The world has undergone a radical shift during the last two years. The pandemic, like a spider has spun a web of life changing routines and experiences in our lives. Never did we ever imagine a virus dominating and influencing our every thought and action. For many, life is gripped with a host of negative emotions leading to the fear of uncertainty.
Our very survival is based on routines. Security is derived from the fact that we know more or less what follows, as we are creatures of habit. What happens when things spiral out of control? How do we salvage ourselves?
Research shows that people react differently to uncertainty, and that those with a higher intolerance for uncertainty may be less resilient and more prone to low mood, negative or down feelings, and anxiety.
No one can avoid the unexpected. But these simple steps by the American Psychological Association can help you better face life’s uncertainties.
Be kind to yourself. Some people are better at dealing with uncertainties than others, so don’t beat yourself up if your tolerance for unpredictability is lower than a friend’s. Remind yourself that it might take time for the stressful situation to resolve, and be patient with yourself in the meantime.
Reflect on past successes. Chances are you’ve overcome stressful events in the past—and you survived! Give yourself credit. Reflect on what you did during that event that was helpful and what you might like to do differently this time.
Develop new skills. When life is relatively calm, make a point to try things outside your comfort zone. From standing up to a difficult boss to trying a new sport, taking risks helps you develop confidence and skills that come in handy when life veers off course.
Limit exposure to news. When we’re stressed about something, it can be hard to look away. But compulsively checking the news only keeps you wound up. Try to limit your check-ins and avoid the news during vulnerable times of day, such as right before bedtime.
Avoid dwelling on things you can’t control. When uncertainty strikes, many people immediately imagine worst-case scenarios. Get out of the habit of ruminating on negative events.
Take your own advice. Ask yourself: If a friend came to me with this worry, what would I tell her? Imagining your situation from the outside can often provide perspective and fresh ideas.
Engage in self-care. Don’t let stress derail your healthy routines. Make efforts to eat well, exercise, and get enough sleep. Many people find stress release in practices such as yoga and meditation.
Seek support from those you trust. Many people isolate themselves when they’re stressed or worried. But social support is important, so reach out to family and friends.
Control what you can. Focus on the things that are within your control, even if it’s as simple as weekly meal planning or laying out your clothes the night before a stressful day. Establish routines to give your days and weeks some comforting structure.
Ask for help. If you’re having trouble managing stress and coping with uncertainty on your own, ask for help. Psychologists are experts in helping people develop healthy ways to cope with stress.
If the above steps are followed it will ensure that you will be able to take stock and control of your current situation. Maneuvering life will be easier and manageable. But remember this too shall pass and all of it is just temporary, so hang in there and live your life.
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