Fear of The Future
Do you constantly have that “what if” voice ringing in your mind? What if I fail the job interview? What if I don’t get good grades to get into college? What if I will be alone forever? What if I lose everything that I love and care for? While we often think that we’re protecting ourselves by trying to predict the future, in reality, we’re signing ourselves up for something that’s much worse. Not only can this feeling be relentless and nagging, but it can also be extremely exhausting. This is especially true on the days when you think that things are slowly getting better, only for those fears to creep out of nowhere. Instead of keeping your life in order and actually preparing for future outcomes, this fear only serves to hold you, prisoner.
Having constant fear over what might happen in the future tends to only steal your peace and heighten the “drama” inside you to another level, so why is it that we do it?
To some extent, it’s okay to be fearful of the future as this is a very human condition and often hard-wired within us. In part, it is actually an adaptive trait if we’re thinking in terms of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, and the function it served them. The idea behind this is that throughout history, we have had two basic evolutionary tasks: to survive and to reproduce. Anxiety or fear of the future thus had an evolutionary advantage in that it allowed our ancestors to prepare for the dangers they might face, be it a predator, drought, or feeble food supply. Those who prepared for variable future outcomes tended to fare better and passed this tendency along to their offspring until it has transformed into the very fear of the future that you struggle with today.
To be clear, the advice is not to throw caution to the wind or to stop planning ahead. Rather, the goal is to find a healthy balance between preparing for the future and drowning in it. When your life is out of balance, you can lose all perspective and your sense of the present. The problem arises when you begin to allow your thoughts to whisper in that negativity, convincing yourself of the unavoidable disaster that is around the next corner. Consequently, you get so caught up in the unknown that you forget to enjoy what’s right in front of you like your health, your job, family, a great social life, and friends to match it. However, we can begin again to live an empowered life once we no longer let this biological hard-wiring effect the way that we move throughout our lives.
Fear can be thought of as the acronym “False Events Appearing Real,” and describes the idea that those feelings of ambiguity that come suddenly and create chaos are not realistic. Operating out of a place of fear does not produce rational thinking, instead, it contributes to misplaced and exaggerated emotionality that gives way to avoidance. You can deal with fear of the future only if once you get to know the cause of your concerns and learn to trust your own abilities to problem-solve and deal with whatever comes your way. One way to do this is by learning to be present in the moment and increase your awareness of your emotions and thoughts with meditation. Offer up a loving-kindness meditation for yourself:
“May I be filled with loving-kindness;
May I be well;
May I be peaceful and at ease,
May I be happy.”
Negative thoughts about the future create mental blocks that influence the way you live your life and left unaddressed, such feelings can cripple the ability to live your life to the fullest. Living an optimal life can only be achieved when you dig deep to find the courage to face your fears. Are you ready? Contact us today!