Dealing with Uncertainty

Dealing with Uncertainty

We cannot predict the result of anything we do with 100% accuracy. Life would actually be quite boring if we could.

Imagine going to a soccer or rugby match knowing exactly which team would win. That would be quite boring. It would be like watching a recording of the match on TV the following day when you already know what the result is.

Or what about taking part in a competition where you had a 100% chance of winning. I don’t think the feeling of winning would be quite the same if it was guaranteed.

So uncertainty is actually a good thing. It’s what makes life fun, exciting and enjoyable.   The problem comes when the uncertainty is negative.

How do you deal with negative uncertainty in a way that will relieve anxiety quickly? – Well, one thing that really helps is a good level of self-confidence. I believe that confidence is the opposite of anxiety.

If life is uncertain, what can you be certain about? – We can be certain about having the confidence to do our best and the confidence to handle whatever happens.

Long-term Focus

In the longer term, things are much more predictable. If you eat the right foods consistently for months or years, then the chances are very likely that you will have a healthy life.

Same with mental health. If you focus on being grateful, think positive and take action on your goals and dreams, then in a few years’ time, you’re far more likely to be successful and happier than someone who doesn’t do that.  So as you can see, in the long term, results are actually quite predictable.  Uncertainty is really a short-term issue in most instances.

Knowing what is within your control

People that feel anxious worry a lot about things that are outside of their control. This is especially true when other people are involved.  Remember that you can influence others, but you cannot directly control them.

Ask yourself, “Can I really control the outcome, or can I only influence it?

Focus on the things that you can control. When that involves other people, do the best you can.  Then be okay with whatever the outcome is in that situation, knowing that you’ve done your best.

Just the simple shift of knowing what is within your control and what isn’t can really help relieve anxiety quickly.

Taking Action

Thinking too much about something can lead you to overwhelm, indecision, and procrastination. A good thing to remember is that thinking is not doing.

I encourage you to look at situations that are making you feel anxious, and ask yourself, “What have I done in the last week to make this situation better?” or “What have I done in the last week to deal with it better in some way?” If the answer is not a lot, then taking some kind of action, even if it’s not the best option, will help you replace anxiety with feelings of confidence.

If something seems overwhelming, break it down into steps, and then do the first step today and notice how the anxiety feelings start to wash away.

Focus on the External World and Other People

This is really about getting out of your own head. I have found that anxiety tends to be an inside job. It involves spending too much time thinking about your problem and not being in the present.

Instead, become more aware of the external world. When you’re walking, notice the flowers in people’s gardens. Notice what other people are doing. Notice the sky and clouds. Really notice what is happening around you.

Focus and be more grateful for the things you do have. Notice the problems that other people have, and share empathy for them. Help them if you can. Helping others will make you feel better, but more importantly, it gets you out of your own head and this really helps relieve anxiety quickly.

Focus on the Skills, Abilities and Experience that you DO Have

People with anxiety feelings tend to overestimate risk and overestimate the things that can go wrong.  They underestimate what they can actually do about it and their level of confidence to deal with it successfully.

Think about past anxious situations that you have dealt with successfully, and ask yourself, “How did I overcome similar obstacles in the past?” or “Where else in my life have I used the skills, abilities, and experiences that I could use now?” or “How have I handled these things in the past?”

Maybe you didn’t handle them as well as you would have liked. However, still focus on how you did handle them, and then use some of those skills and abilities and apply them to this situation.  Then notice how this can relieve your anxiety quickly.

Perfectionism

It’s natural to want to perform well and to the best of your ability.  To be as effective as you can. However, could you be putting too much pressure on yourself?

Being a perfectionist is essential in some occupations. You would want your brain surgeon to be a perfectionist! However, in many situations, being good and doing something to the best of your ability is more important (and less anxiety-producing) than being an absolute perfectionist.

It’s more important to make progress and improve as you go along. If you’re a writer, ask yourself, “Would it be better to have four books that are 80% perfect rather than one book that is 100% perfect?” How many more people would benefit from four books that are 80% perfect than the one book that’s absolutely 100%.

You don’t have to be perfect at everything!

Think about the things in life that don’t have to be perfect. Things like housework, ironing or preparing food.  These don’t have to be absolutely perfect. It’s not an all or nothing situation.

Focus on the things that really need to be perfect and make them perfect.  For everything else, focus on making them good enough. This will help you reduce anxiety and stress generally.

If you’re the kind of person that requires everything in your life to be absolutely perfect, then you are going to suffer from a high level of anxiety.  If that’s you, take on this idea of being a perfectionist of some things and notice how this helps you relieve anxiety quickly.

Become an Internal Control Freak

Trying to control everything externally in your life is exhausting and simply not possible. So I suggest that you let go of the things that you can’t control. Instead, you can become an internal control freak! – A control freak for your mind!

There are a number of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) techniques that can help you to become an internal control freak. Here are a few of them.

If you have a lot of internal dialogue or self-talk, try turning down the volume of the self-talk. Although this dialogue is in your head, it can often be perceived as sounding quite loud. Imagine turning down the volume of this internal dialogue.  If you can, stop reading and do this now!   Make it really quiet and notice how your feelings change.

Internal dialogue or self-talk can sometimes be perceived as very authoritarian. This possibly came from teachers at school or your parents, who needed to be very authoritarian at times to keep you out of trouble.

Listen to your self-talk.  If it sounds authoritarian, make it sound naughty instead. A naughty female French accent works really well for many people!  Imagine saying the thing that’s making you anxious with a naughty French accent. What might that be like?  This can be a fun way to relieve anxiety quickly.

Also, watch your language! Looking out for non-choice words such as “I should”, “I must” or “I have to,”.  These words indicate a lack of choice and sound quite authoritarian too. Use words such as “I could”, “I can” or “I choose to.” instead.  This will give you the feeling of having choices and options which is probably closer to reality anyway.

If you often imagine things going wrong, then make the images smaller and in black and white. This will help reduce the anxiety feelings.

So experiment with the above NLP techniques and notice how these can help you relieve anxiety quickly.

So these are my strategies for helping you relieve anxiety quickly in your life by dealing with the root causes. There is a lot of practical information here and I really encourage you to apply as many of these tips as you can. They will help you immensely if you work on them consistently.

If you enjoyed reading this article, please leave a comment or question below.  I would love to hear what you think! 

from my heart to yours,

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