Uncertainty is all around us, not just today but since time has started. In the recent global issue, it is the Covid 19 pandemic that caused one in five Australians or 20% experience high or very high levels of psychological distress in June and March 2021.
As human beings, it is normal to long for security. We seek safety and a feeling of control over our lives and well-being as well as for those we care about. We try to anticipate danger in the hope that the threat can be avoided. Our minds can become absorbed in trying to solve the problems, real or imagined. When we are dealing with uncertainties and unknowns we tend to focus on possible negative outcomes. There is a danger that you may become trapped in constantly thinking about the worst case scenarios and emotionally reacting to the negative possibilities. This may be exhausting and detrimental in itself.
During this health crisis, the best thing to do is to focus on what you do have control over and how you can help yourself and others. Planning can be helpful, but once you have considered or put into place practical contingency plans to completion, it is best to leave it be. It is important to have downtime from worry and deliberately appreciate the positives in your life and what there is to be hopeful about the future.
Ways to Stop Worrying About Uncertainties
There are so many things you can’t control and it will be so tiring to think about all of them, so better focus your time and energy on the things that you can control.
Here are some tips to stop worrying about uncertainties:
1. Determine what you can control.
Most events in life are complex and a mixture of what you can or you cannot control. If there is a storm coming, the storm will come no matter what you do, but you can look for shelter and provisions and make sure you are receiving up to date information to make decisions as the storm unfolds.
In some instances, the main thing we can control is how we accept help or how we support others. Sometimes even the small things we do can make a difference.
2. Focus on your influence.
Your words and actions can persuade other people, but you can’t force others to do what you want them to. You can give all the ingredients to your friend so she can make bread, but she may choose to make a pancake.
To be an effective influence, focus on your own choices and what actions you are demonstrating and set healthy boundaries for yourself.
When you have concerns about how others behave or what their beliefs are, you can kindly state your opinion and what your choices are, but do not expect others to agree or change.
3. Identify your fears.
Ask yourself what are the things that are causing you stress and anxiety. Often the problem is that you are worrying about worst-case scenarios, there’s a good probability that what you fear isn’t as terrible as you imagine. There’s a good chance that you have more courage and strength than you think.
People also worry that they will not cope if the worst case scenario happens. I think it is good to remember that we do not always have to ‘cope’. It is OK to feel the full range of emotions when things go terribly wrong in our lives. It is OK to need and accept support from others.
Acknowledge that you are capable of managing and eventually surviving the worst-case scenarios can help you put more energy into productively getting on with life during uncertain times.
4. Differentiate between ruminating and problem-solving.
Replaying conversations, events, or imagining awful outcomes in your head isn’t helpful and can be stressful or anxiety provoking. Having these thoughts running around in your head may also disturb your sleep.
It is helpful to problem solve and create contingency plans by writing them down, drawing them out or speaking to others about it. When you have finished, put the problem away and revisit it later if you have anything to add or change. If you find yourself going over the issues again, mentally remind yourself that you have completed the planning and problem solving for now. Then distract your mind with more positive thoughts.
5. Create a plan to manage your stress.
Self-care like exercising, eating healthy and getting enough sleep help you manage the stress that you are experiencing.
Find healthy stress relievers, go on a retreat or simply spend time with your friends. Being conscious of your stress levels and what works for you to reduce stress. Make time to relax and de-stress a priority.
6. Develop healthy affirmations.
List and absorb mantras or sayings that encourage you and help you feel more positive. Choose something that you can relate to. Remind yourself what you can do. A positive mindset is helpful in itself.
Tell yourself that you can handle and deal with situations even if you don’t have control over them.
Reduce your stress, anxiety and learn how to better tolerate and embrace the inevitable uncertainty of life.
For more tips, head on to Free Course – Simple Tips to Reduce Stress.