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Syndicated Columns

In midst of fear, chaos, choose to remain calm

Posted September 2, 2006

Q. This week showed me how easily I am influenced by others' fears. I could have lost my sanity. Instead I turned off the TV and locked myself indoors. Any other suggestions? -- S.C., Boca Raton

A. Awareness is the first step in maintaining composure and acting rationally. Locking yourself in may not be the best solution. Here are other suggestions.

Each of us has a center or core. Imagine it as a column that goes through the middle of your body; from the tip of your head to the base of your spine.

Bring your attention to this area. Breathe in and out through your nose with controlled attention. Do this a few times. You can silently say to yourself centered, calm, peaceful. This will help you align yourself.

When in the midst of intense fear, you have choice. You can focus on the craziness around you, or you can concentrate on staying calm.

Nobel Prize recipient Élie Metchnikoff advises, "Needless fear and panic over disease and misfortune that seldom materialize are simply bad habits. By proper ventilation and illumination of the mind, it is possible to cultivate tolerance, poise and real courage."

Decide where to put your attention. If your choice is to be the candle that brings light to the darkness, don't hide. Bring your light forth by drawing upon your inner resources.

In Marianne Williamson's book A Return to Love, she offers empowering wisdom: "As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

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