how to channel joy when you're scared
Change is easily one of the things that cause us the most fear. We fear the unknown and the uncertain. We fear discomfort. When we're resisting change, we try to control every detail of our lives and what we can't control we worry about. How we handle change when it comes our way says a lot about what we're attached to and what we think we need in order be whole.
My family is going through a lot of change right now. Necessary, positive change. And still it's scary and the discomfort can be draining. Part of me wants to find a shortcut because that is what I always did in the past. Part of me wants to get in bed and be tired and sad all day long, because that is what I often did in the past. Part of me wants to put blinders on and pretend nothing is happening at all, because that feels familiar too. But instead, I'm waking up everyday with a plan, to be aware of what's happening and how I feel, while staying committed to channeling joy.
Have you ever been in a time in your life when you were nervous everyday? Maybe waiting for some type of test result? Or trying to find a new home in a limited amount of time? Looking for a job before the money runs out? Even if you are simply challenging yourself and chasing your dreams, you can build up a certain urgency around it that causes stress.
Here's a few ideas for channeling joy when you feel scared:
1. Create daily rituals that feed your soul. My non-negotiables are my daily walk, spiritual reading/writing and meditation. This is my morning routine. It's most important that I stick to it when I don't feel like it, when I think I'm too busy and when I'm discouraged or sad. These habits make me feel hopeful no matter what's going on.
2. Resist Temptation. It's so tempting to let the problem you are facing tell you scary stories and consume you. Your imagination can get lured into dark places and negative thoughts. It's like a trance, so alluring and familiar. When you feel this happening, do something proactive to align yourself with joy. I was feeling discouraged in a bit of a funk this very morning and as I felt the self-pity rising up, I decided to instead sit down and write this and now my energy has shifted.
3. Let go. When we're in fear, we are forgetting that the divine is within us, and we're relying on our human capabilities. A Course in Miracles says, "The presence of fear is a sign that you are relying on your own strength." Say your prayers, set your intentions, put some positive actions in motion and then find peace in letting go of the outcome. I like to sit and think about examples of other times when I didn't know what else I could humanly do and blessings showed up to help me.
4. Focus on Forgiveness. Forgiveness is a balm for everything that hurts! Forgive yourself for being afraid. Forgive yourself for any resentment or negativity in your heart. Forgive yourself for whatever weight you are carrying. How do you show yourself this forgiveness and channel joy? Treat yourself. Not in an emotional spending kind of way, but in an invest in yourself kind of way. Buy that book or take that course you've been wanting to take that will help you navigate this path you're on. Take an action that aligns you with ideas and solutions and that makes you feel loved and supported.
5. Watch what you say. Words are energy. Instead of complaining, gossiping, criticizing, and worrying out loud, talk about all the positive outcomes that could result. It's such a normalized thing to share our negative perceptions with the world, that we don't realize how much worse we are making ourselves feel. Try focusing your words on what you have and not what you don't have, what you can do and not what you can't do. Train your mind to look for possibilities and speak life into them.
6. Open your gifts. Who doesn't feel joy when opening a gift? I'm talking about the gifts you have inside. What makes you rich? Now is the time to indulge in it. Open your love of music. Open your love of community and togetherness. Open your love of nature. This is an example focusing on what you can do and not what you can't do. Often when we're in fear, we feel low energy and fixated on what we think is wrong or lacking. But within our gifts, we have unlimited energy. Turn to an area of your life that feels healthy and abundant and build there.
The underlying message in all of these is gratitude.
I remember one of the phrases they taught us to memorize in Sunday School was "when praise goes up, blessings come down." As a child, I thought of this in such a transactional kind of way: I praise God and he blesses me. Simple. Being older and wiser, I've learned that the blessings are always there, but when we don't have a grateful spirit we're not looking for them, so we don't see them and we feel afraid. But at any time you can renew yourself and align with the spiritual power available to you by thinking about what you are grateful for and showing it through your actions.
We can't avoid change in life, can we? But when we look for the hope and possibility that is always there, we can use our inner resources to meet our challenges with joy. From this higher vibration, we put ourselves in position to receive the blessings we would otherwise miss.
If you're reading this and you're going through an uncertain time, please know that we're all connected and you're not alone. Take a step back from your situation and look for the good that can come from it. I hope you feel inspired to tap into the energy I'm sending you and take some kind of hopeful action.
+ My Writing the Layers workbook offers insight and targeted writing exercises to help you become aware of the patterns and themes in your life. You can download the PDF here or grab a print copy on Amazon.