How to deal with uncertainty

How to deal with uncertainty

How to deal with uncertainty

We live in crazy and unpredictable times. How do you handle challenges and find peace in the middle of so much uncertainty?

It’s safe to say that we currently live in a world where we don’t know what could happen next.

The last year has certainly challenged our perception of what is safe, true and believable.

And I’m not just talking politics or viruses.

We now live in a world that moves so fast we don’t have time to figure out what’s happened before we’re faced with making monumental decisions for the future.

  • You walk in on Friday and find out your department has been reorganized and you may lose your job.
  • You go in for your regular annual checkup and your doctor orders a slew of immediate tests.
  • Your spouse informs you that the relationship is over and they are moving out…today.

Wyle E. Coyote - Road Runner cartoonSome days can feel like those old Road Runner cartoons.

As soon as Wile E. Coyote thought he had defeated the Road Runner and turned to face the camera with a sly grin, a giant rock dropped on his head and pushed him in the ground.

Like Wile E. Coyote, you can squeeze out from under that rock and keep going for another day, albeit dazed and confused.

But how do you handle uncertainty without losing your peace?

First, take a deep breath and hold off on any decisions right now.

We are most vulnerable when events and circumstances are currently still swirling. You may want to react in several different ways, and I’m guessing they’re all pretty reactive.

Or you may get pressure from others to do something or else you might lose something.

If you make a reactive decision now, you may cut yourself off from a healthier decision from having more information.

It’s a terrible feeling to react to something based on strong emotions and find out later that a better answer was just ahead of you.

Slow yourself down and don’t commit to any decision in this moment.

Spend some time gathering data and facts so you can see all of your options. This has the advantage of cooling off your emotions a bit so you can make a decision that is both logical and from your heart.

Second, resist the urge to complain.

This is hard to do anymore because we are surrounded by so many forums that allow us to “speak our truth.” We can even tell total strangers of the evils that have befallen us and how we’ve been cheated.

Complaining, while having a great ventilation effect, mostly serves to maintain the uncertain feelings. Complaining isn’t about telling your story to find meaning and to investigate what you could have done differently in the situation.

Complaining puts you in the martyr seat, the victim of things you can’t control.

How does that put you on a path from uncertainty to peace?

Talk with a trusted friend (or a therapist, just sayin’) and process your uncertain events and challenges. This is what helps you discover your options.

But when it starts to get whiney, use your best self awareness skills to dial it back so your circumstances don’t steal your peace.

Third, take each day as it comes.

We modern westerners are terrible at just dealing with today. Challenges come and our immediate reaction is to play the movie all the way to its dramatic ending.

This is a great recipe for anxiety.

In all of your worry right now about politics, pandemics, or your own family challenges, are you aware that you are breathing without thinking about it at all?

That’s happening right now in this moment, and that’s amazing!

To find some peace in the most uncertain times, you have to focus on what’s literally right in front of you.

In the midst of a currently waging battle, you won’t find a military force thinking about the implications of this battle on future conflicts. That’s a good way to get your butt kicked.

If you spent time gathering information and doing some healthy processing with someone else, then your next task is to focus on those things you can influence right now.

Not tomorrow, not next week or next month. Those timeframes will get here whether you are thinking about them or not.

You get to make that decision to find peace in your uncertainty.

Peace is an active pursuit, not just something that happens to you.

Ask yourself….

  • What can I do today with what I have right now?
  • Who do I need to pull in to ask for help?
  • What do I need to do to remind myself to make a decision for peace?

________________________

Lori R. Miller is an author and licensed mental health counselor in Stuart, FL.

Check out her latest book, 31 Days of Mental Health Moments, at www.mymentalhealthmoment.com.

 

 

This post was originally posted on MillerMHS.com

2020 felt like a shaky stack of Jenga blocks

What do you want from 2021?

2020 felt like a shaky stack of Jenga blocks

We had more control over 2020 than we realized. The year 2021 will bring new choices and new opportunities. What will you do?

It’s almost cliché now to say that 2020 was the weirdest year ever.

Almost no one is nostalgic about 2020. Everyone I talk to is ready to bid this unbelievable year goodbye.

Is this you?

Maybe you had the worst of the worst happen to you in 2020 because of the pandemic.

Plenty of people have lost their jobs, loved ones, homes and livelihoods to the pandemic. None of them easy to replace.

So if this is you, then you’re not imagining that this was a hard year.

For many of us, this may have been more of a year of disruption and nuisance.

Shutdowns and new rules mean we have more to consider every day than just heading out the door for work or school without a care in the world.

Who among us took 24-hour Walmart for granted before 2020? And toilet paper….

So yeah, Adios, Sayōnara, and Arrivederci,  2020. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

But what does that mean for you for 2021?

Will you be happy if 2021 is just “not 2020?” That’s not really a measurable goal, wanting something to just “not be” something else.

Believe it or not, you alone have the sheer capacity to make 2021 what it needs to be for you.

  • Not your elected officials,
  • Not your boss,
  • Not your family, and
  • Honestly, not even invisible pathogens.

The choice on how next year — or any year goes — is up to you and the choices you make. 

Oddly, for many of us, the availability of those choices was already the case for 2020.

We had the year we chose to have, really.

Barring things like death and losing your job, which you obviously have little or no control over, your results for the year 2020 came about largely because of the perspectives you chose to have on any given day.

Those results came from the action, or inaction, you took because of that perspective.

  • Did you put off creating a healthier you because gyms were closed? In most places outdoor exercise is always a good option.
  • Did you stop investing in your professional self because the work-from-home environment disrupted your workflow? (I know, you had kids schooling at home, too, I get that was unexpected and hard.) Once the dust cleared a bit, that supercommute many of you used to make pre-pandemic now provided the time to invest in training for your future, even if you couldn’t see the future from the desk you made out of an old closet door.
  • Did you transfer the time you used to invest in your mind, goals and mental health over to your favorite streaming service so as to not think about 2020 for a few hours? (Raising my hand on this one.) Virus or not, those hours were still available to you for investing in yourself.
  • Did you fill your mind with the emotionally-charged ping pong that is Facebook, Twitter, et al that seemed to uncover every bad thing, everywhere, every day? The off button was still available to you in 2020.

It’s easy to let others tell you that 2020 “happened to us.”

The reality is that 2020 was just a year like any other Gregorian Calendar year, with 365 days and 12 months.

In 2020, you could make decisions for your mental health, your career, your family, and your health just like you could any other year.

It’s just that there were giant buzzards circling over your head all year reminding you that the obstacles may be greater and kind of disgusting.

So what kind of year will 2021 be for you?

You get to decide that right now.

In fact, every day of 2021 you get to make that decision.

The year 2021 will bring you 365 opportunities to have what you want for yourself, your family and your community.

What will you do?

________________________

Lori R. Miller is an author and licensed mental health counselor in Stuart, FL.

Check out her latest book, 31 Days of Mental Health Moments at www.mymentalhealthmoment.com.

 

 

This post was originally posted on MillerMHS.com