How to cope well with uncertainty
With everything that is happening in the world right now, there is so much uncertainty and your imagination could start to go into overdrive. You may find yourself speculating about the future and filling in all the missing gaps of information with the worst-case scenarios of what may happen. By doing this you will cause yourself to worry and get anxious about things that haven’t even happened yet and that you don’t have any control over.
Is this something you are finding yourself doing with everything that is going on?
If so, it is important to be aware that uncertainty can fuel fear; anxiety and paralysis, which will inhibit your ability to cope well in times of flux. Your brain essentially is hardwired to react to uncertainty with fear. As you face uncertainty, your brain could so easily push you to overreact. The ability to be able to override this reaction and move your thinking into a calmer and more rational direction is fundamental in terms of dealing with uncertainty and the associated anxiety that can be triggered.
There are many ways that you can help yourself to cope with uncertainty and here are five suggestions:
1. Avoid the doom and drama
Uncertainty can create a playground for the doom goblins and drama queens who perversely enjoy stoking up negativity. They will be predicting all sorts of doom and gloom, and if you get absorbed in the gossip, scaremongering, and toxicity, it will drag you down, drain your valuable energy and make you feel anxious. Balance your exposure to negative media and remove yourself from environments wherever possible where this kind of behaviour is rife. You don’t have to listen to it and you certainly don’t have to be part of it. That is entirely your choice.
2. Stay positive
One of the great benefits of positive thinking is that it can quiet the fear and irrational mind chatter by focusing your thoughts on something that is more calming. Thoughts are powerful triggers for emotions and for every negative niggling doubt that you have, on the flip side there will always be a more hopeful alternative. Give your wandering mind a little help by consciously selecting something positive to think about. Create an inspiring sanctuary in your mind by focusing on a happy memory or a dream for the future that will refocus your attention.
3. Avoid crystal ball gazing
Sometimes a fertile imagination can be your own worst enemy and you may find yourself getting lost in your own feelings. If you are not careful you may take out the imaginary crystal ball and start to “catastrophise” about the future. You cannot possibly predict the future; you can however feel less anxious by fostering positive thoughts about the alternative possibilities.
4. Manage your inner control freak
Let’s face it most of us like to be in control; however, in some situations you have to put your trust in others’ hands. Currently we are being asked to live in a way that is highly restrictive and this will challenge your inner control freak! It is important to bear in mind, that if you do this, you run the risk of putting yourself under immense stress if you focus on trying to control things that you can’t. Right now we need to listen to the advice we are being given to keep ourselves and other people safe.
5. Get creative
Having more opportunities to express your creativity will help you to keep enthusiastic and motivated about possibilities. Creative people also tend to be more optimistic and resilient. A recent study in the Journal of Positive Psychology indicated that engaging in a creative activity just once a day can lead to a more positive state of mind. Through this very challenging situation that we are experiencing we also have an opportunity to explore, discover, learn and grow.
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