2018 is right at the door! It is a brand new turning of the pages. As I reflect on the past year, both in my personal life and work, the most important thought that strikes me is the pervasive sense of fear in people around me. The what isn’t all that important, so I will focus on the outcome of fear in our lives.

Fear can separate and divide, polarize and isolate. It can also propel you to create new experiences and connections and to take positive actions. The biggest challenge I observed in women over 60 was that fear can be a consequence of the lack of meaning in their lives.

When I asked many women past the age of 60 what had meaning for them, I often got very little response. Most hadn’t even thought about it. What I discovered were feelings of shame, a sense of lack of significance or the favorite phrase ‘staying busy.’

This year, I have decided to focus both my work and life to help women find meaning in their lives. Though this sounds somewhat like the Monty Python movie, The Meaning of Life, meaning has many rich facets, just like a Swarovski crystal.

While there are many different facets of meaning in your life, here are a few that I think are particularly important:

Look Within Yourself

Reflect on a daily, weekly and monthly basis about things you were able to give and receive. Was there something you experienced that moved, tickled or touched you? Did you smile at someone and notice their response? These moments add up, melting away the fear of loneliness.

On a broader scale, looking within means you are willing to engage in making a difference in your family, work and community. The tragedy of aging is that we stop trying to make any kind of contribution to our communities. The world needs our feminine wisdom, so we should find ways to engage.

Define and Speak Out Loud Your Personal Intentions Every Day

Intention focuses your awareness and opens the door for positive action, so you don’t live in elusive fear. It means you are taking a position in things that have significance for you and others. It is a great way to move past inaction, depression and anxiety.

Take Risks to Connect

Fear produces fight or flight responses of the nervous system when a threat is perceived. Fear is meant to protect us from danger. However, our nervous system doesn’t recognize the difference between a high level threat and a low level one.

Social interaction dissolves fear and generates positive meaning. We are wired in our DNA to connect with others. We need our tribe to feel loved, supported and cared about. That’s where we find real meaning.

Be Grateful

Gratitude goes a long way in dissolving fear. Keeping a daily gratitude journal often will empower you and soften fear, making your day(s) more meaningful and happy.

Making a commitment to yourself and how you choose to engage in life will make all the difference in letting go of fear. You are the person who has the ability to empower yourself.

Remind yourself that life is a journey of exploration. Be strong in your love, know your intelligence, carry the strength to speak and embody your wisdom in 2018!

What do you do to move beyond fear? Do you set intentions for success? Have you kept a gratitude journal and has it helped change your awareness? Please share your thoughts and insights below!

Ellen BachmeyerEllen Bachmeyer, LCSW, helps women in their 50s 60s and 70s as they move through life transitions to create new meaning and emerge with an inspired life. She has been a practicing psychotherapist for over 35 years and has supported women with many transitions from divorce, to caretaking and grieving to remarriage, grandparenting and encore careers. Her website is Windhorse Center.

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