Will I get the job? Will my house sell? Will my presentation go well? Many of us have worried about how future events may turn out at one time or another but for some people, feeling uncertain about things outside their control can be intolerable. These individuals may experience extreme levels of stress and anxiety, and battle to find certainty or feel in control.
Life may be easier if we knew everything in advance but until we invent a time travel machine or reliable crystal ball, that’s impossible. In the meantime, the more we fight against uncertainty, the more anxious we tend to feel. The answer is to accept uncertainty into your life. When we choose to tolerate not always knowing the outcome, we spend less time engaging in unhelpful thinking patterns and behaviours that perpetuate anxiety. It’s important to clarify that acceptance is not the same as approval or giving up; we merely choose to stop fighting reality to improve our present mental and emotional state.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is one of the gold standard treatments for working with anxiety. We’ve borrowed a few techniques to help you start down the road of acceptance.
Look at the advantages and disadvantages of accepting uncertainty
Look at why you think fighting uncertainty is helpful and how it negatively impacts you. It’s likely that the disadvantages will outweigh the benefits, giving you a new perspective.
Think about times in your life that you already accept uncertainty
You may not realise it but there are probably areas of your life where you accept some degree of uncertainty – perhaps meeting someone new or trying a new cafe. Exploring your reasoning and applying the same attitude to more challenging situations could be helpful.
Consider the evidence for negative assumptions
We may unconsciously assume uncertainty means a negative outcome but if we take a closer look at the evidence from past events, we often discover the outcome is rarely as bad as we predict it’s going to be.
Imagine what life could look like without uncertainty
Believe it or not, there are positives to uncertainty. Envisage what life would be like if we knew everything that would happen. There’d be nothing to look forward to or get excited about – movies and TV episodes wouldn’t be very enjoyable if we always knew what would happen next.
If you’re struggling to manage worry about uncertainty or experiencing anxiety for any other reason, PsychMed are here to help. Call us on 8232 2424 to organise an appointment with one of our psychologists and talk through how you’re feeling.
Follow us on Facebook for more exciting news!