This week’s Wednesday Wisdom comes from Proctor Gallagher’s Insight of the Day email blog:

This week, I witnessed something that demonstrated how tenuous our sense of peace and calm can be.

A coaching client, whom we’ll call Trish, sat before me despondent. Less than 15 minutes earlier, she was hopeful about how things were beginning to progress with her entrepreneurial efforts. She felt like she was finally finding her voice.

But now, she sat quiet and a bit distant. What changed?

In the midst of her sharing about her new possibilities, her father’s sad business experience came to mind. He had several brilliant ideas over the years, but time and again, his insecurity stopped him before he got started on them.

Instead of engaging in the demanding work of birthing an idea, Trish’s father would soothe his fears and insecurity by boasting about the brilliance of his idea…instead of taking the action that manifesting a dream requires. Instead, other people listening to her father’s boasting would take his ideas and successfully implement them.

Trish had watched this dynamic happen at least three times and unconsciously believed that her father’s failure was her destiny.

As she sat before me, I saw a worthy, successful woman be reduced to boogieman thoughts and despair. At that moment, she and her father were the same.

What she needed was distance between her habitual fearful thoughts and the truth: she was not her father; her fear belonged to her younger self.

Creating the life we want requires us to challenge our beliefs and mental habits. When the mind is hijacked by habitual panic or fear, we must remind ourselves of the truth and consciously work to free ourselves of the untrue.

If you’re easily knocked off-center, there are things you can do to shift your energy quickly. For example, the next time something disturbs your inner peace, try this

Bring your attention to your breath. Consciously slow your inhales and lengthen the exhales. This will help get you out of your head and into your body and heart. If you feel tense in an area of your body, lovingly rub that area. Soon, your shoulders will soften, your heart will slow, and your mind will begin to quiet. With the compassion you would show a child, tell yourself the truth. Create a statement you say to yourself in this moment that is “your truth.”

Here is Trish’s truth statement: I am not my father. His story is not my story. Up until now, my younger self’s fear has directed my thoughts, but from this point forward, this can change for the better. I can create my success.

Though you will likely still feel saddened, anxious, or whatever emotion you felt before this intervention, there will be enough space to acknowledge the old story that is running and your feelings without buying into them. With the separation between yourself and the historical feelings, you create space for new possibilities.

Every moment you spend being present with yourself, you create a shelter. You’re building your capacity to be with and transform your experiences, no matter how stormy the conditions are outside. The more you use inner fitness practices to help you navigate life, the better you will become at managing challenging situations as they arise.

It takes practice and often some discomfort to install new patterns that allow you to stretch into the next best iteration of yourself, but with awareness and consistency, you can do it.