Fear of moving forward is something many of us face. Feeling stuck in a rut and fearing the change necessary to create a positive shift can be daunting. Even when we succeed in making transformational shifts, we can experience a sort of paralysis when it comes to sustaining these shifts or further improving upon them.
The mind is drawn to what it is habituated—good or bad. It loves to recycle thoughts and craves the status quo. So, a felt sense of unease around the unknown that accompanies change and the future is common because it is the antithesis of what the mind craves. This is common even when the change is positive and the future looks bright. Sometimes, positive change doesn’t feel positive because it is so foreign to what we are used to experiencing.
TIPS FOR FACING FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN
Know this: You are not alone in these feelings of discomfort. Taking action is a surefire way to get on track to create or sustain transformation.
But what if you aren’t sure which action to take? It doesn’t matter! Even if you take the wrong action, it eventually leads you to the right one. And the action doesn’t have to be monumental or even seem like it corresponds directly to where you want to implement change. What is important is that when you take action, you change patterns of thinking that allow you to jump the track from negative to positive thoughts. If you’re not sure what action to take, turn to a yoga practice in the meantime.
Practice yoga—get upside down!
Going upside down literally helps you see things from a different perspective, inviting new thoughts that inspire you to get out of a rut. Explore postures like downward facing dog, standing forward bend, headstand, or handstand. These inversions also activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is calming. And being calm cultivates clarity.
After you practice yoga postures, sit still, close your eyes, focus on deep, slow diaphragmatic breathing, and check in with yourself. Ask yourself why you are afraid. Leaving people and situations behind that didn’t serve you, wondering if you will succeed at your goals, concerns that others are judging you, and uncertainty around meeting the expectations of others are some of the fears that can gnaw at us. Acknowledge all those fears as you sit quietly and give yourself permission to let go of them. Really. Let. Go. Of. Them.
Yogic Breathing Techniques
Yogic breathing is an important tool for shifting patterns of thinking. When we practice these techniques, we create new mental patterns.
The Happiness Retreat at the Art of Living Retreat Center teaches patterned breath work, meditation and positive mindset.
Daily Routine and Familiarity
Maintain a connection to your daily routine and activities in your life that are comforting, such as watching a feel-good movie you’ve already seen, keeping up with family traditions that bring back happy memories, and listening to music you like. Because you already know that these things make you feel good, they can provide emotional comfort for you during times of uncertainty when you are working on making changes.
Take Back Control
Letting go of suffering can feel scary because it was a part of us. It can feel like a death of sorts; that part of us is gone. Acknowledge what you are giving up by reminding yourself that the old habits and beliefs created suffering and that it why you are letting them go. Fear of change can make us feel like we are not in control.
Navigate through this period by seeking ways to learn more about your areas of uncertainty—read books, talk to like-minded people with whom you can discuss your concerns, watch videos, listen to podcasts.
Setting your intention and remaining present will help you avoid the overwhelm that can come with thinking too far into the future. Prepare your action steps and address them one at a time.
You cannot control the way others perceive you. You can only control your own thoughts and actions. What other people think of you is of no concern.
Enjoy each bit of progress along the way, not just the ultimate achievement or end goal. Pay attention—listen to yourself and trust your inner guidance—you know the answers.