By Veronica Vidal
Uncertainty can keep us up at night, obsessing over ways to protect ourselves from anything that might go wrong…. Or it can motivate us to practice acceptance, live in the moment, and embrace the adventure of living.
We don’t know … what’s coming tomorrow might not be easy—or it might fulfill us in ways we didn’t even imagine. What’s certain is that it will come and when it gets here, we will respond to it, learn from it, and move into another tomorrow full of endless possibilities.
If you ever think you’ve created a controllable, predictable life for yourself, you can rest assured that’s an illusion. Nothing stays the same forever. Life is full of uncertainty.
To our rational mind, when an existing pattern of expectations is not met it can be unsettling and cause fear, anxiety, and frustration. To relieve our worries and disappointments we must re-frame our assumptions so that we can adapt to new conditions. It’s no good fooling ourselves that everything is under control. Accepting uncertainty is a challenge, but it can stop us from living in a limbo state of confusion. The thing about uncertainty is that despite our plans we seldom end up where we expected. Embracing uncertainty is an essential component of well-being because it provides a foundation for mental calmness. One day at a time, let us focus on our possibilities, not our fears, and suddenly, we will feel a lot better.
“Embracing Uncertainty is to accept paradox and ambiguity with humility and curiosity. Maybe it’s better to accept what cannot be changed, and adapt to what is emerging than to resent the inevitable.” ~ Steve Trivett
The following 8 steps will help you to embrace uncertainty
1) Replace expectations with plans. When you form expectations, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. You can guide your tomorrow, but you can’t control the exact outcome. If you expect the worst, you’ll probably feel too negative and closed-minded to notice and seize opportunities. If you expect the best, you’ll create a vision that’s hard to live up to.
What is in my hands is what I plan—what I will actively do to find balance, and live the life I want.
2. Prepare for different possibilities. The most difficult part of uncertainty is the inability to feel in control. However, one can plan for the possibilities. One can make a list for what one would do if “A” happens versus “B” or “C”.. All we really need is a basic plan and the flexibility to embrace change if necessary.
3. Become a feeling observer. It isn’t the uncertainty that really bothers us; it’s our tendency to get lost in our feelings about it. The second we start indulging fear, we get lost in a cycle of reactionary thoughts. “What if …” leads to “How I am going to manage to…?” Before you know it, we have somehow traveled all the way to a complete tragedy in our minds.
The point is that speculation leads to feelings, which can lead to more speculation and then more feelings. It helps to stop the cycle by recognizing the feeling—in that case, fear—and then remembering that we can’t possibly predict the future, but we can help create it, by fostering positive feelings about the possibilities.
4. Get confident about your coping and adapting skills. It’s more about assuring yourself that you can handle any difficulty that might come. To help you manage anxiety, ask yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen?” and answer your self how could you deal with that worst-case scenario, which makes the uncertainty a little less scary.
In her book, The Positive Power of Negative Thinking, Julie K. Norem discusses the concept of defensive pessimism—when you consider the worst so you can plan how you’d handle it. This has actually shown to help people manage anxiety.
5. Utilize stress reduction techniques preemptively. If you’re dealing with uncertainty, you probably have stress in your body, even if it’s not at the forefront of your thoughts at this exact moment. Over time, that body stress affects blood pressure, blood sugar, muscle tension, cholesterol level, breathing rate, and every organ in your body.
Incorporate stress reduction techniques into your day, such as yoga, breathing techniques, relaxation, and meditation, even if just five to ten minutes daily. Finding your center will help you feel better prepared to tackle whatever comes your way.
6. Focus on what you can control. Oftentimes, we overlook the little things we can do to make life easier while obsessing about the big things we can’t do. Focus on a short-term solution, stop complaining, and start some motion now, so that you can make this situation more bearable.
7. Practice mindfulness. Observe when your thoughts go into the uncertain future and bring them back to the present moment. When you obsess about a tomorrow you can’t control, you’re too busy judging what hasn’t happened yet to fully experience what’s happening right now. Instead of noticing and appreciating the beauty in the moment, you get trapped in a fear-driven thought cycle about the potential for discomfort down the line.
8. Reconnect with the blessings in your life. Focus on the gifts that you are enjoying at this moment, Even thinking about gratitude offers a profound sense of strength and tranquility.
“Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.” ~John Allen Paulos
Continue to stay safe, strong, and serene as we transition to our new normal.
Your loving support, referrals, and loyalty fill me with immense gratitude.
With Infinite Love