3 Simple Steps for Thriving Through Fear, Shock or Overwhelm



Do you have it when you need it? Have you found yourself stuck, depleted, panicked or terrified when you’ve needed to be brave sometime in the last few months?

Pandemic angst has affected most of us; in addition, we’re all trying to navigate through the shifting political climate and racial injustice. On top of that, most of us are still attempting to manage our own personal challenges and moods. We struggle with anxiety, mild depression, control and relationship issues. Our routines have changed, and we frequently don’t know what to do.

Oftentimes, we either hope that when an unwelcome situation arrives, we’ll suddenly tap into our ability to find the daring we need, or that we’ll be able to avoid the conflict we feel by deflecting or muscling through. Some of us have a pattern of reverting to overwhelm, and we freeze up. When any difficult situation or crisis arrives at our door, it’s normal to feel shock, fear, and pain. But instead of launching into immediate action, or falling back into the armchair of an old habit, remember:   

You are a human being, not a human doing.

~Kurt Vonnegut

Knowing what to do will become clear, if we allow ourselves three things:

1) Breathe

Breathe consciously, coming Into the Now. You’re a human being who breathes, and your breath is a free ticket into the solution you want.

Conscious breathing is the doorway into almost everything you want. Reflect upon this. When you need to give a speech, calm your crying child, or comfort your devastated friend, being spazzy or hyperactive is not helpful! Calm strength is. When we can breathe into something, the pain lessens. Try it now, for 15 seconds. Take an inbreath, with mindful awareness; now breathe it out, noticing the air moving through your nostrils and lungs. Repeat two more times. You’re already living more awake, accessing the strength you desire. You can control this one thing: your breath. Conscious breathing is the first dose of conscious bravery and gives us a sense of control when the world around us seems like a dust storm. Open up your heart and your body; breathe with self-care. Openness is the mother of adaptability and resilience.

2) Feel your emotions

Be human. Vulnerably, authentically. Without a story, without “shoulds” (ie. “I should have X! I shouldn’t have Y!”) None of that. Accept your feelings, and experience them, for one to three minutes. They will shift, trust me. If you stuff them or overdramatize, though, they’ll likely stay, and you’ll probably feel worse. This step is all about experiencing your pure feelings on a cellular level, with the innocence of a child. Allowing your emotions brings warmth, it’s a form of kindness. Accepting your feelings is like wrapping a soft blanket of self-care around your pain. Fall apart for a minute if you need to. Cry. Fall to the ground. But breathe consciously and feel.

3) Allow what is

Who wants to accept a new trauma or devastation? No one! Our reptilian brain urges us to fight it, flee from it, or curl up in a ball and feign death (hoping it doesn’t see us and goes away). But those things don’t actually work, and do not make you braver. Instead, invite what has arrived into your life, this moment. You’re not asking it to stay for a month. With grace and surrender, try saying: “Huh. Now, there’s this.” Surrendering into what Is isn’t acquiescing. Surrendering into this moment is powerfully assertive. It is open, and receptive. The challenge or devastation is here. You cannot ship it elsewhere as if it’s an Amazon Prime package. It came without your permission; but you can offer your acceptance. Being human means be-ing, right here, right now, with this unwanted new guest. Say hello to what has arrived in your life. Allowing is the first step in learning the adaptability dance.

Don’t relax into dangerous tranquility, hoping that now, today, finally things will stay the same.

Secret: Making friends with change is powerful magic.

There will not be a new normal. Change will occur every day. So, try saying this mantra to yourself at least once a day: Now, there’s this. Instead of hoping that things will finally settle down soon, befriend change. It’s gutsy grace to make friends with change while allowing what has arrived. Weaving these concepts into your life daily, in this new Now, is a foundation of conscious bravery.

In my next blog, Conscious Bravery Part Two, I’ll tell you about how finding meaning via your Golden inner being enhances your conscious bravery

For now: Breathe, Feel and Allow. See what happens. Notice how you are engaging in bravery training and strengthening your bravery muscles. You will do the righter thing if you try these 3 steps first. They don’t take a long time, only a couple of minutes! Remember: you’re a human being, a lovely strong human being who can BE with what is.