Are you afraid of life? That is an extreme question, but it is real. With context the question would read, are you afraid of the potential of experiencing terrible things in life? Now that is real.
Bad things are always happening to people. Facts. Bad things like a cancer diagnosis, car accidents, identity theft, heart disease, drug addictions, fires, and natural disasters happen every day. This list could go on and on, but that would defeat the purpose of this article.
So, on the count of three let’s say it together, “STOP!”
Yes, that’s right. Yell it! STOP! STOP! STOP!
Now, take a deep breath and focus.
It’s time to discuss why we are yelling stop and to whom or what.
We are yelling stop to the incessant stream of bad news and negative information coming from wherever or whomever. It’s time to unplug from bad news.
It’s funny, there are about 330 million people living in these United States of America. Every morning when we open our eyes, we all move about our day living, working, loving, and moving forward to do it again. However, when we sit down for a cup of coffee, a check-in with social media, a newspaper, the television, or maybe even our own thoughts, the focus is death, drama, and destruction.
Why is that? What good does that do for anyone? All day long we interact with living and loving people, even if they are rude, but the news and the media and our thoughts rarely zone in on this fact. Instead, we make ourselves accessible to an overwhelming stream of bad news. It never shuts off.
No wonder, we are always anxious, fearful, and worried. How often do we reflect on and communicate the good news in our lives. Contrary to our minds, that are influenced by external forces, there is lots of good news.
Do you know the likelihood of an American dying is less than one percent? Yes, 99 percent of Americans live to see the following year. The Center for Disease Control reports that roughly 2.5 million Americans die each year. This is not to lessen the degree of significance in regards to those lives, but we must put things into proper perspective. We live in the wealthiest nation in the world, and we have a 99% chance of continuing to do so each year. What are we afraid of? Why are we so obsessed with being anxious, fearful, and worried?
According to The Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18 percent of the population. But why, and what can we do about it?
Why are we always anticipating the worst when we are surrounded by the best? Yes, bad things happen sometimes. However most of us, Americans, are living, working, eating, and loving human beings more days than not.
If we are anxious, this means that we are anticipating the future based on what we know of today or yesterday. But who can predict the future? Why not just enjoy what we have today instead of stressing about tomorrow?
Here are the most common methods used to combat fear stress, anxiety, and worry according to The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation:
- Maintaining an optimistic but realistic outlook
- Facing fear (ability to confront one’s fears)
- Reliance upon own inner, moral compass
- Turning to religious or spiritual practices
- Seeking and accepting social support
- Imitation of sturdy role models
- Staying physically fit
- Staying mentally sharp
- Cognitive and emotional flexibility (finding a way to accept that which cannot be changed)
- Looking for meaning and opportunity in the midst of adversity
Conclusion: Yell “STOP” to negative information and thinking.
Instead, take care of yourself by training your mind to think positively.
This will definitely be hard at first. It is always hard to go against societal norms and/or break habits, but practicing positivity is proven to decrease our stress levels and increase our happiness.
Moms, what are your tips for handling fear and stress?
Clarissa Joan is a spiritual life coach and editor-in-chief of The Clarissa Joan Experience. She resides in Philadelphia with her husband, their two girls, and a yorkie named Ace. Clarissa is also an expert in impact investing.