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Jen Gwynn Jones shows us how to find quick relief when navigating uncertainty.
Uncertainty can be found everywhere, and that can be unsettling. The recent Facebook dramas perhaps meant your routine as an individual was disrupted, or perhaps your business plans needed to be reworked because of the policy change—and now change back—at Facebook.
There will always be uncertainty in life. This is an uncomfortable truth. We feel safest and most secure when we understand what is happening and feel a level of control over our own lives, but our sphere of control is far more limited than we really like to believe.
It is perfectly normal for us to resist this truth. Uncertainty can be an uncomfortable feeling, and in our fast-moving, dynamic society uncertainty seems to be everywhere.
“So what do I do about that?”
The long-term goal would be to try to feel more comfortable with uncertainty. Learning to lean into the discomfort and to soften around the unpleasant feelings that it can invoke. This involves practicing mindfulness and learning to observe your feelings with self-compassion.
But if you’d like some immediate relief, try these two steps.
Firstly, bring yourself back to the present moment.
When we are lost in the discomfort of uncertainty we are often ruminating about future scenarios, things that haven’t happened yet (and may never happen). We can bring our attention back to the ‘here and now’ by focusing on our breath or nearby sounds for a minute or two.
Secondly, remind yourself of the things you do have control over.
This might be a short list but it can make a significant difference. Using the Facebook drama to demonstrate this point, these might include getting mindful about how you use your time online, signing up to newsletters, scheduling time in your calendar to scan news sites, or brainstorming new ways of making business connections if your business was affected.
Remind yourself of the resources that you can draw upon. These might include, wise friends, trusted mentors, inspirational leaders or authors, your fluffy pet who always lifts your mood, and of course your own experience and resilience.
Uncertainty can be uncomfortable and is unavoidable. It is indeed a certainty in life, but we are not helpless in the face of it. A pause to return to the present moment and a practical list or two can help us better bear the uncertainties of modern life.