There is no doubt that we live in challenging times. Issues economic, cultural, and spiritual seem insurmountable when you look into the future and wonder what it will hold. Soon, it overwhelms you and may even leave you fearful.
Whether you are facing a minor setback or a serious problem, the approach towards it is the same. Taking a mindful look at the situation instead of relying on worry and rumination will often yield the best results.
Mindfulness is about the moment.
Sometimes, it is not the event that causes the fear but the anticipation of it. You missed a mortgage payment and fear foreclosure. But backing off for a little while from the worry, you realize something different. There are no threats of foreclosure or paperwork served at your door. You are simply stuck in fear. Perhaps the best thing to do right now is call your bank, explain your situation, and see what can be done.
That is the power of mindfulness. You see the moment at its reality.
It is not always an imagined reality—it can be very real, like loss of a loved one. But letting go of denial and facing the reality, no matter how much it hurts, is the first step to healing.
From there, you can start to see the possibilities.
In cases of grief and loss, this may take some time. That is more than acceptable as everyone has a different way to process it. Eventually, you will see new possibilities and likely gain an appreciation of things you never quite mastered before. Tragic loss often leads people to take less for granted and pursue dreams once put off.
In less tragic circumstances, you simply realize the disaster is not at all as bad as you imagined.
The fear is replaced with finding a new way to approach the situation.
Finally, you can now enter problem-solving mode.
Nobody finds an effective solution through panic. Entering problem-solving mode means you realize you need to call an attorney if facing foreclosure or divorce. For the imagined scenario, you find a way to prevent it or at least lessen its impact. It is basically logic taking over the fear and primal emotion.
Sometimes, it is not a matter of a problem needing a solution. It is seeing the situation clearer. IT means a better decision, e.g. rethinking an extravagance so you can make a car payment instead and quit worrying about repossession. With trauma or tragedy, there is not a solution but a new normal arising from a place of acceptance.
It seems conflicted that being in the moment means a better feature. But that is how it works. Mindfulness is not only useful in mediation but also day-to-day life from enjoying a walk on a sunny day to facing uncertainty with bravery. Keeping in tune with the good and the challenging helps you appreciate both and know better how to proceed. So the next time you are in a fix, go through these steps in your head:
1. Be mindful: differentiate between what is and what could be
2. Think positive: imagine the possibilities and trust yourself
3. Address the problem: with less worry, make a list of possible solutions