What do you do when you’re faced with uncertainty? How do you cope when there isn’t a clear answer or way forward in front of you?
Maybe you’re waiting to hear a result or waiting for an answer or an outcome. Maybe life just generally feels very uncertain for you. I will help you to break into that uncertainty and explain some ways you can bring in some security and have a break from those anxious, restless, uneasy feelings.
How you deal with uncertainty will depend on your overall coping styles. A coping style is the general way that you manage your mental health and stop negative thoughts from overwhelming you. Within that coping style there will be coping strategies and new coping strategies can be developed around your general coping style.
For example, if your general coping style is to be in full control of your life and your destiny, then you may have developed coping strategies around this. You may do everything on your own because you are more in control that way. You may have a strong desire to know everything so that you have all the information to hand and feel more in control that way.
You may feel less in control of your life generally, and you may deal with uncertainty differently. You may believe that fate, destiny or a higher power is in control of your life and this may help you to deal better with a sense of uncertainty.
Because of traumatic life events, you may have come to believe that you have little or no power anyway. This may make uncertainty harder to deal with as it will trigger other times when you have had no power over what was happening to you. It may also make uncertainty easier to deal with if it is what you have become forced to be accustomed to.
If you are faced with an uncertain situation and you are a person who really needs to be in control of your life, you may really struggle. You may feel like all control is lost and you have no power. If having control over yourself is your main coping style, then uncertain events could really throw you and could be traumatic and lead to extreme reactions such as panic attacks or reliance on addictive behaviours.
How can you feel more in power? What can you do that will make you feel like you have some more control over this uncertain situation? Is there some research you could do to find out more information? Is there a phone call you could make or an email, just to make you feel like you are doing something?
Are you using your support networks? Do you have to go through this alone? Even if another person can’t help you out practically, they could offer you valuable emotional support or provide a welcome distraction. You don’t have to go through it all on your own, and even if you don’t have people in your life, there are people online and support forums and social media groups where people gather to support each other.
Uncertainty can bring many feelings with it. What are you feeling? When you can recognise the feelings and notice them, you can let them go one by one.
Journalling your feelings, writing them down and observing them will help this along. Meditation or any form of mindfulness will help you to notice your feelings from a distance and let them come and go. Your feelings are the results of negative thoughts and they are not permanent, but they will stick around until you have acknowledged them and let them pass.
Sitting quietly and imagining your feelings coming in and out is really helpful. You could imagine them as balloons floating across the sky and drifting off or cars going along a road. Whatever helps you to see that your feelings are non-permanent and will pass and that you do have control over them, although it often doesn’t feel like this.
If you are too restless and aren’t able to practise mindfulness in this way, you could find peace of mind and settle you mind by focusing on one activity. This could be a walk in nature, exercise, reading, watching a favourite programme or film. Music is really good too.
Try to really absorb everything that is going on. Really take it in using all your senses, where possible.
Any activities that involve a rhythmic action and rhythmic sounds and sensations are really good for healing. This is known as somatic healing and puts the mind and body in a more relaxed state. Dancing, music and exercise are all really good for this, as are many other activities.
It is better that you concentrate on one activity at a time and fully immerse yourself in it. When your mind is fully focused on something, there is no space for the negative uncertain thoughts to come in and cause you negative feelings.
Doing jobs and uncompleted tasks will really give you a sense that you are doing something. It will help you to take some control back.
Grounding techniques will help you to feel more settled. There are various good grounding techniques. I won’t go into any specific ones here but I’d recommend looking at some of my other blogs and videos on grounding techniques for anxiety and also doing Google searches as there are a lot of really useful ones out there and it’s important to find one that really works for you.
I hope that this has helped you to deal with uncertainty. Counselling can really help with uncertainty. Working through and processing the uncertain thoughts can really untangle a lot of the confused thoughts and help you to see a clearer way forward. Working out new coping strategies and building on your existing coping styles and strategies can really help.
I offer a free 30-minute consultation and I can work with you in my Darlington room or on Zoom video call or telephone wherever you are in the UK.