Did you see the Wall Street Journal piece about conquering fear by accepting that it exists? Melinda Beck’s article explored how to overcome anxieties through mindfulness, the cultivated ability to be present in the moment. Acknowledging emotions — “I’m terrified that this plane will plummet to the ground” — and physical feelings — “My hands are clenched and my mouth is dry” — turns out to be an effective way to combat them.
As Katherine Muller, associate director for the Center for Integrative Psychotherapy in Allentown, Pa., told The Journal, “The idea is, ‘These feelings are going to come. What are you going to do about them?’ You don’t have to react to them at all. Just allowing them to exist takes away their power.”
That’s worthwhile to remember when you feel queasy staring down a cluttered cabinet or overwhelming schedule. Recognize and acknowledge feeling overwhelmed and hopeless, if that’s how you’re responding. Then talk to yourself with compassion. Instead of muttering, “I’m a slob and my life is a mess,” try this: “Finding an organizing system that works for me is a real challenge, and I feel anxious just thinking about it.”
That empathy can open the door to allow you to consider alternatives, the article says. You might ask a friend to help you clean out your closet or buy an organizing book. You might outsource the task to your partner or an organizer.
Being in touch with how you feel sounds very California-y, to be sure. My yoga instructors often refer to mindfulness, particularly when they’re guiding the class through a challenging or painful pose. Nancy, who teaches my favorite class, once heard me groaning and saw me shifting during the pigeon pose. She walked over to my mat for a closer look. “I’m uncomfortable,” I whispered.
She grinned and said calmly, “Yoga is about getting comfortable with the uncomfortable.”
I think she’s onto something, not just about yoga but about life.