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Mindful : April 2016
Many things make us anxious or afraid. We have fears or concerns about cata- strophic loss and change, fears of our own death, of illness and being injured, of losing loved ones, losing our jobs or our home, and other major changes in life. There are smaller fears and anxieties: anxiety on a bad hair day or other embar- rassments about how we look; concerns that our three-year old isn’t potty trained, fear of walking into a meeting late with green stuff in our teeth! Fear can strike anywhere, any time, at any level. And if fear bombs aren’t enough, we also have General Anxiety. This exercise is about looking at your fears of the day, in the here and now. Set aside a period of time, from 10 minutes up to half an hour. Use half your time to notice your fears. Use the other half to contemplate and release them. It’s good to do this when you aren’t distracted by too many other demands. Taking a walk with your fear is a good option. 1 Notice what makes you anx- ious. A fire truck goes by with the siren on. Do you worry where the fire is and whether you’re affected? You walk by a house with a barking dog in the yard. Does this make you anxious? You walk by some- one you don’t know. Are you anxious about how the person is seeing you? When nothing outside makes you anxious, do you still feel general anxiety? A thought comes up of someone you know who is ver y ill. You think about your own health. Is there anxiety around that? Did the world news make you anxious or fearful? What are you most concerned about? TRY THIS Recognizing Fear What are you afraid of today? 2 Jot down some of the fears and anxieties you felt. If you don’t have paper and pencil, make a mental list. Then spend your remaining time contemplating the things that came up. Bring one of these feelings vividly to mind, let it be there, and then release your fear. Let it go. You can do this for each individual fear, for a few prominent or recurring fears, or for all of them at once. 3 Notice how you feel after doing this. Do you feel more in tune with yourself? Less anxious? More anxious? More aware? If this exercise is helpful, try to do it once a week.