Living With Uncertainty (and Embracing It)

Life is uncertain. Things can change in an instant; we can go to bed with our world one way and wake to something completely different. It is hard to accept that there are certain things beyond our control, but that is just the way life works. For some people, though, this can cause a great deal of anxiety and stress. They struggle with the idea that they don’t know what is happening next.

Do you manage uncertainty well? When you are facing the prospect of losing your job or you are having difficulties in a relationship it can be very hard to handle the fact that you simply can’t control the outcome of the situation. Not knowing what is next can be maddening. Learning to cope with uncertainty, to accept it, can help you live a happier, healthier, less stressful life.

Practice flexibility.

If you go through life thinking that things should be a certain way, you are going to be disappointed. Leaving yourself open to other outcomes, different possibilities, is far less stressful. It allows you to stop setting yourself up for disappointment after disappointment. In Chinese culture, flexibility is associated with life while rigidity means death. Even outcomes that you didn’t want or didn’t expect can still provide some positives.

Acknowledge that living with uncertainty may not be ideal, but you can tolerate it.

It is important to come to terms with the fact that uncertainty is just a part of life. Is it ideal? No. Can you tolerate it? You can learn. Allow yourself to be open to the unknown, not knowing what’s next or what may or may not happen.

Go to a restaurant without reading the reviews first.

Attend an event without knowing if anyone you know will be in attendance.

Grab a book just because the cover and topic seem interesting.

Do things that help you adapt to the idea that uncertainty is OK.

Find what you can control and take action on that.

In every situation, no matter how uncertain, there are elements that you can control. It may be something significant that will direct the course of the incident or it can be as simple as controlling your reaction to what’s going on around you. You may need to take a step back to get perspective but when you do you will find that life is so much easier. Take action on the things you can control and let go of the things you can’t.

Use stress relief techniques.

When things in your life – or even your whole life – is uncertain, it can increase anxiety and stress. Employing stress relief techniques can be very beneficial for giving you peace of mind. Getting started with meditation is a very effective way of maintaining balance and promoting calm.

Stay in the moment.

When things are uncertain it's important to remind yourself that there are some things you can’t control. Keep your mind in the present. Look at the things around you that you can influence, the things that you know.

You can still find peace and be happy even if you don’t have all of the answers. Living with uncertainty doesn’t have to be negative or scary.

Sometimes it can actually be quite beautiful.