In my work as an HR professional, in my life as a Mom, and in my study of human nature, I have many opportunities to observe people. It is infinitely clear that human beings do not “sit well” in situations of uncertainty. Some handle it better than others but very few master peace in the midst of the storm.
Along the way I have learned a few coping mechanisms that seem to help.
> Focus on the things you can control. For example, if there is uncertainty about your job security the things you can control are your preparedness if the loss occurs. Do you have a resume? Are you connected to your industry or networks? Do you have a mentor? Are you living within your means? Do you have financial support if things get tight. All of these, and more, are things that you can control in your readiness and reactions. And no matter what area of your life the uncertainty is attacking from, there are always things you can control. If nothing else, what you can control is what you learn about it. Information is power. And if you have a plan for the worst case scenario, you know you’ll be able to handle anything of a lesser degree.
> Learn stress management techniques. Even being prepared doesn’t mean you won’t be under stress during the uncertainty, as well as after change is known. Stress is the underlying cause of so many things that go wrong with our health. Do you know how to breathe differently to alleviate stress? Do you exercise and eat well to fuel the body that needs to take you through it all? Are you aware of when you hold your breath or tense your muscles and how you can, in just a few seconds, relax your body? Do you ground yourself in faith or community as a means of venting and seeking support? By having a way for your body to thrive vs. breakdown under stress you can minimize the physical effects and maintain, or heal, if necessary.
> Follow your passion! When things are all up in the air it is so helpful to redirect your energy toward things that fan the flame of your passion. If uncertainty lies in health, work, relationships, etc., knowing what brings your soul alive allows you to progress by learning, sharing, teaching, participating, planning, and doing things that you love. Be it writing, art, music, volunteering, creating of any kind, whatever you enjoy doing, it can help you. Look for ways to do something related to your passion at least once a week, if not more.
Having a positive energy flow at times of uncertainty helps put things in a different balance of perspective. And reminding yourself that “this too shall pass” is a great way to prevent a fatalistic attitude. Even in the midst of the unknown we know it won’t last forever. It is a season amongst many ebbing and flowing seasons.
Frankly, none of this is rocket science. Most people know these things intellectually but don’t often practice what they know. The hard part is, if you are not putting coping mechanisms in place before you need them, you might struggle more than you have to in the midst of the chaos. The best thing we can do for ourselves is really understand our options before we need them.
What are some other ways that you deal with uncertainty? We can all learn from each other. Be blessed!