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Let Your Fear Float Away: A Mindfulness Exercise

Have you ever felt so paralyzed with fear that you can't quite find a way to sort through all the things that are making you feel scared in the the first place? Let's face it: we all lead busy lives, and for many of us, fear might be holding us back from achieving the goals we have set for ourselves. Mindfulness meditation is a wonderful practice to help you better manage the worries and fears that go “bump in the night” for you. You may have heard of mindfulness before and thought to yourself, “That’s something only hippies do,” or “Meditation has never worked for me,” but in reality it can be incredibly beneficial in coping with stress and anxiety. And let’s face it, don’t we all need better ways of managing our stress? Below is a simple mindfulness exercise you can try whenever you feel like you have some fears that are making you feel stuck.  

In order to engage in this mindfulness exercise, remember to first turn off your cell phone, computer, television, or any other distracting electronic devices. Make yourself comfortable; if you're sitting in a chair, it helps to put your feet on the floor and your hands on your knees to increase your sense of being grounded. Close your eyes and pay attention to your breath, the way it flows in and out, in and out.

When you feel ready, imagine yourself in a wide open, grassy field. It's a beautiful, sunny day, and there is a nice warm breeze blowing the grass against your ankles. In your hand, you have a big colorful bunch of balloons that float above your head. Notice the color of the balloons, and how they sway in the breeze. The only sound is the gentle breeze through the grass, and the balloons bouncing into each other. Notice how you feel in this moment; do you feel peaceful? Joyful? Energetic?

Now think about what has scared you this week, this month, this year. Each of your balloons represents one of your fears. What fear do you want to just let go? When you are ready, take each balloon, one by one, and release it into the air. Watch each one float away, and feel your fear get further and further away, until it is just a speck in sky. If you find your thoughts drifting, or see that you are pulled away from your meditation by those fears, just bring your mind back to your breath for a moment and then return your focus to the balloons. It’s natural for your mind to stray, so try not to judge yourself; with practice, you’ll find it’s easier to focus and be present in the exercise.

After you have watched your final balloon drift into the atmosphere, take a few final deep breaths, and open your eyes. How do you feel? Do you feel lighter, or less paralyzed than you did before the exercise? Try using this exercise anytime you feel weighed down, whether it's with fear or another difficult emotion. If you take ten minutes out of your day, especially on busy, overwhelming days, this can be an excellent way to manage your stress. With practice, it will feel like second nature to take a mindfulness break to recenter yourself. We at K&S Therapeutic services challenge you to prioritize yourself and begin your mindfulness practice today!