It came out of nowhere, this rapidly beating heart and sense of anxiety and dread. I begin to scurry about, hurriedly turning things over, flipping things around. It has only been a few seconds, how could I have possibly lost them this fast? I retrace my steps, one time, two times, three…
This isn’t like me at all. Normally organized, meticulous and constantly working through a plan, I do not typically misplace things. I have systems for this, rhythms, rules.
I stop to realize that all my plans account for nothing if I have overwhelmed myself with work and tasks. My memory bank is not keeping up with my pace and now it has lent me to this mistake. I sigh, I turn and then I spy them. The bright orange wrist band peeking out from the corner of a shelf. I walk over and tug gently and out pops my ring of keys from their resting place. I whisper a prayer of relief and thanksgiving, a follow-up to the prayer I prayed while frantically searching. Truly, my heart is grateful.
It’s not that keys cannot be replaced, its the process of having to complete it since they belong to work. We have to replace the locks to the entire building, those above me have to be notified, all others who work in roles under me have to obtain a replacement, the fire department has to be called to replace the one in the lock box…the list goes on and on.
This sense of fear and dread stems from another past failure. Of misplacing something of critical importance at work that ultimately cost me my job. I wasn’t being careless or even non-committed, I had just simply taken my eyes off my responsibility for a moment and a moment is all it takes some times for things to fail. No one was personally affected by my error, but it was of importance to the company and they required me to be responsible. No hard feelings, but walking away from a failure like that leaves one totally susceptible to those fears taking over at the slightest hint of pressure in the future. My greatest personal failure is now my greatest stressor and I have to push that anxiety down over and over again since that time.
Fear has a funny way of taking it’s toll on our mind and body. As WebMD states, fear can cause our body’s sympathetic nervous system to release stress hormones like cortisol. This can cause physical reactions such as fast heartbeat, fatigue, headaches, inability to concentrate, irritability, dizziness, dry mouth, nausea, muscle tension, sweating and more. If experienced long-term, these symptoms can lead to more serious issues like stress on the heart, digestive disorders, suppression of the immune system and premature coronary artery disease.
How can we overcome the effects of fear, especially if we have experienced a traumatic life-event or significant loss? For some the pain from the experience continues long after the event, such as the loss of a loved one or someone who has experienced physical or emotional harm. Time can distance us from the event, but our memory replays like a loop in our minds, our heart feels the weight, our body realizes the effect of the stress.
For some, it is a great idea to seek therapy and speak with a professional. Counselors do much more than just listen, they are an advocate for your cause. They can direct you to the best resources to give you support.
You can also make space in your day and apply yourself to quiet times of meditation, relaxation and prayer. According to WebMD, meditation helps balance the body’s systems. The relaxation response your body receives from mindful meditation helps lower blood pressure, improves heart rate, breathing and brain waves. It can also help increase one’s attention, learning, conscious perception, working memory.
The Bible has over a dozen different verses encouraging meditation and almost ten times that amount which speak about prayer. Psalm, chapter 1 describes a person who walks in good counsel and meditates on the Lord and states that person will be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, one that is fruitful and prospers.
Meditation and mindfulness can also be a designated quiet time where you remove yourself from the demands of the day and take time to relax, breathe slowly and let your mind slow down. Even if just for a few moments, you will benefit from a pause in your daily routine. Let’s get practicing!
Rachel Asks: Take 3 minutes and devote yourself to quiet time. Set a timer on your watch or phone. Practice breathing at an even pace, close your eyes and remove distractions. Engage in prayer, if you desire. Ultimately, be calm and allow yourself to relax. Add a minute each time until you reach your desired amount. You can practice this several times per day! Check out the site below for recommendations on apps you can download to assist you in this new process.
Disclaimer: Author and LiveLoveDeep do not endorse any of the resources listed above. They are merely provided for your convenience. Please speak with a licensed and trained healthcare professional and/or counselor for your personal needs.