficult emotions.
One of the greatest tools that can support us in this process of retraining our response to emotions is meditation. Meditation uses the breath to help bring your awareness inside. As we are able to anchor ourselves within our body in the present moment we begin to create spaciousness. This spaciousness helps to break our habitual reactions and open up our perspective. Instead of having triggers sweep us away in negative emotional patterns we begin to create space between the trigger and the reaction. We begin to see things more clearly.
It takes practice and it takes consistency but it doesn't require that you sit in a full lotus and meditate for two hours a day. Start with 5 minutes a day and work your way up to 20 minutes. Let's use the uncertainty of these times to inspire us to create habits that support us in positive growth. If you have always wanted to start a meditation practice there is no greater opportunity than now. I would love to support you in any way I can!