By Mary Megna
How does fear find a home in our consciousness? This is a question that is rarely contemplated in a timely manner. Before we even realize an unwelcome invader has entered our mental and emotional space, the darkness is upon us. Our awareness of its presence has been provoked only by its closest companions; worry, anxiety, anger and depression. Overcoming such a heavy weaponized foe then becomes a Herculean task that many feel unprepared to fight.
At this point, asking how it arrived might seem beside the point. The burning question now becomes how to be free of it. To answer that, however, we will need to go back to understand how we displayed the welcome mat for fear.
Emotions are linked to thoughts and internal messages. What we choose to think and tell ourselves directly relates to our emotional state. Contrary to popular belief, our thoughts are not an uncontrollable water shed sprung by incidents and accidents outside of our control. What has happened throughout the day may provide fodder for the topics of thought but do not need to command total absorption. It is our choice to dwell and immerse our thinking patterns in one particular direction or another.
We must ask ourselves when issues arise, whether we are cheerleaders and motivational speakers or naysayers and criticizers. At any given moment, do we hear from that voice in our head the words “good job” and “well done” or is it “loser” and “failure” that are more common? Like attracts like. Positivity springs forth peacefulness and hope, while negativity creates and welcomes fear.
In order to move away from unwanted emotions like anxiety and depression, we must cultivate the soil of our mind for new and healthy thoughts. Take inventory of the self-statements and labels that often come to mind. Recognize and discard those that are self-defeating and unproductive. Interrupt and challenge unproven worrisome assumptions about the future and guilt ridden sins from the past. Our best strategy for dispelling the darkness of fear and all its cronies is to live in the now and train our minds to stay in the space of loving kindness towards ourselves and others.