Living with uncertainty is difficult because as humans we are programmed to seek and find comfort in predictability. As such, when you find yourself struggling to manage uncertainty, it is good to remember that your struggle is a wholly natural response. Impatience and frustration with yourself will only serve to heighten the struggle. Now is a time to show self-compassion and understanding as you begin to learn a new way of coping. In this blog, I will consider the nature of uncertainty followed by six strategies that you can use to begin to manage uncertainty more effectively.
The Nature of Uncertainty.
Uncertainty forms an integral part of our lives and is frequently a positive catalyst for change, growth and self-reflection. In our willingness to be free of uncertainty it can be easy to believe that its presence is temporary and linked to your current situation. When that situation changes (e.g. when you move house or receive a promotion), you may believe that the uncertainty will disappear. This is, of course, a myth. Whilst the current uncertainties may vanish as your situation changes, new uncertainties linked to your new context, will always appear.
As uncertainty is always present in life, it is worthwhile to learn to develop our tolerance of it.
Living with uncertainty is less threatening and all-consuming when you learn to practise acceptance. By acknowledging the limits of what you can control, and accepting the ambiguities that you currently face, you can diminish the power that uncertainty brings. In accepting, you acknowledge the present situation and your feelings about it, rather than try to continue to fight against them. The situation and the emotions invoked within you still remain. By accepting that in this moment, in the here and now, this is the situation, and that cannot be changed, you will find a renewed energy that will enable you to continue to move forward in your life.
Living with uncertainty can be very draining on many levels. By positively choosing to nurture yourself, by following a healthy diet, prioritising quality sleep, and making time daily for rest, relaxation and play, you can start to restore your own emotional and physical health. When you do so, you will notice an increase in your experience of the joy of living. You will also become aware of an enhanced resilience to the ups and downs that each day brings.
Recognise your thoughts as thoughts.
When you are living with uncertainty you may find that your mind plays and replays certain thoughts and thought patterns. As humans, we have an inherent negativity bias. This means we will spend more time thinking about negative events than positive ones. We also tend to react more strongly to negative situations. Our brains respond to thoughts as though we were experiencing reality, unless we choose to intervene. By choosing to identify when you are having an unhelpful thought e.g. “This is never going to end” you can step back and observe that thought, before deciding what to do with it. In this way you can avoid being consumed by negative thinking.
Choose what you give your attention to.
You can always choose what you give your attention to. Practically, this may mean deciding to engage in daily mindfulness or meditation, or perhaps limiting your daily news exposure.
Exert yourself daily.
Physically. By scheduling in daily exercise you will find it easier to maintain a clear perspective. You will also find that it will become easier not to engage in old patterns of worrying and overanalysing.
Grow your relationships.
By devoting more time and energy to your relationships you will find your own inner strength will be renewed. Additionally, through making this positive choice, your own sense of self will be enhanced. In addition, you will rediscover the profound strength and happiness that is reawakened through the power of meaningful human connection.
If you are struggling to manage the impact of your uncertainty in your life and would like to discover how hypnotherapy can help you, contact me for a free consultation. Through hypnotherapy, you can change your responses to uncertainty, positively impacting upon the way you will experience uncertainty, not just at this time, but for every time, for the rest of your life.