Uncertain means lacking confidence in how to proceed, not knowing what to do or believe, not being able to decide in regards to making a decision, not know beyond doubt, not clearly defined or identified. Unpredictable, unsettled, unstable, fluctuating are synonyms of uncertain. Credit to many online dictionaries for input into the definitions and synonyms.
The environment of the world we are living in contains uncertainties. If you think about it life has alway been uncertain. This is nothing new. The majority of people’s perceptions prior to COVID19 was that what was going to happen and occur on a daily basis was pretty certain. This perception helped many people cope with the uncertainties of life. Knowing what to and how to live your life created patterns of behavior which helped to calm your brain and body. It worked. When we focus on what we can control and take actions reflective of this our worry and anxiety decreases. We feel better.
Now we have a major health issue thrown into our daily living, where even going to the grocery store can feel uncomfortable and scary. Since March, which seems like four years ago, not four months ago, we have learned there are actions we can take on a daily basis as we live our lives that will reduce the possibility of us getting the coronavirus or giving it to someone. Wearing a mask, keeping some physical space, limiting the amount of people we hang with, washing our hands with a little hand sanitizing, bleach wipes thrown in. When I am feeling uncertain knowing there are actions I can take helps to ground me.
For some this additional uncertainty amps up their anxiety and worrying. In an article in HelpGuide.org “Dealing with Uncertainty during the Coronavirus Pandemic” states “To cope with all this uncertainty, many of us use worrying as a tool for trying to predict the future and avoid nasty surprises. Worrying can make it seem like you have some control over uncertain circumstances. You may believe that it will help you find a solution to your problems or prepare you for the worst. Maybe if you just agonize over a problem long enough, just think through every possibility, or read every opinion online, you’ll find a solution and be able to control the outcome. Unfortunately, none of this works. Chronic worrying can’t give you more control over uncontrollable events; it just robs you of enjoyment in the present, saps your energy, and keeps you up at night. But there are healthier ways to cope with uncertainty—and that begins with adjusting your mindset.”
Yep your mindset is the game changer. Your circumstances will not change. How you look at them will. Let’s put worrying this way. Take the mental energy you are worrying to start blowing up balloons – yes balloons – because when you worry you will not feel better, and the more you worry, well then you worry more and then you worry more because you are worried. This revolving door will make you feel sick. Worrying feels horrible internally and is super uncomfortable. It SUCKS! Yet there are actions you can take to decrease your worry and feeling uncertain.
Begin with acknowledging you are feeling uncertain and it is totally understandable you feel this way. Label how you feel. Have compassion towards yourself. You have the right to feel however you feel. If you are feeling uncertain and worrying say “hello my uncertain worry”. Uncertainty, anxiety, worrying are based off of fear. Recognize that. Reassure your uncertain worry. Yep talk to it. Say “I know you are feeling uncomfortable yet it’s all going to be ok.”
Pay attention to how your body is feeling. Is your heart beating more, do you feel tense, upset belly, headache? Always begin with your breathing and just breath. Slow your breathing down. When you inhale hold it for a bit, breath out slowly, and repeat this pattern until your brain has simmered down some. Focusing on your breathing is something we can do anytime and anywhere.
Change your thoughts from global ones to specific present concerns you have in your life. What are you feel unsettled and uncertain about in your daily living, take actions over what you can control. There are always things you can control. One of my client’s told me his college professor told the class whenever they are feeling uncertain, worried, anxious to go wash their dishes. My client said it does the trick every time. You could wash your dishes, make your bed, pick up your space, clean your bathroom. Go for a walk, run. Take an action.
Make a list of what you are feeling uncertain about. Write down the actions you can take daily in regards to what you can control. In an article in PsychCentral “9 Ways to Ward Off your Worries” states:
“Realize that worrying is a choice and do something better with your time. This is another tip from Zobel Nolan. Sure, we don’t have complete control over our thoughts, but thinking of worry as a choice is empowering. You don’t have to feed your worry.Once Zobel Nolan notices that worries are swirling in her head, she focuses on another activity, “something that requires your complete mental attention.”Think of your favorite activities that distract you, calm you down and give you laser-like focus. Maybe that’s reading inspiring lines from a book, praying, meditating or doing a puzzle.
Flood a piece of paper with your worries. When your brain is bursting with worries, write them down. Release all those cooped-up worries from the corners of your mind, and let the paper deal with them. By writing down your worries, you feel as though you’re emptying your brain, and you feel lighter and less tense.”
There are things in your life you can control, including actions you take to help yourself feel more in control and feel better. I know sometimes when I am sitting and stewing about something the simple action of getting up and doing something helps my brain move through the uncertainty it was focused on, helping me to feel better. I also know when I practice a daily routine of good sleep, exercise, keeping hydrated, limiting screen time, and keeping my environment mostly tidy and clean I feel more grounded and calm. Do I always want to do these proactive actions? Nope. Do I sometimes feel uncertain? Yep. Yet I keep doing these actions it helps me. I feel better as a person.
“When life puts you in tough situations don’t say ‘Why me’ say ‘Try me’.”
Magnificent human beings take care of yourselves. Take actions to help you cope, feel confident, and calm. Find your recipe for your success that works for you. I believe in you. I know you will flip your uncertainty into you feeling certain about you and all you can do.
May your certain be with you💜