we fear what we don’t know
Many people prefer a demonstrably negative situation than an uncertain one. After all, you can tackle a definite problem.
Uncertain situations and tenuous outcomes can paralyze us. Indeed, paralysis is one of the side effects of encountering the unknown.
However, our reactions to uncertainty can make all the difference. If our anxiety and fear immediately overwhelm us, we’ll get stuck in place, unable to make any decisions, good or bad. We’ll then have those consequences to face.
When our anxiety rockets, it inhibits our ability to think clearly. What do we do?
First, we can exercise control over ourselves. Too much of our mental energy is often given over to catastrophizing the situation, which makes everything so much worse.
Giving some time to accurately assess our situation is well worth it. Accurately defining the situation is step one. How to define what we don’t know? That piece of info isn’t a bad place to start.
Knowing what pieces of the puzzle we’re missing is a good start. Then, as we remember our breathing and work the tension out of our bodies, we can equip ourselves to find out more about the lurking creeping crawling uncertainty that’s playing hob with our anxiety levels.
Asking for help is rarely a bad idea. Discussing the situation with a trusted friend, a confidante, or a therapist can help you sketch out the range of your ability to accumulate information.
Tackling a problem without the input of others is not the best of ideas if this is a completely new situation. If it falls under the general umbrella of something we’ve faced before, well and good.
Uncertainty can be all over the spectrum of possible outcomes. If you have tests run at a doctor’s office and you get a call-back saying, “we need you to come in immediately so we can discuss these findings,” yes, there’s uncertainty and a load of fodder for anxiety right there.
Sometimes in situations like these, endurance coupled with mindful awareness is the only way to get by until you find out the nature of the findings. If the call-back appointment is soon, you won’t have to wait long and mindful awareness will help you focus on what you’re doing right here and now.
Most of our daily anxieties are nowhere near as dire. Patience and focus rooted in the now will make uncertainty far less frightening.