Uncertainty and It’s Affect on Stress Management

This article discusses the connection between living with uncertainty and the way it affects our stress management skills. Few have the ability to live with total certainty and confidence and when our future is unknown and this often creates uneasiness and disharmony. So what can be done to manage our stress in these uncertain times?

In our contemporary culture we are brought up to believe that control is a necessary factor for success and moving forward in our lives. It is also something that is valued and sought after as a means to overcome adversity and a highly regarded tool in our stress management strategy.

The problem with this belief is the fact that so often external factors derail what we thought our path would be, and our expectations of how things “should” should have turned out are shattered. We are taught that we can control our future through action and while that is true in part it certainly is not in totality. So often we are fixated in the attainment of results and have a low level of tolerance for adjustments to the path we have cemented for ourselves. Consequently we are thrown into a realm of uncertainty and insecurity and realise perhaps that we are not as resilient as we thought we may be. Our stress management skills go through the floor and so does our happiness and contentment.

This non-embracing of uncertainty creates fear and anxiety and we long to try find some olive branch to cling to, to make us feel that we will be ok. If however we were to embrace uncertainty as part of our lives it would have different effects and instil feelings of aliveness, excitement and creativity, all wonderful stress management strategies.

So what can we do to get off the rollercoaster ride and start living with a sense of freedom and lightness?

The first point I would like to make is that our stress management is largely dependent on our ability to make the present moment the most important moment that exists. When we are present and place our attention on our actions and awareness in the moment nothing outside of that moment matters or exists. The past is history, the future yet to come. All we have is the now, our reality. As soon as we make the past or future our “now” we are not living our reality and start to create an illusionary life. This picture of how the future will unfold becomes our prison and we become attached to it like the umbilical cord that a baby has to it’s mother.

To cut this attachment we need to break the connection, and this can only be done through making this moment the most special and important moment, more than any other. Certainty is in the now, uncertainty is the future.

The second point in the stress management and uncertainty connection is that it is our thoughts about our situation that creates the feeling of stress. When we align ourselves to our thoughts we subject ourselves to it’s random stream of unrelenting inner chatter and because most of our random thoughts are negative they spiral us into feelings of stress and anxiety.

In order for us to free ourselves we need to disidentify with our thoughts and rather see them as just thoughts, not absolute truths or a vision of the way our lives will unfold.

In this way uncertainty is reduced and our ability for successful stress management becomes a tangible possibility.

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