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Coping with Uncertainty

Living in a continuous state of uncertainty is difficult. Our brains crave certainty about our future. It’s been challenging to keep a level head when we are unsure of what to expect in a month, a week, or even tomorrow. If you have been feeling overwhelmed by all this uncertainty, you’re not alone. Not knowing what changes are coming our way has become the norm as we move through different phases of the pandemic. Inevitably things will continue to change—for better or worse—because what lies ahead in the upcoming months remains unknown. We can’t control the unexpected obstacles that come our way, but we can control how we respond to them.

Uncertainty is a fact of life, and we all handle it all differently. Some of us are more flexible and can go with the flow. Others find the everchanging climate of uncertainty stress-inducing and are overwhelmed by the unpredictability. If you are looking for ways to manage the heightened emotions of uncertainty, start with acceptance.

Recognizing where we are stuck is the first step to acceptance. Usually what we are resisting are the things we complain or worry about, blame other people for, and feel uncomfortable with. Rather than fighting and resisting, if we perceive these things as an opportunity for self-growth, we can better manage our emotions. There are so many things we cannot be certain about in life, so try accepting uncertainty as a normal part of life. Do this with mindfulness, focusing on taking things one day at a time and staying in the present. Ask yourself, “what is one positive thing I can do today?” Acceptance is knowing that you can either accept your current conditions or realizing you are the only person capable of changing them.

Dealing with uncertainty isn’t easy, so go easy on yourself and those around you. We can all benefit from compassion more than ever. Additionally, focusing on what we are grateful for gives us perspective and points us in the direction of acceptance and appreciation. Take time to reflect on what the pandemic has taught you about how you deal with change. I’ve been trying very hard to answer this question for myself because I want to be better equipped to handle the next wave of uncertainty.

Penny Vittoria

Successful Aging Coach

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