Dealing with Uncertainty
I have had a few client sessions this week where dealing with uncertainty has been something of a focus. Given the current circumstances globally, it is of no great surprise that uncertainty features so heavily in people’s experience.
As human beings, a healthy balance of uncertainty and certainty in life keeps us nicely oscillating between excitement and challenge on the one side and rest and relaxation on the other. Too much certainty can trigger boredom, too much uncertainty could lead to overwhelming fear.
At the risk of stating the obvious, it could be argued that what we want in the face of uncertainty, is the ability to deal with whatever life throws at us in a highly competent and productive manner, with clarity and poise. If we can do this while remaining calm and collected, that’s a bonus. But how do we achieve that?
Life is all about managing our internal experience. The better we are at managing our internal experience, our feelings, sensations and thoughts, the better we are at effectively dealing with life circumstances.
Problems usually arise when we:
- focus too much on trying to control or manage the external – situations, people and not enough attention to appropriately managing and processing our internal feelings and sensations.
- get caught up in negative mind-loops or try to battle our thoughts (false positivity)
So what do we need to do to effectively deal with uncertainty? Here are some areas you can look to:
- Attention – uncertainty is all about the future and what we don’t know. Missing information can elicit fear based emotions – nervous, worry, concern, dread, scared, etc. Our attention is extremely powerful, and the more attention we give to missing information, the more fear the body will produce. Redirecting attention away from missing information is the first step. This is not burying your head in the sand, it’s understanding the factors that influence your internal experience and acting wisely. Choose carefully where you place your attention.
- Control – from external to internal. Human beings have an in-built need to have a degree of control or autonomy over themselves, their choices, decisions and life direction. When we place our attention on those things in life that lie outside of our control, and believe ourselves to be victims of circumstance, tension levels increase in the body and fear based emotions arise. Simply by redirecting attention towards what we can control will result in a lowering of tension and stress without anything changing in external life. What can we control or direct? Our attention, our words and our actions. In practice, we need to accept and allow events and refocus on what we want and what are we going to do, what action are we going to take.
- It’s all about feelings. For the most part, our natural instinct is to try and control external life. We do this because we assume that our feelings are directly caused by events, situations and people, so in order to control our feelings we seek to control what goes on ‘out there’. An alternative is to redirect our focus from the external to the internal. Life doesn’t directly cause what we feel. Our feelings are created internally, our reality emerges through us. The better we get at acknowledging, allowing and acting on our feelings and intuitions the less we need to control external life. When you acknowledge and allow your feelings without having to block, resist, surpress or solve them, you step into your personal power.
- Be more present. Uncertainty can pull us into a future focus, but this just leads to focusing on more missing information, “what if this happens, what if that happens”, etc. Bringing our attention back to the now moment can be vital, it helps to connect with the body and align with our feelings and intuitions. There is only now, so let’s embrace the now moment.
- Connect. Human beings are designed to connect. We exist in relation to each other and have the ability to balance and regulate each other through connection. When you feel overwhelmed with uncertainty, reach out to those close to you. Share your thoughts and feelings, be true to yourself and trust your feelings and intuitions.
These are just a few thoughts, a few ideas on how you can use the inside-out Energy-Flow Coaching approach to address uncertainty in these crazy times.
p.s. If you like this, grab a copy of my book, The Intelligent Body, https://amzn.to/3crr4mv.