Dealing with Uncertainty and the Unknown
I don't deal well with uncertainty. I like to feel prepared. I like to expect a particular thing, and I like when that particular thing happens. I don't cope well with sudden changes in plans, and I don't remain calm when disaster strikes. The unknown is a major source of anxiety for me--often, my fear of the unexpected future is debilitating. I've been working on living with uncertainty, though, diving into the unknown with curiosity instead of anxiety. Read on for two of my favorite ideas for dealing with uncertainty.
Deal with Uncertainty by Planning for It
The first practice that helps me deal with uncertainty is to make room for it in the first place. I love to plan things, and I like to pretend that I can control every outcome. But the truth is that I can't. No matter how dedicated I may be to the task, life has a way of throwing inconvenient curveballs.
So when I draw out a detailed plan, I leave some space for uncertainty. I tell myself that it's okay if things don't go perfectly. This could look like allowing extra time driving to work in case of an accident on the road; it could also look like saying "yes" to a spontaneous activity that sounds fun and not overthinking it. This way, I don't feel as thrown off when something unexpected enters my life.
Deal with Uncertainty by Focusing on the Present Moment
But sometimes, I don't even make it that far. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in my own head that I can't look to the future without cowering in fright. In these scenarios, I bring myself to the present moment. I ask myself, "What do I need to do right now?" That could be getting out of bed, walking to school, or eating lunch. I take deep breaths.
What needs my attention in these moments is my current self, not my future self. In fact, focusing on the present moment not only distracts me from the gigantic worries I have about the unknown, but it actually helps me feel more ready for an uncertain future.
The Unknown Doesn't Have to Be Scary
These are only two tips out of many that can help you deal with the anxiety you feel about the future. Feeling nervous in the face of uncertainty is okay. Just remember that the unknown doesn't have to be scary. Sure, you don't know what's ahead, but isn't that a little exciting?
There are great experiences, people, and places waiting for you that you haven't even dreamt of yet. So lean in a bit, and try not to run from the unknown. You don't need to go diving into it just yet, but you can start learning to deal with uncertainty. The future is bright.
Clawson, A. (2021, June 16). Dealing with Uncertainty and the Unknown, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, July 27 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/mentalhealthforthedigitalgeneration/2021/6/dealing-with-uncertainty-and-the-unknown