Letting Go of Panic Clutter

It's important with all the change that is going on with our economy to avoid panic clutter. Panic is a powerful clutter thought. It is not based on what is happening but what could happen in the future. It doesn't help to be in a state of panic. It can feel like you are doing something because it uses up so much of your energy and attention. But it quickly drains you leaving you unprepared to respond to things in the moment.

Change is always occurring. Nothing stays the same. Sometimes in a moment there is a small amount of change and sometimes it can be big. At this time there is a lot of change occurring in our economy. The old ways no longer fit or work and so new ways are coming in. When big change occurs, the ego feels threatened. It goes, "Oh no, what will happen to me? Will I be okay? Will I be destroyed?" It's not about right now, it's about the future. An unknown commodity.

The panic starts there and it gets bigger when you watch the news and see their panic. Their fears show up as headlines that compare this to the Great Depression of the 1930s. The panic gets bigger when you hear people that you know express their panic. We are social animals so we put a lot of credence in what others are doing.

However panic is a detrimental and lousy life strategy. It doesn't work. It doesn't produce positive results. It often creates negative action. When a person is panicked they often feel the need to take action. You can't take a positive and helpful action when you are in a cluttered state of mind. You can't see clearly at that time.

So, what do you do? Nothing at first. Then be aware of the panic feeling. Where do you feel it in your body? Watch your thoughts. Notice the terror. Feel the shrinking of your essential nature. Understand that you can't see clearly through this. No one can. The answers come from a relaxed state of mind. You can have a peaceful awareness even with lots of things going on all around you. As you start to feel a little calmer you may notice that maybe nothing needs to be done right now. Maybe things are actually okay in your world in this moment. Other people may be in difficulty or not. You only have your world to take care of.

I was working with a client in her office last week. She was nerve wracked and distracted. I asked her what was up. She told me she couldn't sleep last night because she was worried about having to lay people off at her job because of the state of the economy. I helped her be present and aware of the current moment in front of her. Her breathing slowed. Her eyes became present. She laughed. She told me that actually things aren't bad at work. They are hiring new people. They aren't laying people off. She had been in a panic cluttered state of mind from watching the news and picking up others contagious thoughts. When the clutter fell away she was able to think clearly.

This week be aware of your state of mind, of your thinking, of the feelings in your body. They are your barometer of your mental and physical health and well being. If you feel panic, ask yourself, "What is the problem right now?" Not a future problem, or what happened yesterday. Right now. What is the problem? You are reading this. You feel yourself breathing. You feel the chair you are sitting on. You feel the glow of the computer. From here you have what you need.


My new book Clutter Busting: Letting Go of What's Holding You Back is being published by New World Library. It will be available for purchase March 2009.