• Michele Duhigg

How to Thrive in a World of Uncertainty

My Best Advice on Overcoming the Fear of Uncertainty

Our world is constantly changing. But 2020 seems to be the year of doom – am I right?

At this point, you could tell me Godzilla has invaded our city, and honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised. From a pandemic (that’s fingers-crossed winding down) to an ongoing social justice crisis – we can’t seem to catch a break.

You feel scared to leave your home. And who could blame you – you might be a carrier of the coronavirus or you might get carjacked.

So how can we deal? We definitely can’t snap our fingers and go back to normal. Trust me if there was a fairy godmother out there, she’d be on speed dial.

But there are tons of healthy ways to handle your growing anxiety. In fact – you may feel your heart racing now just thinking of all the future might hold. The key is, which coping mechanisms are best for you?

In the following article, I’ll be sharing my personal trials overcoming uncertainty in life. Backed by science, you’ll leave here confident with where to start.

Free Yourself and Overcome the Fear of Uncertainty

The fight against uncertainty in life is an endless journey. It’s good for you to continue working through your fears to achieve a peaceful state of mind.

However, working through uncertainties is hard work and can be a process. But identifying your fears around uncertainty is the first step to working through them. It can be a messy process, so be patient with yourself.

But you don’t have to do this alone. Depending on how affected you are by uncertainty will be a telling sign for who is the best fit for helping you through your anxieties.

If you have a safe circle, talking to friends and family can help alleviate some of your fears. But if that doesn’t feel like a safe option for you then a coach or therapist can help you work through your fears, and get to the other side.

Some may feel uncomfortable with talking to anyone about their feelings. For me, I became concerned with my attitude changes. I was restless at night and over-thought getting out of bed in the morning. I was afraid to make new relationships and couldn’t trust anyone.

I began researching and discovered that my feelings could be caused by stress from my past I had never fully healed from. And that ongoing, chronic stress can cause or exacerbate many serious health problems.[1]

I felt I needed more help and wasn’t sure where to go. But I found numerous self-help books that inspired me to reflect on what was truly causing my fears. I found meditation to be a huge help. And the more consistent I became with my self-care routine and self-reflection the freer I began to feel.

Once I felt completely free from uncertainty I felt passionate to coach others to do the same.

Now I want to share my process for helping myself and my clients with you.

Reduce Anxiety When You Illuminate the Event

Your brain develops fears based on witnessed events. Those experiences are from your external environment and your reaction becomes a learned behavior.

That event triggers a feeling and that feeling is distinguished as either good or bad. If bad, the brain instantly creates a plan to avoid any future events that could trigger that same feeling. Such as if you watch the movie Jaws and are terrified of watching a human getting eaten by a share then you will most likely have a fear of swimming in the ocean.

Uncertainty means you don’t feel safe. For example, you’re uncertain of your future because there’s no promise it’ll turn out in your favor. This can create fear because your brain naturally wants to feel safe. A recent study conducted by a Caltech neuroeconomist imaged subjects’ brains as they were forced to make increasingly uncertain bets – the less information the subject had the more unsure they felt about placing a bet.[2]

Doesn’t this make sense though? Which bet would you feel more comfortable putting money on – a 1 in 5 chance you’ll win, or a 1 in 70 chance you’ll win? That’s your fear of uncertainty, and anxiety in action.

But how do you know you’re feeling anxious? Well, your palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy, there’s vomit on your sweater already – mom’s spaghetti (Cue Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”). If you don’t get that reference then you haven’t lived, just kidding. But really it’s just as the lyrics say. Also, it’s fair to mention Rachel Hollis also quotes Eminem in her latest book so I think the guy was on to something.

Signs you’re experiencing anxiety–uncertainty–fear:

● Heart palpitations, or in other words an irregular heart rate

● Night sweats

● Racing thoughts, about anything

● Nausea

● Headaches

● Chest pain

● Talking too fast or even silence

● “Spacing out” or not paying attention to your present moment

● Stomach feels like its twisting

● Feeling like the walls are closing in on you

● Difficulty sleeping

● Irrational anger towards others

● Inability to make a solid decision

The list could go on. And as you can see, anxiety looks different for everyone. So, the main takeaway here is to pay attention to how you’re feeling and then ask yourself what event is causing you to feel this way.

How to Breakthrough Uncertainty During Chaos

I’ll bring awareness to something near to my heart – cheating. Let’s use this as an example.

Your partner’s cheated on you. You dump their sorry-self back to where they came from, move on, and finally find your person.

Your new partner is perfect in every way. Showering you with flowers, loving words but suddenly your mind races once your call goes to voicemail. This person’s never even hinted at being attracted to anyone else yet you now have this fear they’ll cheat on you. Why? Because your crazy ex cheated on you and your brain’s going nuts telling you to run, but your heart’s saying stay!

Your subconscious has a learned behavior of not trusting any partner because you were already burned by someone you loved. These thoughts are an emotional response triggered by that event (your call going to voicemail). Your subconscious is trying to keep you from getting hurt. Neuroscientists call this the “fight-or-flight response.”[3]

But, this subconscious learned behavior meant to protect you doesn’t serve you anymore. You’re safe now, and with a new partner. So, how do you deal with a subconscious behavior that's just trying to help but is really hurting you?

Analyze your thoughts and ask them what they’re trying to tell you. Thank them for being there. Then let go of that fear-based urgency to run, knowing that it’s an automatic response that just doesn’t apply anymore.

Authentic Meditation Will Quiet Your Mind

The power of meditation has been researched for many years. Recent studies showed lower levels of stress and stronger emotional awareness in people who regularly practice meditation.[4] When your mind is racing to find an answer for your uncertainty this can be the quickest way to recenter yourself and move forward.

There’s a lot of resources out there on how to effectively meditate. But what I find to be most helpful to getting started is sitting in a quiet room free from distractions. Close your eyes and take five deep breaths about seven seconds to inhale then seven seconds to exhale.

Meditation is the separation of mind and body.[5] Of course, there’s so much more that goes into it. But breathwork is an efficient way to relax you and take your mind away from a fearful thought.

Peaceful People Feel Free From Uncertainty

I know first-hand just how hard it is to walk away from my fears. I’ve been burned by nearly every person I’ve loved including myself – but no one said it’d be easy. But if you can consistently practice working through your fears of uncertainty you’ll be able to empower more peace in your life.

Life isn’t certain, but using simple tools such as breathwork, meditation, self-reflection, and/or working with a professional can help bring ease into your life.

Plus if you’re viewing this blog it already shows you’ve identified your uncertainty fears. So, you’re already on the right track!

As a coach I’m here to help you work through different areas of your life. What’s important here is that you’re not alone. There’s many people like you who are uncomfortable with uncertainty. But through shared experiences and genuine care for one another we can help each other through these trying times.I want you to bring awareness to your inner voices when they’re triggered by fear and uncertainty. Stop looking into the future to control what can happen for you today. You can get through this. Reach out to me and see how I can help you through your uncertainties.

[1] What are the consequences of long-term stress? [2] 11 Ways Emotionally Intelligent People Overcome Uncertainty [3] Pause: Overcoming Uncertainty One Positive Thought At A Time [4] Dynamic Mindfulness Research [5] Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself

202 views0 comments