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What Should Be Your Aim In Life?…

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It was March 13, 2020. My 43rd birthday, and the day the world changed for all of us. The kids were told they would be out of school for two weeks. As you know, those “two weeks” turned into almost two years of uncertain times with the coronavirus pandemic.

Our senses were heightened. Stress levels were at an all-time high. Fear was winning. And one of the most significant contributing factors? The uncertainty of it all. Uncertainty about health, work, whether the kids would go back to school, what the mandates would require, how we were going to survive, where we would live, whether we should travel, what this would mean for our jobs, income, family, and of course, whether we should wash our bananas (turns out, that’s unnecessary).

Why Is Uncertainty So Stressful?

“Uncertainty equals danger. If your brain doesn’t know what’s around the corner, it can’t keep you out of harm’s way. When certainty is questioned, your lizard brain goes haywire, instantly kicking you in the pants to spur you to action and get you to safety.”

I remember when my twins went to Catalina Island on a school trip in 5th grade. One of them had just been sick, and the other was in an arm brace. I worried the whole time, wondering if they could sleep, what they would eat, if they missed home…What if something awful happened? I stressed for three days, only to have them come home and tell me about the most fantastic trip they have ever had. My feelings of concern quickly turned to relief, but the uncertainty and fear during their absence were palpable.

Just because something is uncertain doesn’t mean we are unsafe, even if it feels that way. Therefore, the question becomes, what are the practical things you can do to deal with uncertainty and take control back?

How to Cope With Uncertainty?

Some of us are more naturally comfortable with uncertainty or ambiguity, while others feel anxious and overwhelmed in these situations. Whether you are dealing with uncertainty around the pandemic, the economy, the health of yourself and loved ones, finances, relationships, career, or family, here are 11 ways to bring you PEACE OF MIND.

P: Perspective

Take a step back from all your fears and worries to gain perspective. Remember, things are never as bad as you think. That story you’ve conjured up in your mind is likely never going to happen. Here are a few ways to get perspective.

Look at your situation as a neutral observer. Imagine you’re watching a reality tv show about your life. What insights or advice would you give yourself? When you step back and look from a bit of a distance, it often leads to insights or solutions you hadn’t yet considered.

You can also find perspective by grounding in what is important to you and your values. As I was writing this article, my 10-year-old daughter had a friend over. I was talking with them about how they deal with uncertainty. Her friend thought for a few minutes and replied, “I used to feel uncertain about if people liked me. I would worry and stress about it all the time. Then I realized that I like myself. And if I like me, then hopefully they like me too. And if they don’t like me, they’re probably not someone who I want to be friends with anyway.”

Clearly, she is a young lady with great perspective. Take the time to become clear on what’s important to you. That way, when things feel uncertain, you can hold on tight to the important things, and the rest won’t feel as stressful.

You can also get perspective by tapping into your personal belief system. One of my strongest held beliefs is that everything happens for a reason and that everything is happening for our greatest good. Even if I can’t see it at the time. This belief has been one of the most significant sources of peace of mind when I’ve faced uncertainty.

E: Excavate

Dig down deep and bring it up. There’s power that comes when you allow what is happening at an unconscious level to come to the surface. When you feel fear around uncertainty, often you don’t even know what the fear is.

“Name it to tame it” is a term coined by doctor and author Dan Siegel to identify what happens in your brain when you use the “thinking or rational” part of your brain to calm the “emotional or limbic” part of your brain.

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