Living With Uncertainty In Turbulent Times
- Emily Hinton
- June 16, 2020
In these turbulent times with the COVID-19 pandemic and racial riots we are all living with uncertainty.
Unless you have the ability to read your future from a crystal ball, no one can be absolutely certain of what is going to happen in the next day, week or year.
For many people, facing this uncertainty can be difficult at the best of times. Particularly at the moment, uncertainty is at an all-time high with so many changes occurring in our daily lives and increased doubt over even simple things such as what items will be available in the grocery store. This can be extremely stressful and challenging as we try to navigate each of these while living with uncertainty all the time.
Uncertainty and stress
6 things that people often do to make them feel less stressed by uncertainty include the following:
- making long ‘to do’ lists to plan their day extensively
- seeking reassurance from others on decisions
- double-checking that they haven’t made any mistakes or that things are as they should be
- seeking lots of information before making a decision
- not delegating tasks so they can make sure things are done correctly themselves; and
- procrastinating or avoiding doing things that they feel uncertain about.
Do you do any of these things regularly?
If so, it’s likely that these are strategies that you use to cope with uncertainty in your life.
While making lists and checking with others can make us feel better in the moment, it doesn’t actually help to make us more tolerant of uncertainty…in fact it’s doing the exact opposite!
Eliminating uncertainty is impossible
By trying to control things we are attempting to eliminate uncertainty, which is impossible.
As the saying goes “the only thing certain in life is uncertainty”.
Relying on these kinds of strategies to get through life this only makes us more fearful of uncertainty as it gives us a false sense of control rather than learning to accept situations where we can’t have control over what will happen.
Focus instead on building your tolerance to uncertainty
Instead, psychologists can help you to use different strategies which focus on building your tolerance for uncertainty. This might include:
- managing anxious feelings when you’re faced with uncertainty
- challenging your ideas about how uncertainty can be controlled
- learning to let go of strategies that aren’t helpful; and
- teaching you how to be more mindful rather than having a mind full of worry
The best part is when we pull back from trying to control uncertainty, we can spend more time doing the things we enjoy and give our life meaning.
Are you feeling overwhelmed by uncertainty at the moment? Do you want to learn how to manage these feelings? It’s never too late to reach out for help…contact us for more information or book an appointment.
By learning to tolerate uncertainty we can cope better with challenging moments in life where uncertainty cannot be controlled – such as right now!