How to find your way out of the fog

Blog, Fog
Have you ever found yourself in a fog? It’s happened to me before. Fog disrupts your vision. You can suddenly feel lost, confused, even scared sometimes. The fog I’m talking about is in your mind. There are different types. Each one messes with your head. I will illustrate three and give you some strategies on how to find your way out of the fog.

A Rolling Fog

A few years ago, Marian and I were driving along the coast in Monterey, California. It was evening and we were heading back to our hotel. On the left was the ocean and we could see the white foam waves crashing the shore. In the distant we assumed were clouds–except that they seemed to be moving toward us. In a matter of minutes, a fog rolled in and enveloped the coast. A clear highway was barely visible. I had to quickly pull over to avoid a collision. A rolling fog catches you by surprise. You think things are going well and suddenly a fog rolls in and messes with your head. You might feel a bit disoriented, confused, not quite yourself. Some will describe the fog as a loss of confidence or feelings of insecurity that creep in. Or, it could be negative thoughts that take over the mind. What is a rolling fog? Usually, it is insecurities lurking in the unconscious mind. They are triggered when you least expect it. You could be in a good mood, or anticipating a great day, and as you go along, the fog starts slowly rolling in. It starts with a negative thought or two. Before you know it, your mood is hijacked by insecurity, anxiety, and misperception. It can ruin your day and wreak havoc in your relationships.
Finding your way out of a rolling fog
  1. Stop and get your bearings. This is a nautical term that has to do with finding location. For our purposes it means stopping to get a bearing on your misguided thoughts. In my illustration, I had to pull the car over and figure things out before proceeding. So, stop what you’re doing, go to someplace you can think for a moment.
  2. Describe the fog. Is it confusion? Anxiety? Insecurity? In order to identify it, you need to ask yourself two questions: “What are thoughts about?” “How am I feeling?” Once you identify the fog you can decide how to deal with it.
  3. Navigate the fog. A fog is a temporary state. Knowing this you can relax and navigate your way through it. You can dissipate a fog by challenging the nature of it. If it has to do with insecurity or anxiety, these are based on false beliefs. By challenging these negative scripts with positive affirmations, the fog will likely lift. I have a guide, “How to Rewrite Negative Scripts” I can send you for free by request. Contact me here.

Fog of War

This is a dangerous fog. It has an adversarial feel to it. In the fog of war you feel the need to defend yourself against a perceived enemy. You feel attacked. The impulse is to retaliate. (Notice the repeated use of the word “feel”.) I say this fog is dangerous because they enemy you perceive is an ally. In military terms it is called “friendly fire”. In the confusion of the fog of war you are shooting at a fellow soldier. This soldier may be your spouse, child, or friend. In the fog of war, something again is triggered in the unconscious mind. Often these are old shame-based wounds that happen in the developing years of childhood and adolescence. However, now you are an adult and you can defend yourself. So when someone says or does something that triggers this wound you may attack them with words or actions that harm. The ally is not in attack mode and may have no clue what triggered you. Nonetheless, in the fog of war, a battle occurs and result in casualties.
Finding your way out of the fog of war
  1. Call a “cease fire” in your head. You need to get off the battlefield quick! Your ally is mistaken for the enemy and you will say or do things that you will regret later. Get away by yourself to find out what triggered you.
  2. Describe your trigger. This is similar to what I discussed above. The idea here is to identify what happened and how it made you feel.
  3. Connect the feeling to old wounds. This is important so you understand why you react so intensely in the fog of war.
  4. Help your ally understand your trigger. If this is a safe person in your life you will want them to understand how your triggers are connected to childhood wounds.
  5. Get help with your wounds. I recommend you seek help from a professional to deal with and heal from the wounds you carry in your adult life.

Morning Fog

This is being in a fog about your life. You wake up, look out the window, and can’t make sense out of what you see. You’re confused about your life, or at least, aspects of it. For example, you might be in a fog about your career, a relationship, or what you want to be fulfilled. Starting each day in a fog is unpleasant. It can affect your mood and motivation. If you don’t address the fog, you may find yourself wandering aimlessly, wasting time. At some point you are going to have to find your way out. You cannot just look at it every day and expect it to go away on its own. [Tweet “Starting each day in a fog is unpleasant. You cannot just look at it and expect it to go away on its own.”]
Finding your way out of morning fog
  1. Picture your life without fog. Capture a vision on how things will be better. Clarity can add motivation.
  2. Be honest with yourself about what is holding you back. No time for excuses or blaming others. Dig a little deeper and you will see the real problem is how you think. Self-doubt, fear, or other negative thoughts keep you in a fog.
  3. If you want out, confront your resistance. It’s time to take action. Confront your negative thoughts. If it doesn’t work on your own, consider talking with a professional. The key is to do something about the fog, not just stare at it.

Now it’s your turn

Are you in a fog? You have a way out. What is do you plan to do about it. Feel free to comment on what you plan to do next.