I don’t need to tell you that we are living in times of rapid change and unprecedented uncertainty, which can be very disorientating! Particularly those with a predisposition for anxiety (but in fact most people) are feeling trepidatious about what the future holds. So when faced with so much uncertainty, what can you do to feel as grounded and as stable as possible?
Here are my top tips for dealing with uncertainty:
1. Get clear about what you can control and what you can’t control.
An increase in uncertainty can trigger a heightened need to control external circumstances as much as possible. However, the more controlling you become, the more likely you are to experience stress and overwhelm, and also to be difficult for other people to deal with if you are imposing your high need for control over them.
It is important to be crystal clear about what is in your control, and what is not. For example, time spent worrying about what other people are doing is detrimental, because you have no direct control over that. There will be areas where you have influence, yes, but be realistic and disciplined about the extent of this.
2. Spend your time and energy on the things you can control.
Anything that is not in your control must be acknowledged and consciously let go of. You only have a limited amount of time, money and emotional and physical energy so you need to spend it wisely. The best investment of your resources is in the areas where you have the most control or influence, and that starts with yourself. Prioritise the areas of your life that require attention, and do what you can to improve or stabilise them. Where will you get the most ‘bang for your buck’ so to speak? Start there – it will give you a confidence boost and help you realise you are not powerless, regardless of what is happening in the wider world. Even small steps are valuable, because cumulatively they can make a big impact.
3. Beware of endless rumination.
Anxious thought patterns that have been allowed to spiral out of control will cause you no end of stress and worry, and will likely affect your ability to relax and sleep at night. There are many techniques you can learn to disconnect or dissociate from the endless stream of thoughts in your mind. I teach several such methods during my hypnotherapy sessions. Meditation and mindfulness techniques are also incredibly valuable tools to acquire. Keeping a clear and balanced mind is paramount to emotional stability.
4. Reframe uncertainty
It is important to acknowledge that not all uncertainty is bad. Whenever things shift or change, there is the opportunity for realignment to an even better future. Sometimes things need to crumble and fall for something new and better to be born. Be open and curious about what you can make from the current situation, regardless of how it initially looks on the outside. Order can often emerge from chaos.
5. Ground yourself in nature.
In times of uncertainty, mother nature is stable and unchanging. Trees, forests, sand, surf, lakes – whatever your preference, nature will return you to the essence of who you are. Spend time everyday disconnecting from screens and the material world so you can immerse yourself in the beauty and calm of the natural world. This will ground you in both body and mind. Spending time with animals has a similar effect.
6. Trust yourself
In times of great uncertainty, the only thing you every really have control over is yourself and how you respond to life. If you can trust yourself to deal effectively with whatever comes your way, if you can trust that you are strong and capable and resourceful, you will feel an increased sense of confidence and faith in your ability to survive and thrive. Difficult times test us to the core, but it is in these moments of challenge that your greatest qualities are forged. You are capable of far more than you think!