How to Handle Uncertainty in Life

Doubts, fear, and anxiety – these are but common human reactions when we talk about the unpredictable future and uncertainties. Humans as we are, we are creatures of habits. We would like to be in control and when prompted with uncertainties we feel stressed and anxious.

However, in as much as we would like to, we cannot completely take control of what’s going to happen in the future. Even when you think you've curled into a cozy cocoon of predictability, anything could change in a heartbeat. The only thing that is constant is change.

Will I get a promotion in the upcoming performance review? what if my new boss and I don’t get along? can I be a great mother? what if this investment doesn't go well? Whenever we do not know exactly how things will go, we end up being stressed. This is because there is always the possibility of failure. 

No one is immune to change and uncertainties. The best thing we can do then is to adapt and live with uncertainties with optimism. Here are some practical tips on how to deal with uncertainty so you live happier.

Replace Expectations with Plans

You know very well how expectations can lead to disappointments. Instead of setting high expectations, create plans - focus on what you'll do to create what you want to experience.. Planning provides motivation and will inspire you to be the best version of yourself to achieve your goals.

Get Confident about your Coping and Adapting Skills

This does not mean that you become a pessimist. It simply means that you are confident in your ability to handle whatever life throws at you.

Fluidity is one of the best attributes you should develop. With adaptability there is progression. Trust that when life throws a curveball, you have the necessary skills and tools to embrace the changes and succeed from any obstacles.

Reflect on Your Past Successes

Think about how you were able to survive life’s adversities in the past. You were able to do a great job before, which means you are more than capable than your doubts and fears. 

Give yourself big credit on the previous challenges. Reflect on what you did during that event that was helpful, and what you might like to do similarly or differently this time.

Focus on What You Can Control

When uncertainty strikes, many people immediately imagine worst-case scenarios. Get out of the habit of ruminating on negative events.Rather than focusing your energy worrying, maintain focus on the things that you are able to control. You can work on enhancing your skills or develop new skills and habits, to create a clearer vision of what can occur in future and build your confidence at the same time. 

Accept and Embrace the Possibility of Chaos

Failure, also construed as chaos, is where things go wrong without the possibility of correction. Chaos seems like an unavoidable part of the future, but is also an important part of the growth and learning processes. Be open-minded and maintain the right perspective so you can embrace uncertainties with optimism.

Form a positive mindset and remind yourself constantly that even if things go completely wrong, you are open minded enough to see an opportunity in every scenario.

Practice Mindfulness

The easiest way to fall into the trap of stress and anxiety cycle is by being so fixated about the future which you cannot control. By doing so, you are neglecting the beauty of the things happening in the present. Learn to live and enjoy the present moment - connect with the people you love and have fun with the simplest things surrounding you.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a couple of minutes to focus on your breathing. Breathing meditation may seem too easy or even a little silly, but you’ll be surprised by how calm you feel afterward and how much easier it is to let go of distracting thoughts.

While meditation is the best way to become more mindful, it isn't the only approach, yoga and other exercises are also helpful in releasing negative feelings. They help you focus on what's good in today, the present, this moment. 

Don’t be a Perfectionist

People with inner peace don’t set perfection as their target because they know there’s no such thing as a perfect decision in an uncertain situation. Think about it: human beings, by our very nature, are fallible. 

Setting high standards is not wrong per se. But this can hinder you from living a contented and genuinely happy life. You can’t always expect things to run smoothly, nor will events always align as what you may have planned or desired. Don’t be too hard on yourself by being centered towards perfection.

Be kind to yourself

Some people are better at dealing with uncertainties than others, so don’t beat yourself up when your tolerance for unpredictability is lower than a friend’s. Be patient to yourself - remind yourself that it's natural that you feel worried and stressed, it might take some more time for the stressful situation to resolve.

Moreover, engage more in self-care during tough time - don’t let stress derail your healthy routines. Make more efforts to eat well, exercise and get enough sleep. 

To say the least, uncertainty is a part and parcel of our life. Regardless of how much you’ve planned for your future, still, uncertainty is inevitable.

Instead of putting too much pressure on your self, you can look at uncertainty in life as challenges and opportunities. And while you’re at it consider the tips mentioned in this article to keep your self on top on all these uncertainties and welcome the future with a more positive outlook in life.

Focus more on your opportunities, not your fear, and gradually you'll feel a lot better!