• Pedro Afif

Survival – how we live our lives in fear

Updated: Aug 8, 2019

Yes, it’s true. Some aspects of life are a potential struggle. Stress, rising prices, crapy governments, homophobia, racism and all the BS-isms, relationships are tough, disease, global warming and those who are too scared to see; or even worse, those who do but won’t act. All of this is real, but it’s not the whole pie. There is much goodness in life that we turn a blind eye to.

Today, the benefits of gratitude are almost mainstream, and information about how to practice it is all over the internet. Journals, meditations, you name it. What I find curious is how we still view it as a nice-to-have tool; when honestly, it may be more like our saving grace — more on this in a minute.

There are times when we truly need to survive, and during those moments: Bring it On! Survive, we must. But most of the time for the majority, more than surviving we’re living in survival mode. This is a state of being, a combo creation of our mind and body, and while it can be genuine, is still within our zone of effect. Meaning we can take action in response.

True, fear drives survival, but it's the right kind of fear that kicks your ass and gets you moving to stay alive. It makes you punch, scream, push, and thrive when threatened. Living in survival mode is a different story; it means living in expectant fear, anguished about what will happen and how it could potentially be harmful. Expectant and potential being the relevant bit of that phrase.

There is an environmental study that shows how ecological efforts to save our planet mainly depend on the actions taken by people in the mid to high economic classes. This research indicates that individuals with less than certain buying power are, not unwilling, but unable to ponder if what they consume and how they live creates a positive impact on the planet. The reason behind it is that their focus is entirely on making it till tomorrow, so much to be able to entertain the notion of how their lifestyle impacts nature. Buying biodegradable, organic and recycled is not even a reality. This is full survival, and it shows us how our minds focus on a very different aspect while on it. Many life-threatening situations take us to this state.

For every other moment when we’re in full-on, expectant survival mode, here’s a word of wisdom: Gratitude. It allows us to notice what we have now, bringing our focus to the present and relieving the expectant mindset. Much more than a moral speech of “be grateful for what you have,” I mean it as a resource of sanity. Learning to be grateful can make or break our mental health. As it allows us to touch base with that is being real vs. what we imagine that could potentially go wrong. Learn more on how to harness gratitude on my last post: Why you don’t get what you want.


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