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Abating Fear

Fear has shaped my life since childhood.  I have vivid memories of my grandmother holding my hand tightly when strangers passed on the sidewalk, and even recall a great grandmother hiding in a closet during a thunderstorm.  I remember having a difficult time sleeping in my own room and being home alone at night, even as teenager.  Once I turned forty, I became more aware of how my fears and anxiety were taking a toll on my life, and I began to take steps to manage these emotions.  Despite continued struggles with anxiety, today I practice healthier ways to cope with this everyday companion.  In the past, my main source of coping involved extensive strategies to protect my family and myself from harm.  I created elaborate backup plans for everything I imagined might happen.  This was not only time consuming, but also emotionally exhausting.  Today I know that what helps me most is simply to observe the fears--neither pushing them away nor holding on to them tightly. Of course I still find myself getting caught up with worries many times each day.  But the moment I recognize them as thoughts rather than reality, I am able to relax again.  I gain confidence in my ability to handle life's challenges.  This makes it easier for me to let go of the drive to protect and plan for adversity.

My own personal fears about aging revolve primarily around the disease and disabilities of my family members and patients.  These particular concerns have motivated me to maintain healthy lifestyle behaviors and proactively monitor my health.  What are your greatest fears about aging?  Are any of them laughable when you really stop and evaluate them rationally?  How do you cope with your fears, anxieties, and worries?  I look forward to hearing your stories and know that our "Age Well Be Well community" will benefit from those who are willing to share.  


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Reader Comments (1)

Thank you so much Paula for showing us our humanness and how to handle it. I love when you say that we can become aware of that fearful patterns or thoughts and then gently chose something more relaxing and opening in the moment. THANK YOU! About my fears of aging..... looking at this inquiry the idea of being a burden to my family because I cannot move or function is something that I saw and learned from my grandma and my mom taking care of her..... when I deepen in this exploration I can see that we all do what we can and that at the end we all have our lessons to make love the priority of our lives.... so thank you for inspiring me to let go of that "worry" and stay fully present in the gratitude I feel for my body and life. Knowing the Creative Questions I chose to think..... why am I a gift for my family? :)

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDoctor Monica

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