The inability to accept the uncertainty in our lives can be a fertile breeding ground for worry and anxiety. So few things in life are rock-solid certain! With so many situations, there’s at least some ambiguity, some uncertainty about how things will go. Trying to think through all the possible outcomes of any situation in a vain attempt to turn uncertainty into a sure thing is exhausting and ultimately adds to anxiety.
Constantly trying to predict or control the future robs the here and now of any joy.
What are a few things we can do to reduce the anxiety of uncertainty?
- Remain in the here and now. If you’re constantly trying to live the future before it gets here, you’ll miss out on the joy of life—because life is happening in the now!
- Make plans for the future, but keep them flexible. Sure, we all need to take steps to accomplish our goals. We do need to prepare for things that we think will come down the road. However, we need to keep our plans reasonable. Don’t expect yourself to achieve a particular goal without allowing for the possibility of missteps or even failures. People who expect to attain any goal, whether it’s learning a new language or picking the right apartment, without some fuss and mess are leaving themselves wide open for discouragement and disappointment.
- Flexibility is a must. As I mentioned in #2, planning must be flexible, but we have to be flexible ourselves. Rigidity in our outlooks and perceptions will always lead to a mismatch between what we expect and what happens.
- Did I mention expectations? It’s best if we remember that expectations can cause as much pain as anything else. Keep your mind open work with each situation as it develops organically and fluidly.
These are just a few ways you can reduce anxiety over the uncertainties in life. Stay centered in the here and now, make reasonable, reality-based plans, shelve pre-conceptions and rigid expectations, and add flexibility into your bag of stress reduction tools.