LIFE. How do we know what is going to happen tomorrow? What about the day after tomorrow? Or a week from now? Or how about a month, a year? Five years, ten years? In the blink of an eye?
Photo Credit: @HKOutsider
How will I cherish every moment that speeds by?
The world we live in is constantly changing and things are constantly happening -- the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic proved this more than ever in our jobs, finances, relationships, and physical and mental health. Everyone is scared of the unknown and nothing gives us more anxiety than the uncertainty.
Leadership psychology expert Tony Robbins developed a theory called Human Needs Psychology that talks about the six human needs everyone has but their importance varies from person to person. Included in these six needs are certainty and uncertainty:
1. Certainty: assurance you can avoid pain and gain pleasure
2. Uncertainty/Variety: the need for the unknown, change, new stimuli
3. Significance: feeling unique, important, special or needed
4. Connection/Love: a strong feeling of closeness or union with someone or something
5. Growth: an expansion of capacity, capability or understanding
6. Contribution: a sense of service and focus on helping, giving to and supporting others
How do the above needs rank in importance for you?
Grasping Your Fear of Uncertainty
Everyone is different in how much uncertainty they can handle in their life. Some people may enjoy and feel empowered by living an unpredictable life, however, others find the randomness of life anxious. There are not a lot of things in our lives that are certain and unchanging. We have control over part of our lives but much of our lives is constantly changing. Just as the coronavirus pandemic has shown: life can be unpredictable and change fast. Everyone is asking themselves, when will the pandemic end? Will life return to normal?
How will I handle the stress of the unknown?
You may already be coping with uncertainty in your life without even knowing it. Maybe you’re invested in the stock market, a constant venture into the unknown. Or maybe you are a parent where you see the direct impact your parenting style has but as a parent you also know that a HUGE part of parenting is embracing the unknown. If you travel a lot you are embracing the unknown; new city or country, getting on a plane, or not speaking the same language.
Lots of people use worrying as a coping mechanism to try to predict the future and avoid the unwanted. Constant worrying will not give you more control over the uncontrollable, it just strips your enjoyment of the present, keeps you from sleeping at night, and uses up all of your energy!
How have your hardships shaped and taught you as you take them into your next learning experiences?
Tips to Help You Confidently Face the Unknown
Identify Your Response to Stress
Fear of the unknown can provide a lot of stress and anxiety. Stressful and unexpected situations will happen in your life but it is YOUR choice how to deal with that stress. Take a look at your life and think about how you have dealt with stressful situations in the past. Only when you know your responses will you be able to change your response to stress. Just relax! Physical activity, meditation, yoga, and other relaxation techniques can help you manage your stress.
Take Action Over Things You Can Control
There are things that you can’t control in life like the coronavirus and how fast it spreads, how it affects the economy, and the effect on travel. Try to remind yourself and refocus your state of mind on the things you can control in your life. For example, if you are stressing about your health during the pandemic, focus on the aspects of your health you can control like physical activity, what you fuel your body with, meditation, sanitization, and wearing a mask. It is important to actively deal with your emotions and not push them aside to deal with later.
Photo Credit: @HKOutsider
Change Your Mindset
Start with how you begin your day - use the start of your day to self-talk and plant positive thoughts at the beginning of the day which will give you energy for your day. It is effective to make a mantra for yourself that you can change depending on how you’re feeling. As mentioned above, remember it is YOUR choice what your response is in a stressful situation.
Challenge Your Need for Certainty & Learn to Accept Uncertainty
Each time you get into the car or get on a plane you accept some level of uncertainty. The likelihood of something happening is small so you can move on without requiring certainty and accept the hazard. Life can change in the blink of an eye and it is not always a bad thing. These unexpected situations can often change our path for the better and create great opportunities. Learning to adapt can increase your resiliency and help you learn to embrace new situations. By confronting your need for certainty you can get rid of negative emotions, stress, and have more energy for more productive situations.
We learn new things when we embrace the fear of the unknown. It will make you a more positive person, it will gratify you, and it will uplift you.
Just remember: the unknown can enhance your life, or abolish it. Embrace it with confidence.