The future is headspinningly unpredictable and we are living in a world where it seems that absolutely anything is possible. You may well be asking yourself “What on earth is going to happen next?”
It doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. I have a personal mantra on my office wall that says “Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen!” It is so important for our mental health to live in hope and maintain balance and perspective even during the most challenging times.
Uncertainty however can also fuel fear; anxiety and paralysis, which will inhibit your ability to thrive in times of flux. Your brain essentially is hardwired to react to uncertainty with fear. As you face uncertainty, your brain could so easily push you to overreact. The ability to be able to override this reaction and move your thinking into a more rational direction is fundamental in terms of dealing with uncertainty in the modern world.
There are many ways that you can help yourself to cope with uncertainty and here are a few suggestions:
1. Avoid the doom and drama
In times of uncertainty there will be lots of gaps of information, which some people want to fill in anyway. Uncertainty can create a playground for the doom goblins and drama queens who perversely enjoy stoking up any negativitythey can. They will be predicting all sorts of doom and gloom and if you get absorbed in the gossip, scaremongering and toxicity it will drag you down and make you feel anxious. Balance your exposure to negative media and remove yourself from environments wherever possible where this kind of behaviour is rife. You don’t have to listen to it and you certainly don’t have to be part of it. That is entirely your choice.
2. Stay positive
One of the great benefits of positive thinking is that it can quiet the fear and irrational mind chatter by focusing your thoughts on something that is more calming. Thoughts are powerful triggers for emotions and for every negative niggling doubt that you have, on the flip side there will always be a more hopeful alternative. Give your wandering mind a little help by consciously selecting something positive to think about. Create a positive sanctuary in your mind by focusing on a happy memory or a dream for the future that will refocus your attention.
3. Avoid crystal ball gazing
Sometimes a fertile imagination can be your own worst enemy and you may find yourself getting lost in your own feelings. If you are not careful you may take out the imaginary crystal ball and start to “catastrophise” about the future. You cannot possibly predict the future; you can however feel less anxious by fostering positive thoughts about the alternative possibilities.
4. Manage your inner control freak
Let’s face it we all like to be in control, however, in some situations you have to put your trust in others’ hands. For example, if you found out that you were going to be made redundant or you were diagnosed with an illness you would need to accept that you couldn’t just wave a magic wand and make the situation go away. It would be impossible to be totally in control of absolutely every situation in your life. You run the risk of putting your body under immense stress if you focus on trying to control things that are out of your control.
5. Get on with it!
The best antidote for anxiety is action. Uncertainty can have quite a paralysing effect as you may feel that with lack of information you simply don’t know which way to turn! Decision-making on occasions can be an agonising process, especially if you you feel that you don’t have enough information. Uncertainty, on some occasions, may mean that you don’t necessarily make the right decision. However, don’t let that put you off, sometimes even a wrong decision is better than no decision, and besides, a mistake is simply a learning opportunity in disguise.