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Fear: Why We Can’t “Just Be”

Fear: Why We Can’t “Just Be”

    We are busier than ever. Technology is leading us down the road of being able to be busy wherever we go and at any time. It’s a constant stream of information that comes in, is processed in some way, and then goes out. We tell ourselves that we have to “make something of ourselves” and that we must always be creating to keep our edge. Yet, we have to consume information to “be-in-the-know” to keep that same edge.

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    It’s tough to “just be” anymore. Why can’t we stop for moment and see things for the actual way that they are? Why do we have to keep ourselves busy, obsessed, and “passionate” all of the time?

    Fear of what is real

    For many people the thought of stopping to feel anything that is real in their lives is a distant afterthought to all of the projects and actions that they have forced upon themselves (or been forced upon by others). I know that this is the case for myself. I’d most times much rather check things off a list that I can make endless for myself than stopping, getting out of work mode, and see my surroundings for what they really are. If I stop to take a look at what things truly are, then I may have to make a change in my life and change is hard.

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    The thing that we forget to realize is that this “stopping and being” is just another part of staying productive. If we don’t face the fear of seeing things for the way that they truly are because of the perceived pain of change, then we could be setting ourselves up to take on projects, actions, and even goals that don’t mean a damn to us.

    Fear of the uncertain

    Fear is a strong motivator, but it tends to be in the opposite way that we would like. Fear of uncertainty is another reason we have a difficult time stopping and being. I’m always freaked out that I won’t have enough money to take care of me and my loved ones. This uncertainty of the future motivates me to do things that are possibly not the greatest for me, like take and keep jobs that promise me decent money but don’t give me personal satisfaction in return, or take on side work that I know will help pay for things, but could leave me little time for anything else.

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    We don’t completely know what tomorrow will bring. Or even a minute from now. But that is a constant. We can plan for that uncertainty and face it.

    What to do about it

    The tips below are practical and possibly obvious, but that’s a good thing. The fact is that they work, but only if you work them. Most people won’t work them – they will scan over them and continue on. If you are experiencing the fear mentioned above, don’t scan these and move on. Try them out.

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    1. Plan times to stop and be for a moment every day, multiple times a day. You don’t have to be Buddha, here. Simply stop for a moment outside of your email, phone, notifications, and anything else that keeps you busy. Stop and breath deep through your stomach. You can think whatever you want to think, just try to come back to your deep breaths.
    2. Plan times to write every day. You don’t have to be a poet or autobiographer, here. Simply get out pen and paper or your trusty plain-text editor and write your ass off. You can write about anything that you like. You may find some of these fears mentioned above start to come out. It’s a good think to notice them as it’s the only way to face them.
    3. Plan times to be with your friends and family every day. You don’t have to be the Partridge family or everyone’s BFF, here. Simply hang out with the people you love and remember why you love them. Also, remind yourself why they love you. We tend to think a lot about ourselves and not enough about others that are important.
    4. Plan time to plan for a moment every day. You don’t have to be a professional project manager or Mr. Allen, here. Simply take a look at your workload that is front of you (helps when you have that already defined!) and make decisions on what can stay, what can be gotten rid of, and what you should really be working on next. This step is much, much easier and closer to what you want and need to do when it is followed by the above three steps.

    Conclusion

    Stopping the rat race of your productive life can be tough. Especially since it feels that you never have enough time or energy to get everything done. The thing is that you may not need to get it all done. The only way to find this out is to face your fears of what is real and your uncertainty of the future by stopping and being everyday. Only then can you make the decision of what work you should keep in your life.

    (Photo credit: Crying woman via Shutterstock)

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    CM Smith

    A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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    Last Updated on December 9, 2019

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

    Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

    Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

    1. Get Rationally Optimistic

    Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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    This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

    In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

    The result: no more mental stress.

    2. Unplug

    Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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    How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

    It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

    Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

    3. Easy on the Caffeine

    Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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    Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

    4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

    That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

    How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

    • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
    • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
    • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

    While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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    5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

    This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

    The result: mental stress will be gone!

    So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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