Just as we were all getting use to the ‘new normal’, everything has changed again.
Before the pandemic began, I was 26. Now, 30 is a year away. I look back and think WHERE HAS TIME GONE? I feel incredibly overwhelmed as my life is seemingly whizzing by.
There has been a lot of confusion over the last few years as the pandemic started, spiked and we then shifted out of lockdown, to what now feels like more uncertainty. There is no doubt that COVID has changed many things, but how do we manage and embrace all the change and uncertainty that is happening? What should we do when everything feels so out of control?
Living with so much uncertainty is hard. As humans we crave information about the future. Our brains perceive ambiguity as a threat, and tries to protect us by diminishing our ability to focus on anything other than creating certainty.
But sometimes, it’s more effective for us not to attempt to create certainty. Though evolution might have rigged our brains to resist uncertainty, we can never really know what the future will bring. And during unpredictable, unfolding situations like a pandemic or a war, we need to learn to live with ambiguity.
“Uncertainty is the only certainty there is,” wrote mathematician John Allen Paulos. “Knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.”
So how can we best cope when everything feels so out of control?
There’s no doubt: We are living through challenging times. But resisting this current reality won’t help us recover, learn, grow or feel better. Ironically, resistance prolongs our pain and difficulty by amplifying the challenging emotions we are feeling. There is real truth to the saying that “what we resist persists.”
Don’t believe everything you think
I’m sure you have heard the saying that ‘your thoughts are your reality’ or ‘what you think you become.’
Your mind and your thoughts are an incredibly powerful asset to you. They shape and have huge influence in the outcome of many things and so, perhaps the most essential stress-reduction tactic that anyone has ever taught me is to not believe everything I think. In uncertain times, it’s particularly important not to believe thoughts that argue for the worst-case scenario.
Stop looking for someone to rescue you
Probably my toughest lesson I’ve learned. No one is going to rescue you and do it for you. When we act as though we are powerless, we get trapped in narratives that leave us feeling angry and helpless. And we start hoping other people will save us from our misery.
I know these are a lot easier said than done, but embracing uncertainty and change is the best way to combat it, resisting will add more stress and worry to your life. Focus on the things you can and be flexible in your approach to new and challenging hurdles that may arise.