Dealing with Uncertainty

Darryl Bachmeier
Jul 1, 2020

Are you afraid that you will become diseased if you use the public restroom? Are you worried that you will lose your money in the market? Are you worried that your plane might crash? Are you afraid that you will be attacked by a terrorist if you go to America? Do you talk every night that your partner may leave you? What does each of these concerns and rumors have in common? This is uncertain intolerance. In each case, you have to consider the possibility of these things happening.

What is the probability of being killed by a terrorist? Almost zero. What is the probability of the plane crashing? Almost zero. On the other hand, will you lose your money in the market? Almost zero.

From an evolutionary perspective, humans are structured to anticipate danger, to be prepared for it, and to fight against it.

In today’s world, there are various dangers that we need to adapt to, but our brains are still the same, and as a result, we act with the same response.

What’s Wrong With Being Intolerant Of Uncertainty?

Obviously, it is natural and common for most people to be a bit awkward in a state of uncertainty. We want to know that the restaurant we go to serves the food we like. Those we invite to the party will be acquaintances of ours, and that our employer will tell us what he thinks about our work performance.

What Do People Do Who Are Intolerant Of Uncertainty Do?

Suppose you can’t have uncertainty in your life. In that case, you do things designed to eliminate all uncertainty in everyday life situations, or you avoid uncertainties altogether.

This is how the people behave when they are intolerant of uncertainty-

  1. Seek more reassurance from others: This is where you can ask the opinion of friends or family on a decision you have to make.

  2. Making a list: As a way to eliminate uncertainty, some people create long and detailed “to do” lists, and sometimes several list each day.

  3. Double check: For example, calling loved ones, again and again, to “confirm” that they are OK or re-reading emails to check that they are correct and that there are no misspellings.

  4. Refusal to delegate tasks to others: People who are intolerant of uncertainty will not allow anyone to do specific tasks at work or at home; because if they don’t do it, they can’t say for sure that it will be done right.

  5. Postponement / Avoidance: Some people simply postpone or avoid people, places, or situations because being uncertain causes anxiety. If you do not do something, you do not have to feel uncertain.

  6. Distraction: Many who are intolerant of uncertainty keep themselves “busy”; in that sense, they have no time to think about all the uncertainties of life.

6 Tips On How To Deal With Uncertainty

Use self-pity

Most of the people are dealing with different types of uncertainties. In such a situation, you should take a few minutes to sit down with your emotions.

Remind yourself that even if you experience anxiety, worry or stress, your feelings are normal and right.

Sometimes we struggle with what we feel. No one wants to feel bad! But trying to push or avoid your emotions leads to intensifying them.

As a result, you may feel worse. At other times, we punish ourselves for our feelings, branding or criticizing ourselves for leading to unnecessary stress.

Alternatively, try to be compassionate about yourself and pay attention to what you think and feel. Allow space for your answer. You are only human; you have a right to your experience at that time. Write down your thoughts and feelings can help you sometimes, so take a step back from them.

Acceptance training

Acceptance in this context is an attempt to reflect and integrate the notion that life is uncertain and has always been.

Uncertainty is part of the existence of humans, which you do every day, even if you do not know it!

There are so many other things in your life that no matter how hard you try, you can’t be entirely sure about it.

When you try to control events that are beyond your control, you may feel oppressed and powerless.

Conversely, sometimes it can be very free to admit that you have limited control over events and that you have to live with uncertain moments.

Be in the present

No one can predict the future. No one has a clear sense of what is going to happen. We cannot control what others think, or behave, and we cannot control what life throws at us.

Sometimes we think spin or try to distract ourselves by focusing on past or possible future events.

Instead, we learn how to deal with uncertainty so that it does not overwhelm us.

The mind helps. Remind yourself to be in the present, be careful and vigilant about what is happening in your life right now. Also, express gratitude as much as possible.

Reflect on past experiences

The past experiences, mostly the negative or difficult ones, offer us tremendous growth opportunities. It may seem hard to accept this as we go through them, but it will be useful to look back at what we have learned and how we can use it in the coming time. Think about some previous experiences, and how you had to deal with uncertainty.

You may have found flexibility, you may have found that you have better organizational skills, or you may have realized whom you can trust in your life.

Whatever it was, you gained valuable insights. Those skills and abilities will support you in future uncertain situations.

Practice self-defense disciplines

In moments of uncertainty, we may feel stressed, trapped, or overwhelmed. Having habits and positive activities will help you, which will allow you to take a break and recharge your batteries.

These should be simple actions, they do not take much time, and they are easy to introduce into your daily routine.

Ask these questions to yourself:

  • What makes me feel relaxed?

  • What gives me peace of mind?

  • What helps me to recharge?

Plan for change and uncertainty

To feel more prepared about the unexpected things that may come in your life, create a plan that you can go back to when needed. In this way, you can feel more positive about how to deal with uncertainty.

Use your plan whenever you need to, modify it, and adapt it to the specific situations you go to.

  • How do I generally manage the uncertainty?
  • How do I accept happiness and show the passion understanding for my emotions and myself?
  • What are the skills and strengths I can use if something changeable comes my way?
  • What practices of self-care have I developed that can support me in circumstances of uncertainty?

Bottom lines

Uncertainty is hard to deal with. Therefore, use the self-compassion and acceptance, stay in the present, learn from your past, and start planning for your future.

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