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  • Writer's pictureBright Light Counseling Center

From Pandemics to Politics: Managing Uncertainty in a World of Constant Change

Updated: 7 days ago

Feeling overwhelmed and anxious by the constant change and uncertainty in the world today? You're not alone. With the ongoing pandemic, political unrest, and economic uncertainty, it's no wonder that many people are struggling with anxiety. But there are things you can do to cope with these difficult times. As experts in anxiety treatment, we've compiled a list of five tips to help you manage uncertainty and feel more in control. From acknowledging and accepting uncertainty to staying connected with others, read on for our advice on how to navigate a world of constant change.


Here are 5 tips that can help you cope with uncertainty in a world of constant change:


1. Acknowledge and accept uncertainty.


One of the first steps in coping with uncertainty is to acknowledge and accept it as a natural part of life. There is no way to always know and predict the future. When you start to recognize that there are many things that are beyond your control you start to free up time and energy to focus on the things that you can control.


I know that uncertainty can be tough to deal with and the thought of “just accepting it” is probably sparking your anxiety. I'm going to say it again, it's important to acknowledge and accept uncertainty as a natural part of life. Whether it's the uncertainty of a job search, a health scare, or the state of the world, it's important to recognize that there are many things that are beyond our control. By accepting this, we can begin to focus on the things we can control and take steps forward.


So, what exactly is acceptance? Acceptance doesn’t mean that you like what is occurring or even that you agree with it. Acceptance is noticing the present moment, our thoughts and our feelings and being with them, without judging or fighting them.

man of color with eye closed taking deep mindful breathes

One way to start accepting uncertainty is to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness involves being present in the moment, without judgment or distraction. When you focus on the present, you choose one thing to focus on, such as your breath, and keep your attention here. If you are distracted by thoughts, sounds, feelings, etc., you will practice noticing the distraction and redirecting your attention back to your breath. Mindfulness helps you to increase your ability to be present in the here and now and notice what is occurring in the present moment. This will allow you to disengage from worries about the past or the future and simply be. You can be mindful in many situations, as long as we are choosing one thing to focus on in the present moment. You can engage in mindfulness of your breath, mindfully eating an orange, or a mindful walk. Mindfulness practices can help cultivate a sense of calm and acceptance, even in the face of uncertainty.


Another way to accept uncertainty is to challenge your beliefs about it. Often, our beliefs about uncertainty can contribute to our anxiety. For example, you may believe that uncertainty is intolerable or that you must have all the answers. By challenging these beliefs and reframing them, you can begin to feel more comfortable with uncertainty. Example of a thought reframe:

  • Unhelpful thought: If I can't be in control and predict the future, then something terrible will happen.

  • Reframed thought: While I may not have control over everything or the ability to predict the future, I can handle whatever comes my way and find solutions as needed.

Acknowledging and accepting uncertainty is an ongoing process. It's okay to have days where you feel overwhelmed or uncertain. But by practicing self-compassion and staying mindful, you can learn to manage uncertainty in a healthy and positive way. With time and practice, you can build resilience and develop a greater sense of peace in the face of uncertainty.


2: Practice self-care.

Woman of color leaning on her knees outside engaging in relaxation

In times of uncertainty, it's important to take care of yourself. Practicing self-care can help you feel more grounded and in control, even when things are uncertain. Here are a few ideas for practicing self-care:

  1. Make time for relaxation: Carve out time in your schedule to do things that help you relax and unwind. This could be as simple as taking a warm bath, reading a good book, or listening to calming music.

  2. Get moving: Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and boost your mood. Try going for a walk, practicing yoga, or taking a dance class. Movement - in whatever way feels good and joyful to you. It does not have to be a 30 minute hard core cardio workout, it can be a 3 min all out dance jam to your favorite song.

  3. Connect with others: Social support is essential for our well-being. Reach out to friends and loved ones for support, or consider joining a support group or participating in therapy.

  4. Be kind to yourself: Noticing when you are being over critical, judgmental, and negative about yourself is an important first step is untangling yourself from these unhelp thoughts, beliefs, and actions.

Self-care is not a one-size-fits-all approach. What works for one person may not work for another. Experiment with different self-care activities until you find what works best for you. By taking care of yourself, you can build resilience and feel more equipped to handle uncertainty and anxiety.


3. Stay informed, but set boundaries with your news habits.

woman focused on computer while daughter eats breakfast

It's important to stay informed about what's happening in the world, but consuming too much news can be overwhelming and stressful. Without boundaries you may find yourself getting lost and doom scrolling content and digging deep rabbit holes. Developing healthy news habits will help create balance and cope with anxiety and uncertainty. One way to set boundaries around how much news you consume and when you consume it is to limit your news intake to a certain time of day or to a specific news source. You can use phone apps to help manage how much you access social media apps. Also, take breaks from the news. Set aside time to focus on other activities that bring you joy and help you to recharge.


4. Stay connected.

man talking on cell phone while sitting outside

Maintaining social connections can be especially important during times of uncertainty. Social support can play a critical role in helping you cope with difficult current events. Here are a few ways in which social support can be beneficial:

  1. Provides emotional support: Social support can provide a source of emotional support, which is especially important during times of uncertainty. Having someone to talk to and share your feelings with can help you feel less alone and more understood.

  2. Fosters a sense of community: Social support can help foster a sense of community and belonging. This can be especially important during times of crisis when you may feel disconnected or isolated.

  3. Promotes healthy coping strategies: Social support can also promote healthy coping strategies. Talking to others about your experiences and feelings can help you gain perspective and develop new coping strategies.

Staying connected doesn't have to be complicated. Simple acts like sending a text message or making a phone call can go a long way in fostering a sense of connection and community.


One way to enrich your connections with others is through creating a gratitude practice. Each day, share something you're grateful for with one another. This can help foster a sense of connection and positivity during difficult times.


Additionally, if you're struggling to connect with others, consider reaching out to a mental health professional or support group for additional guidance and support.


5. Focus on what you can control.


It's easy to feel overwhelmed by uncertainty, especially when events are out of our control. However, it's important to remember that there are things within your control. Focusing on what's in your control can help you feel more empowered and reduce feelings of anxiety and stress.


Here are some examples of things that you may be able to control during difficult current events

  1. You are in control of how you respond to your feelings. What are your favorite coping and soothing skills when you are spiraling in uncertainty? We like engaging in soothing through your senses. For example using your sense of touch to soothe and ground yourself. You can use your favorite lotion or body oil and spend time massaging it into your skin. You can soothe through sound by cueing up your favorite playlist - maybe even dancing around the room while you listen.

  2. You are in control of how you respond to your thoughts. You are in control of whether you fuse with your thoughts and engage in catastrophizing and anxiety spirals or if you notice and label your thought as just a thought or find evidence to refute your thoughts.

  3. You are in control of your environment. You can create a calm and supportive environment. A calm and soothing space can help reduce stress and anxiety. This may include decluttering your space, practicing relaxation techniques, or creating a routine.

organized and decluttered desk with potted plant

By focusing on what's in your control, you can feel more empowered and develop a sense of resilience during difficult current events. Remember, small changes can make a big difference, so focus on what you can control and take action where possible.


In Conclusion


Remember, coping with uncertainty is a process, and it's okay to feel overwhelmed at times. By implementing these tips, you can develop resilience and a sense of control even in the face of ongoing change and uncertainty. If you're struggling with anxiety or finding it difficult to cope, don't hesitate to reach out to us for additional support and guidance. Our highly trained therapists are experts in helping you cope with anxiety and uncertainty. We know that it is not easy, especially as it seems a new crisis and world event happens everyday, but you do not have to live in a constant state of stress and overwhelm.




 

Disclaimer: Our content is on and related to the topic of mental health. The content is general information that may or may not apply to you. The content is not a substitute for professional services. This website does not contain professional advice, nor is any professional-client relationship established with you through your use of this website.

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