While we may all be individuals and approach uncertainty differently it is probably true to say that it is something many people find challenging. We tend to feel more secure and comfortable when we know what is happening,
what to expect and have some ideas about timescales.
However much we may tell ourselves about the importance of remaining present and living in the moment we still seem to spend a lot of time focussed on the future. Whether that is the next event that’s about to happen or plans
for future ventures some weeks or months ahead.
Planning is of course important for a whole host of good reasons not least because it helps us feel and often be, organised and in control.
But as recent times have shown us there are many situations where planning is difficult because there is a lot we don’t know. As humans we tend not to manage uncertainty very well especially when circumstances are well and truly
beyond our control.
As humans we like a degree of certainty and not having that can be stressful, and as we know stress can be a healthy motivator but when prolonged it can also cause damage. Our brains are hard wired to react to uncertainty, which our brains interpret possible danger. This may have been useful for our ancestors’ eons ago, in fact uncertainty could mean death if faced with predators for example, but that response is not as useful in our lives today. We still must cope with the unexpected but it is less likely to be life threatening than it may have been for our ancestors.
Facing the unexpected and dealing with uncertainty is something we all have to do and we will manage it better if we keep the following in mind.
Be kind to yourself
You might find coping with uncertainty tougher than others but so what? You are a unique individual and being hard on yourself is never likely to help. Our brains can often seem to drift into self-criticism without us noticing so, manage your self-talk and make a conscious decision to be kind to YOU.
Remind yourself of your strengths
If you are an adult reading this then the chances are that you have coped with uncertainty before and survived. That tells you that you can do it. Think back to what might have helped you cope in the past, perhaps there are things you can try now. Remind yourself that these times too will pass.
Focus on what you can control
In almost every situation there are some things you can do, some things that are under your control. Try shifting your attention away from the bigger issue that might be outside of your sphere of control down to the decisions and
actions you can control. Part of this might also be limiting what you expose yourself to, if the news, or particular people fuel your anxiety, then avoid them for a while.
It might not feel nice when things are tough but often, we have no option but to keep going and that in itself can be a surprise to us. Sometimes our view of our own strength and capabilities is very inaccurate, in that we are stronger than we think, and we do have what it takes, as long as we just keep on keeping on.
Take your own advice
Not only are we often stronger than we think, we know more too. Sadly though, we usually save all our good advice for others. It can help to put yourself in the position of being a friend – what nuggets would you give them if
they came to you for support. Somehow that shift in perspective can be really helpful. Sometimes our brain is able to pull out the stops helping others solve problems in a way we find hard when immersed in the emotions we feel about the situation we find ourselves in.
Acknowledge what we feel
Sometimes it can be helpful to sort of ignore feelings and just get on with things. We all do it at times. But if we keep on doing it sometimes it can increase our stress and reduce our ability to problem solve. The danger is that when faced with uncertainty there is a temptation to keep ourselves busy, rushing around trying to control what we can and keeping ourselves busy sometimes to avoid uncomfortable feelings. But emotions can be helpful, give
yourself time to ‘feel’ especially in times of stress and anxiety.
Ask for help
It is also important to remember that we all need a hand and asking for help is not a sign of weakness. Go to those who you know support you either for practical help or for a listening ear, there is an amazing power in voicing our
worries and fears. It can make them seem concrete and that may make them seem easier to deal with or bring us greater clarity on what the main issues are.
The fact is that we will never be able to control some events and situations but we can control how we respond, sometimes that is actually all we can control.
Why not visit the facebook group All About You for more help and support on ways you can achieve a happy, balanced and fulfilled life?