Life is uncertain, that is a given. Rational thoughts might not always help to convince the emotional thoughts to stop worrying, so what to do?
What has worked for me years really well is to have some time for quiet contemplation, where I can become aware of my emotions. Recognizing that what is that emotion or feeling really about, is the first step of taking action.
After a busy work week, I’ve had thoughts and emotions more than enough for the weekend. Now was Sunday morning and my head was still full of feelings not all of which were pleasant. So I decided to dedicate time for contemplation right in the morning, which was a great decision. With about fifteen minutes I discover these feelings of fear, worry and anxiety, which were mostly without rational explanation. As I start to label the feelings, my mood does start to improve. As I recognized fear for example, I understood okay I am afraid and then I ask myself what is it I am afraid? By learning the answers and then answering them, I began to feel a lot better.
When living a busy life, where our conscious minds do not have time and attention for various thougths, our emotional mind takes over the task and as result quickly and effortlessly stores these as simple emotions which might not be the best descriptions the reality. That’s why the emotions later come to haunt us; it’s like a mailbox that has to be dealt with consciously and manually.
Have time for quiet contemplation and emotional awareness, so these emotions do not build up. Only way to have time is to dedicate even a five minutes day to practice.
Seeing the world as it is
My mind is by default quite pessimistic, itself is not negative feature at all. It gets negative when fear, worry or anxiety cross threshold, and start to influence other people in undesirable ways. I would not want to that to happen, that’s why I’ve been practicing meditation daily for almost eight years now.
Advantage of pessimistic mind is that it can be trained for realistic thinking, where we see have better sense of the reality. When I started my journey of personal growth on 2009, I recognized that earlier I had not necessarily made right perceptions: I often overestimated the probability what will happen and how often I will fail. I feared a lot of ordinary things, even things that affected my health and wellbeing. With the realization that my perception of the reality might be wrong, I began to experiment and take more risks. I took action despite of my fear and decided to see what will happen, I didn’t have much to lose anyway.
Thanks to putting myself in to those situations, I begun a little by little to develop more accurate sense of reality. I also understood that the failures are overestimation from my part (pessimistic mind does not like failures, because its’ very loss averse), however I started to change the meaning of failure from actual failure to learning. In other words I learned to bet the kind of loss that I was completely comfortable of losing. I think that we all need to live bigger and in order to do that we need to take chances in learning, i.e. take a risk that we can handle.
Where optimistic mind sees the chance for success despite the actual low odds, pessimistic minds highlights the high failure percentage. We can live and be successful with either setting, or then to use combination of these, whatever suits you best.
Personally I know that the pessimistic mind comes with the chance of depression and it is something I’ve gone through as well. To prevent that, we need to occasionally have more time to reflect, recheck what is happening on our emotional map and then revise the course accordingly.