We live in frustrating times.
In our little corner of the world, we are lucky in many respects when compared to what is currently being experienced globally.
But, that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with the ongoing disappointment of cancelled plans and not knowing what is around the corner.
It is really easy to let the constant feelings of uncertainty get you down.
So, how can you help yourself get in the right mindset?
The first step is to read this blog! I’ll be discussing practical ways for coping with uncertainty that might be unsettling your days, weeks and months.
Let’s dive in!
Coping With Uncertainty: Practical Strategies That Actually Help
Feeling All The Uncertainty
For the last two years, we have become very familiar with the feeling of uncertainty. And it’s not really a pleasant feeling. Especially when that uncertainty is around reuniting with friends and family overseas.
When I think about uncertainty, I get a paralysing feeling. It feels like I am stuck and I can’t move forward. It drains all the power from me. Do you feel the same way?
I crave knowledge about what is going to happen and when I don’t have that knowledge, my mind races and creates a negative picture of the future. And when we aren’t sure what the future holds, it is easy to focus heavily on the negative.
Uncertainty has a funny way of creating a negative vibe throughout our entire body. It impacts how we feel, how we approach things, and how we behave.
Luckily, there are some practical ways to remove the negative connotations from uncertainty. Let’s explore what some of those are…
Give Your Imagination Power
We know our default reaction to uncertainty is generally a negative one. But, what if we flipped that and trained our minds to create a positive outcome?
Instead of dwelling on the negative, give your imagination the power to build a positive pathway.
Giving your imagination something to play with can make the world of difference to how you feel and react. So, the next time you are predicting a negative outcome, imagine a switch in your head to turn it into a positive one. How much better would you feel?
Think About What You Can Control
There are many things that are out of our control right now. And trying to gain control of those things can make you feel really powerless.
So, the simple answer is to stop trying to control those things.
Rather, focus your energies on the things you can control. For example, you can focus on keeping yourself safe by following health protocols – being mindful of social distancing, mask wearing and hand washing. Remember, you can’t fully control whether others will make the same choice and being anxious about that is wasted energy.
You are also in total control of your own thoughts and emotions. You can choose how you will react to certain situations. By choosing to focus your energies on a positive outcome, you will prevent yourself from reacting negatively.
Stay Informed, But Not Too Informed
It is easy to get swept along with monitoring the news and constantly tuning in for 1pm updates. While you want to keep informed on the potential for international travel and whether we will go back to homeschooling, there is such a thing as too much information!
Rather than being a slave to media updates, choose when you will update yourself on key information and which medium you will use. By staying informed on your own schedule, you keep it in your zone of control.
When you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed, do you find your breathing changes? It might quicken or you could find yourself overbreathing.
In those times, you should refocus yourself on the present moment. You can do that by consciously breathing in for the count of four and exhaling for the count of six. Do that 10 times and you will feel yourself calming and refocusing on the now.
You can also find ways to be intentional and ground yourself in the present moment. A great way of doing that is conducting a 5-sense check and taking the time to notice what you are experiencing through all five of your senses. What do you see, smell, hear, touch, and taste?
Don’t forget to remind yourself of your own capabilities and resilience with calm, affirming thoughts.
Align With Your Values
Think about the things that truly matter to you.
Right now, I am feeling really removed from my mother who lives in Russia, and my husband is feeling removed from his mother who lives in the UK. There is a lot of uncertainty about when we might be able to see them in person.
But, family is a huge part of my values system, so we are conscious to connect with our overseas family by phone, Skype and social channels. While it is not the same as seeing them in person, it still maintains the connection that helps to fill my cup.
Journal, Journal And Journal Again
You’ve heard me talk about the benefits of journaling again and again. But, it is especially powerful when it comes to coping with uncertainty.
By getting all of your feelings out and onto the page, it can help you organise your thoughts. That can make things easier to process. And, by noting everything down, it tells your mind you don’t need to worry any more, as all of those thoughts are documented.
So, what should you journal about?
Well, if you are comfortable doing so, simply put pen to paper and let the thoughts flow. And, if you need some help sparking those ideas, try these specific prompts designed specifically to help you process your thoughts around uncertainty.
10 Journaling Prompts – Coping With Uncertainty
- When you experience uncertainty, how does it feel? Where in your body can you feel it?
- What emotions come up for you when you feel uncertain?
- What are the things that you can & can’t control in the current uncertain situation?
- Thinking about the things you can control, what are the 3 actions you can commit to?
- Who can you reach out to, to help you bring a different perspective to your current uncertainty?
- What would it feel like if you accepted your uncertain circumstances and went with the flow?
- What trusted ‘tools’ do you have to help you through these uncertain times? Breathing exercises? Meditation? Journaling? Cuddling your fur babies? Anything else?
- When you plan different scenarios for the future in your head, what is real, what is probable, what is imaginary?
- What if uncertain did not equal bad or negative? What could be possible then?
- Despite your current uncertainty, what are you grateful for right now?