• Hannah Guy, LCSW

Dealing with Uncertainty

One of the hardest things I see people deal with is periods of uncertainty. When you're living in the unknown and there could be a handful of different outcomes. Uncertainty can be the breeding grounds for anxiety and doubt.

When this happens, we start to question ourself and we go through and think over and over again about all the potential outcomes We can become restless, wanting to hit the fast forward button to avoid feeling this way. It can be one of the most unsettling feelings. We try to prepare ourselves for every outcome which actually only seems to make it worse. We even start going into panic mode and it can seem like it is the end of the world.

So what in the world are we supposed to do when this happens? I'd like to say, avoid it altogether but if it were that easy I probably wouldn't even need to write this post. But what I would say is one of the most important things is to stop, pause, and focus on the moment. Grounding techniques or deep breathing can be really helpful during these times. Remind yourself that being in the here and now is one of the things you can control.

We probably eventually will get to a space where we feel we cannot tolerate being uncomfortable any longer and we just need it to stop. Sometimes it literally feels like we are sick to our stomach. When we feel like this we might want to try to distract ourselves. Distraction can be helpful in getting through difficult times. Anything that can get your mind off of the uncertainty, even for a second, will be helpful. That will look different for a lot of people. Going for a walk with a friend, listening to your favorite music, playing with your dog etc. are all ways that can help distract you.

Try, if you can, to look at the big picture. This is only part of your story, whatever outcome happens it will not define you. It's so easy for us to catastrophize things and go to the worst case scenario. Most of the time, even in the worst case scenario, we still come out the other end. Maybe we come out more bruised than before, but we come out and continue our journey.

I can't emphasize this more...use your support system. This is already a hard time and you don't need to be alone. Its okay to ask for help.

It's okay if you have a meltdown. Sometimes we need to let this happen so we can release the built-up tension and stress our bodies are holding onto. You don't need to fight the urge to cry or yell, this is a completely normal thing that in the end will probably make you feel better.

At the end of the day, know that whatever the outcome is you already have the strength and resilience in you to make it through. It's okay to stumble in life, in fact, it should be expected.

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