How to Stay Calm in Times of Uncertainty
It’s human nature to want to know what the future holds. We like to plan things out and prevent any possible emergencies. However, these are uncertain times. It’s difficult to see forward to next week, much less next year. For people who tend to experience stress or anxiety, uncertainty tends to make those feelings worse.
In the face of uncertainty, it’s necessary to remain as calm as possible and think rationally. For some people, uncertainty can lead to denial. Believing that adverse events will never happen to you can prevent you from preparing or planning adequately. On the other hand, only assuming that the worst will happen can keep you from enjoying your life and appreciating what you have. The best way to deal with uncertainty is to function somewhere in the middle of the two extremes. Here are a few ways to help you cope.
Avoid Information Overload
Staying informed is vital. But it’s also essential to remain calm. Keeping on top of what’s happening in the world or local news can help you plan for emergencies and prevent negative outcomes. Too much news, though, can make it seem as if everything is a disaster and inevitable. Appoint a few times each day to gather information from a valid state, federal, hospital, or emergency sites. Keep away from too much news. The excess anxiety that news overload can create prevents people from being calm and effective when necessary.
Recognize Irrational Versus Rational Thought
It’s important to recognize when you are thinking irrationally. Anxiety may cause someone to catastrophize. This means seeing only being able to see the worst outcome of a situation. Catastrophizing can make people blow risks out of proportion and think irrationally. When a person catastrophizes, the brain creates the worst stories and believes it to be true.
Rational thoughts are based on fact and valid information, rather than fiction. The human brain is not evolved to think rationally. It’s trained by evolution to react through emotion and memories. Rational thinking takes practice. It also demands the ability to recognize anxious thoughts and manage them. However, logical thinking enables people to handle uncertainty in a healthy and safe manner,
Stick to Routines
It’s easier said than done. But in times of uncertainty, sticking to a routine can help keep a person grounded. Especially for children, a routine provides something predictable and secure during uncertain times. Routines don’t have to be intricate or last all day. It can be having a sleep routine before bed every night. Or waking up and exercising at the same time each day. These routines help to provide a sense of certainty during uncertain times.
It’s difficult to give in to uncertainty. As humans, we try to change the world to fit into our plans. We like to create an environment where we are always in control. Unfortunately, that kind of control is impossible. Sometimes, the best we can do is prepare as much as we rationally can and then roll with the punches.
The most important act we can do for ourselves and our loved ones, especially during times of uncertainty, is to have hope. Keep in touch with those you care about. Be kind to the people around you. Remind yourself and your loved ones that challenges are finite and temporary. Hope sees us through to the other side of the challenge.