“Don’t fight fearful thoughts.
Just match each one with an alternative thought
that brings you more peace.”
We all have fearful thoughts. What if I lose my job? Is that spot on my arm cancerous? If I die, what will happen to my family? What will I do if my loved one leaves? Those questions and so many more fill our waking hours and nag us in our dreams.
Martha Beck says to match each fearful thought with one that brings peace. That sounds too easy to be useful. Even so, let’s think about what she says and see how it works by going through our questions one at a time.
What if I lose my job?
I have a job today and my family is fed. Deep breath. Relax your face, jaw and neck muscles.
Is that spot on my arm cancerous?
I’ll call the dermatologist for an appointment. She’ll analyze it and offer a solution. Skin cancer is not fatal unless neglected and I’m taking action. Deep breath. Relax your shoulders, arms and hands.
The bank called and they want to talk to me. Yikes! What’s up? Checking account empty?
Perhaps they just want to sell me a Certificate of Deposit. Deep breath. Relax your torso.
What if my loved one leaves?
I’ll feel sad but I won’t die. Deep breath. Relax your lower extremities.
Now we are relaxed head to toe and can think clearly.
This seems like a rather simplistic look at life, but I it works. I’ve had, and still occasionally have, my brain and body in knots over both small and large events. However, once I decide to jump off the panic merry-go-round, take a few deep breaths and look at my situation with open eyes, I see small actions I can take. By making one decision then another I soon find myself in a new, better situation.
Mike Dooley said the same thing with different words:
“When a thing hurts your eyes, stop looking at it.
When it hurts your ears, stop listening to it.
And when it hurts your heart, stop justifying it.”
© by Sharon D. Dillon, February 15, 2015
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Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists, author of one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by booksyoucantrust.com. Available in print and e-format at Amazon.com