Back in 2020, we discovered our human race’s enormous ability to cope with uncertainty. All of us on this earth received the impact of the Covid outbreak. Humanity had to sit in vast uncertainty for an unknown period. We had a first-hand masterclass on the uncertain!
We still do not know what has happened. Even though there were mistakes and unknown things, the more we tried to cling to our beliefs and assumptions the better we felt from that yawing fear of the unknown. Governments, religions, and everyone sought an explanation that would try to calm the anxiety with no result. We saw an enormous increase in mental health services demands due to the unhandled anxiety caused by this fear. This pandemic just catered to our greatest weakness, our fear of the unknown.
Why we fear the unknown
We wish to control the outcomes of our decisions. We like to predict the future and feel we have certain control. That makes us feel safe. Any time we take an action we are taking a risk. Sorry to say there is always uncertainty in life. There is always a certain level of risk in any decision. What keeps us sane is weighing the potential benefits of each risk and measuring the consequences in case it goes wrong.
The problem appears when there is so much uncertainty that we are unable to calculate what we are giving up, and what we are gaining, that’s when anxiety increases, fears take place and we do not know what to do with ourselves. Usually, in these cases, we tend to operate off the worst scenario to protect ourselves.
Too much uncertainty is bad …
Uncertainty puts our system on guard. It increases our adrenaline levels. It puts us in defensive mode. Our whole body gets defensive to protect ourselves from something that we feel might cause a certain danger or, threat.
During the covid outbreak, the unknown was in the air. All areas of our life as we knew them were unstable and uncertain. Our health was in danger, and our health system collapsed. We were stuck in our houses. Our support system, family, and friends were unavailable. Our finances were at risk, with all the locked-down businesses just collapsed. The fears made stress levels get so high that the anxiety was difficult to manage.
So, stress is normal. Excessive stress can cause damage. Sustained excessive stress weakens our immune system, leaving us more propane to get sick, and interrupting our ability to analyze properly circumstances. Under excessive stress, we do not make good decisions.
Sorry to say, certainty is an illusion.
There are almost no certainties in life We spend so much of our time trying to control the uncontrollable in a constant effort to reduce the anxiety that overcomes the sense of uncertainty. The way we manage the consequences of uncertainty changes from one to another. Some have developed healthy coping tools, and others just deny it and, deal with this fear by imagining certainty. Sorry to say, certainty is an illusion.
Learn to live with uncertainty.
My secret? Roll with the ball. Know that uncertainty is in the world. Cope with it, oversee the feats, control what you can, and let go of what does not depend on you. Be open to change and exercise the process to adjust to challenges. Be resilient.
Few tips that might help…
- Allow yourself to feel bad about uncertainty. Denying only makes you more anxious. Develop coping tools and make yourself more resilient towards uncertainty by just sitting with it.
- Build routines and habits. There are habits you can have to help control a tiny part of your life. Routines will give you a better sense of control, predictability, and stability. Discipline is necessary under uncertain circumstances.
- Be creative. You will need to be more tolerant of frustration, Uncertainty requires flexibility You will have to develop creativity and search for new answers to new questions.