When nothing is certain, everything is possible

How to deal with anxiety and distress around the unknown

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Over the last weeks, I’ve often thought about the inherent fear that we humans have of change, which unfortunately seems to increase as we age. In fact, we sometimes even worry about the things that are stable, never mind the ones that are undergoing transformation. Today, I want to share with you my personal feelings of anxiety and distress around the unknown as well as how I deal with them.

One of the issues that most worries me is my profession. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love what I do and have no doubt that it is exactly what I am supposed to be doing. But my career is still transitioning from that of a hard-core scientist to that of a health coach with an established business, and the financial uncertainty of the future that comes with being an entrepreneur sometimes gets to me. On the other hand, the learning curve has been tremendous, and I thoroughly enjoy my teaching, my clients, as well as the whole experience of writing and publishing my first book.

It is not my intention to write a long story today about the role of stability on mental strength and resilience, but I do feel that it is important to have some aspects of our lives solidly established to positively confront the ones that are changing. Our stability and self-worth are multi-faceted and differ from person to person, coming from things such family, work, a sport, friends, your home, a community group, cooking, an interest such as painting or photography… and so on.

I personally find that my internal strength is directly associated with the number of aspects that are established and ok in my life. And the more solid I am internally, the greater my capacity to face change is. Therefore, when I feel unstable, I start off by thinking of three aspects in my life that are at their best at that moment,. Focusing on these helps me gain from their solidity, and brings mental stability in an otherwise unpredictable time. Also, what is good and stable serves as my basis for expansion, and thus to reinforce and solidify other aspects of my life as well as to explore the unknown…

As unsettling as change can be, the idea of avoiding change to evade pain or failure is even more terrifying to me, since it is precisely change that is needed for growth and improvement. Also, truth be told, change is inevitable… as nothing in life is static.

In the face of the unknown, I find it really helps to consciously take control of what I can in a directed and creative manner without spending superfluous time on worrying. When I do get that inevitable “heavy chest” or “shaky brain” feeling, I take deep breath and bring myself back to my solid place and focus on what I can control.

It always helps me to remember my intentions… and to relish in going beyond my current limits. There is something wonderful about the unknown… because when nothing is certain, everything is possible. 

This story was first posted on Sofia’s blog (, August 15, 2017).

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