Thursday, October 6, 2011

Dealing with Uncertainty in Life

Life has many ups and downs. There are times in our lives when it can feel like life has control of us more than we have control over it. There are times when we are all faced with situations, which seem bigger than we are. Where the situations we are in seem to have power over the direction of our lives. It can be those moments when you face uncertainty about your job, relationship, health, loved ones, etc. This can lead to a negative pattern of thinking and reacting, which makes your life feel all that more out of control and inevitably bring with it feeling of insecurity, fear, anxiety, worry, self-doubt, depression, and sometimes can even feel totally overwhelming. So, what do you do? How can you cope with such uncertainty? How do you not let it control you? I have put together these strategies to help you deal with the uncertainty of life and the insecurity that follows.
Don’t Get Paralyzed
All too often, when we have great uncertainty in our lives, we have a tendency to become paralyzed by it. We allow it to consume us and take all of our energy thinking, worrying, and focusing on every detail of the situation in which you seem to find yourself. When you realize that you are dealing with a life uncertainty, you must come to terms with the fact that you are really at war with it within your own mind. The direction in which your mind thinks, so your emotions will follow! Typically, the mind becomes consumed with playing out all of the possible negative scenarios regarding the situation. This only makes you feel worse and more paralyzed and fearful of the future. Rather, you can realize that you need to take control of your thinking. Most people don’t understand that they actually can choose what to think about. Making the conscious choice on not only what to think, but how we choose to view it can greatly impact how we feel and what it is that can be done to help the situation.
Focus On What is in Your Control
You may be asking yourself, “then what am I supposed to think about?” Well, it can be very helpful to do the simple exercise of drawing a circle on a piece of paper, write (outside the circle) all the things you feel are outside of your control in the given situation. Then within the circle, write all of the things that are within your control. It is human nature to have our minds roam, when you catch yourself see what it is that you are thinking about unconsciously. This is precisely where you end up expending most of your energy! When you catch yourself thinking negatively, make the conscious choice to focus on the things that are only in your control with this situation. It means that you have to actively let go of that which is not in your control. Tell yourself that worrying about the situation will not change it. You cannot control the situation, but you can control your own response to it. You can do things (even if they seem small) to make some change to the situation and it all starts with how you use your thoughts. Your decisions are far more powerful than your circumstances.
Prepare and Plan
Take action where you can take action. The more active you are in preparation, the better you will feel about the situation. Brainstorm possibilities and don’t just think about acting - do what you can do now.
Make plans for what you can make plans for. There is another exercise that works very well in letting go of the stress of any situation. Imagine yourself, one minute after the thing you fear most has just happened. Put yourself in that position. Now what? How do you feel? What has changed? What can be done?
Often times, the worrying about an event happening worse than the reality once it does happen. By mentally preparing for the worst, you can drop the worrying that leads up to it. That way if anything other than the worst scenario happens you are already prepared and at ease.
Evaluate Your Life
At times when life has great uncertainty, it can give rise to self-evaluation. Evaluating one’s life is not a bad thing, as long as it doesn’t move a person into a “victim” role, where people see themselves only as a victim of their circumstances. When you take on a “victim” role, you end up giving away your power. Rather, use this time of re-evaluation to make positive decisions for yourself and the situation. It may be that reprioritizing some aspects of your life might be in order. Make yourself and your happiness your top priority and anything that deviates from that plan should be redirected.
Talk, Write, Exercise, and Vent the Stress
When there is a lot of uncertainty, there can also be a lot of stress. Stress affects different people in different ways. Talking about your stress and the feelings that the uncertainty can bring up all sorts of issues; sometimes even deeper hidden emotions of past traumas and experiences, thus making your current situation seem all that more traumatic. When issues are unresolved they tend to remain trapped in the body and can manifest into physical pain and even disease. They will also resurface in interesting ways, especially when a stress triggers a similar emotion. By asking yourself where this emotion is coming from and seeing if you are perpetuating some other unresolved issue helps make clear not only the situation in which you find yourself, but also past tramatic events. Find ways to deal with stress; talking it out, journaling, exercising, laughing, doing something you enjoy are great ways to deal with the stress. The focus should just be to LET IT OUT.
Find Opportunities Within the Crisis
The Chinese character for crisis is made up of two other characters – Danger and Opportunity. Within any crisis, there are always opportunities. The opportunity may be in the growth that can happen in your own life. The opportunity can be that it makes you take action to pursue new things within your life. Or the opportunity may be how it can possibly enhance and enrich your relationship with your spouse and children. Whatever the opportunity – find it, take it, seize it and use it. See the blessings that come from the situation. To help balance you during times of uncertainty, it is always valuable to incorporate “an attitude of gratitude”. Look at all of your life and take the time to note anything and everything for which you are thankful. This simple thing can change your outlook in a matter of minutes.
Reach Out and Access all your Resources
When you face life uncertainties, you need to reach out as much as possible. Don’t become a hermit and seclude yourself away, and don’t become a super hero who never shows their vulnerability to anyone else. Those approaches to dealing with stressful uncertainty are unhealthy and can end up hurting you. Rather, you need to reach out to all the resources that are around you. Reach out to people with whom you feel safe. Reach out spiritually. Reach out to support groups, books, or Internet resources. And if you feel like you are getting stuck emotionally, seek help – go to a counselor, life coach, shaman, priest, or whomever you feel called to seek for help. It may be the best gift you ever give to yourself, the truth is you don’t have to suffer through it alone. There are ALWAYS resources available.
Be Fearless
If you are going to achieve success you have to let go of your fear. Fear is the most common emotions that holds us into negative ways of thinking and being. When we embrace what it unknown and what scares us, we are able to live to our full potential. Start by repeatedly telling yourself that you are fearless and that you choose not to live in fear. By repeating this mantra you will be better able to handle fear when it does arise and come from a place of power. You may also be called to ask God, Source, Angels, Beings of Light, or the specific energies you need (such as courage, strength, fearlessness, hope, wisdom, etc) to be with your throughout your day. This will help set the intention and support for living the life you want.
So as you can see there are many things that you can do to help come from an empowered place, even when you feel life leaves you with a lot of questions. Life is unfolding in the most perfect way, so stop trying to control it and just accept it for what it is. Always remember, “Life happens while you are busy making plans for it,” so stop wasting all your life worrying about it and go out and LIVE IT!