This discrepancy is a source of considerable mental and emotional suffering. As a result, the first and most essential step toward becoming more comfortable with uncertainty and more skillful in dealing with it is to understand and begin to accept that as much as we’d like it to be otherwise, virtually nothing is certain. Just as the only true constant in life is change, the only real certainty is uncertainty.
Learning how to live with uncertainty and the various forms of discomfort that come with it creates and strengthens resiliency (the ability to adapt to change). It’s also a fundamental aspect of becoming an emotionally and developmentally healthy adult.
Daily actions to help you become more comfortable with uncertainty
- Practice kindness and compassion whenever possible (and it’s almost always possible)—toward yourself as well as others.
- Hydrate/drink water—many people simply don’t drink enough water and are frequently in a state of mild dehydration that exacerbates stress and anxiety.
- Be aware of your breathing and breathe intentionally, making your breathing slower and deeper—under the influence of stress, anxiety, and uncertainty breathing tends to become more rapid and shallow (in preparation for fight, flight, or freeze) which only increases stress and anxiety.
- Reach out to someone by phone or video chat, if in-person contact isn’t an option—a friend or family member—who will listen with presence and emotional availability (and be present and emotionally available with them).
- Engage in some movement of physical movement (movement is the body’s internal lubricant), ideally one that elevates your heart rate for at least several minutes.
- Re-animate your core values—bring to conscious awareness the values most important to you.
- Do at least one thing that aligns with your core values—something you can genuinely feel good about.
- If possible, be of service and do something meaningful (however small) for someone in need or less fortunate.
It’s so beneficial to consciously acknowledge your sense of uncertainty, even to “greet” it (“Ok, I’m experiencing a sense of uncertainty”), along with the feelings of stress, anxiety, and anger that may accompany it. Observe your sense of uncertainty and those feelings. Allow and make space for them. Hold that space and be present so that you can sit with and begin to make peace with them. And when you practice this, notice what happens and how your experience shifts.
Copyright 2020 Dan Mager, MSW
Written by:Dan Mager Originally appeared on:Psychology Today Republished with permission