Life these days is just simply, uncertain. Each day brings with it new surprises and challenges, more so than just a few short months ago. When we feel like we do not have a sense of control we start to freak out - and we become anxious and insecure. This is the brain playing tricks on you, because, in life we do not ever control outcomes, we only control ourselves and how we respond to stimulus. SO, we are all getting a crash course in what control really looks like… and for some it’s not pretty. Why? Because they have not had practice challenging assumptions and negative thoughts, and learning to redirect their energy to learning about themselves, what they think, and how they respond. The universe is giving us an opportunity to shift our approach to gaining confidence and security, from the false comfort of “controlling” the outcome, and focusing on external validators and factors, to focusing on ourselves as individuals and learning to reconnect to who we are, and how to self soothe.
So let's get to it… how do we do this? This is a long process. But, we have to start somewhere! Here is a list of 3 ways that you can start gaining real control of your life, starting today. By learning to manage your thoughts and emotions, and thus limiting your anxiety and unease.
1. Give yourself permission to be uncertain.
This one might sound silly, but it's so important. The anxiety that comes with uncertainty is often attached to the deeply held belief that I should not be uncertain, or rather, that I should be certain. Take this pressure off yourself because this is a limiting belief. It’s not possible to have control over what you are uncertain about. Some things take time to become clear, so give yourself permission to sit with uncertainty – it's not a bad thing, rather, it's inevitable! So the better you can get at training your brain to not fear or dread uncertainty, the easier time you will have coping with it.
2. Redirect your energy to things you do have control over.
This can be household chores like getting your bedroom clean or going through messy drawers and clearing them out. This can include other tasks like organizing your calendar, creating a meal plan for the week, compiling a grocery list of items that need to be replaced or refilled etc. When we put our energy toward productive tasks, we are better able to manage the discomfort that comes with being uncertain in other areas. Achieving this balance will make the discomfort with uncertainty less intense, as you are balancing it out with positive/productive output with tasks that are in your control. Imagine a scale – the uncertainty on one side, and the tasks you are in control of on the other; balancing each other out.
3. Watch what you are saying to yourself!
The story we tell ourselves around uncertainty can make or break our ability to cope with it. If you are telling yourself that this uncertainty is a bad thing, that bad things will happen to you, that you should have prevented it, or that you are weak or have done something to deserve this uncertainty, then you are going to have an almost impossible time getting through uncertainty. Instead, talk to yourself like you would a friend. Encourage yourself to focus on the grey area, to not jump to conclusions, and to watch how mean you are to yourself and flip that script with words and perspectives that are more self-affirming and neutral.