Battling Uncertainty

Without doubt, there is substantial stress caused by concern, or uncertainty over the future and ironically, uncertainty is one of the certainties of life. It is our brain’s innate quality to seek information about the future, similar to how the brain craves other primal rewards like food or sex. Your brain's defense against ambiguity is the diminished ability to focus on anything other than creating certainty.


The effects of uncertainty can be more detrimental to your overall well being than the actual loss itself. For instance the uncertainty of a job is more stressful and anxiety inducing than actually losing the job


The most effective way to battle uncertainty is to stop attempting to create it Sounds easy, right? As are most things, this is of course easier said than done. Learning to live with ambiguity is one of the greatest challenges. 2020 threw a curveball into our best-laid plans and presented us with one of the greatest opportunities to find and know acceptance..


Detach from the Outcome + Do Not Resist


Change is constant and certain When change, challenge or uncertainty unexpectedly arrive, can you find a way to lean in? Resistance causes unnecessary stress and in many instances the outcome is out of your control; it is not productive to be caught up in the “shoulds,” It has been said here before, are you should-ing all over yourself? Resistance does not support learning, growing, changing, finding equanimity, or finding resolution or recovery. Finding acceptance is the ultimate practice in detaching from the outcome.


Resistance to change can in increase your pain, suffering, and ultimately your anxiety which in the long run can take a toll on your mental health. Resistance also amplifies paralyzing feelings like fear and worry. The aphorism that what we resist, persists, holds the essence of undeniable truth. Meet life where it is with acceptance, open arms and an open heart; there you will find the true essence of peace This can help you to arrive in the present moment and allow you the space to move forward without attachment to outcome.


Keep in mind, acceptance does not mean you escape from the feelings challenging situations and challenging people perpetuate, but instead, you accept those feelings. Acceptance will help you proactively move forward.


Do Not Undervalue Yourself


You are your most valuable asset. It is vital to invest in yourself so that you do not become depleted. This includes caring for your mind, body, and spirit. The most important maintenance you can do is on yourself. Perhaps this looks like rest for you, perhaps this looks like having fun and doing something that truly sparks joy. It is important to figure out what you need to refuel Self.


Self-care looks and feels different for everyone. Find the best self-care routine for you and stick with it. Sticking to a self-care routine is not selfish, and in fact, self-care helps to build self-confidence, helps you to recognize your own self-worth and can help you explore what personal growth looks like..


Check Your Negative Self-Talk


Being your own worst critic is common but being cruel to yourself is diminishing, and can leave you feeling worthless. You do not have to believe everything you think. Uncertainty can perpetuate negative inner dialogue and leave you feeling like the worst case scenario is the end all, be all.


Stressful thoughts can lead to unnecessary emotional reactivity. Stressful thoughts can also cause you to react as if something stressful has already happened, and while sometimes life is stressful, your thoughts alone have a strong pull on what you experience in your body. There is no use in suffering, or grieving over things or people you have not yet lost but your mind can prematurely take you through this experience.


Happiness is free, as well as a choice. Getting too caught up in your expectations and stressful thoughts can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy and you can end up missing out on opportunities as opposed to responding to life’s situations and challenges with creativity and grit.


To battle your thoughts continuously turn your mind towards gratitude.


What is certain is uncertainty and although our brains have been rigged by expectation it is certainly easier to be in the flow of life, without expectation. Get out of your own way and into the present moment.

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© 2020 by Markesha Miller, Ph.D.