Health UPP

Tips for Handling Uncertainty

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Health Upp

The great unknown can be a lot of things—exciting, full of potential, and even scary. Worries and fears are normal and experienced by everyone. There are effective ways to face fears, as well as to handle uncertainty, with strength and acceptance.

Always know that if you are experiencing a mental health concern, licensed mental health professionals are available to offer you support and compassionate care. MyTherapist is a resource for advice and mental health counseling.

Fear of the unknown is common and can feel uncomfortable, but there are tools you can use to handle uncertainty: 

Avoid dwelling on things you cannot control.

  • Remember that you can’t control the future.
  • Worrying will not change the outcome.
  • Work on building resilience—the strength to adapt well in the face of stress, trauma, or difficulties.

Accept the reality of change.

  • Change is a part of life.
  • Sometimes change can be for the best. Sometimes it doesn’t seem so positive. However, most people find that change can promote growth, even if it’s not immediate.

Don’t forget your past challenges and successes.

  • Think about ways you were strong in the past to fuel your strength to face uncertainty in the present and the future.

Maintain an optimistic or hopeful outlook.

  • Visualizing the positive, instead of what you fear, can help you build a positive mindset.

Increase your flexibility.

  • Recognize that life can be uncertain and may not go as planned, but that you can be flexible and change to cope with the unexpected.

Practice self-kindness and don’t compare yourself to others.

  • People handle uncertainty in different ways. If you take a bit longer than others to cope with the unexpected or to resolve stress, be kind to yourself. Accept it and work on helpful ways you can move forward.

Try limiting your exposure to news.

  • Bad news can make life feel more uncertain. Constantly hearing negative stories can take a toll on your stress levels. Try limiting your exposure to news. For instance, you might set a time to check the news once a day, but try to avoid a constant stream of alerts.

Give yourself advice.

  • What would you tell a friend about coping with uncertainty? How would you help them? Take your advice and apply it to your own situation.

Rely on the support of those you trust—and those who have a positive outlook.

    • Connections with others can help you feel secure, supported, and capable of facing the unknown. Relationships with those who are more positive and less “doom and gloom” may be most helpful and
      Question your assumptions about uncertainty.
    • Is your fear of the unknown based on facts? Do you assume the worst will happen, when, in fact, there could be alternative outcomes?

 Control what you can.

    • While you can’t control the future, you can control your actions in the present. Try making a to-do list of actions you can take to feel better. For instance, if you’re worried about an uncertain health outcome, perhaps scheduling a doctor’s appointment would help.

 Accept that failure is an option.

    • Accepting that failure or negative outcomes may—or may not—happen can lead to a sense of calm.

 Take care of yourself.

  • If you eat nutritiously, get enough and regular sleep, and exercise, you’ll likely increase your chances of feeling better and will then be more equipped to handle adversity if it arises.
  • Handling Uncertainty is part of life. You may not be able to control it, but you can work on feeling more comfortable with it. Focusing on what you can do and strengthening a positive outlook can help you cope with the unknown.

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