Living with Uncertainty
Updated: Nov 12, 2020
This year has certainly been one of uncertainty and change, more than ever we have seen how external influences can impact our mental health and wellbeing.
There are many ways we can support our wellbeing both individually and in workplaces to cope with uncertainty and ride the waves of constant change.
Focusing on areas we can control, letting go of those we cannot is a positive starting point.
I love this picture it illustrates beautifully the areas we can and cannot control regarding the current pandemic. How often do we focus though on the areas outside our control? How others behave, how long the current lockdown will last? what will happen next?
If we can start to notice we are thinking about that outer circle then we have a chance to release stress and anxiety. We have an opportunity to think about what we can control and how we can act, we can start to focus on our behaviours, our thoughts.
For me, consuming news and social media can often bring me to that point where I feel overwhelmed with negative stories or things outside my control. As soon as I notice I am going down that wormhole I step away, restrict my social media usage. My Sundays are now completely news and social media free, as that could easily be a day I would scroll aimlessly. This enables me to rest and reset.
Our minds are wired to want certainty, are on high alert for the unknown. When we were cave dwellers having to be aware of whether a saber-toothed tiger was approaching it was a matter of survival, those instincts are still programmed within our reptilian brains. This breeds worry and anxiety regarding the current pandemic.
But we can build new neuro pathways by bringing awareness to our feelings, noticing how we are reacting and then choosing how we respond, rather than getting caught up in the cycle of worry.
The first step on this journey is acknowledging that uncertainty is actually the norm, as we learn to embrace this as our reality we will notice the anxiety reduces and we start to live with acceptance.
You can use the circle of control for any areas in your life, it can be a useful tool to notice where our minds are focusing and bring us back to the centre of the circle.