With so much uncertainty about the future of our health, economy, and the state of the world, our mental health is put at risk. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), research shows that people react differently to uncertainty. Those with a higher intolerance for uncertainty may be less resilient and more prone to a low mood, negative feelings, and anxiety.
It's okay to feel scared and uncertain, but these negative emotions can wreak havoc on our bodies and minds and inhibit us from feeling productive and healthy. To help cope with these feelings, we recommend the following tips provided by the APA.
Be kind to yourself.
Everyone deals with uncertainty differently, so don’t feel like you need to compare your experience to others. Remember that you can process these scary times in whatever ways work for you. Don’t feel like you need to be feeling any one emotion. Simply live out what you’re feeling.
Reflect on past successes.
We’ve all faced unknown situations before. You’ve made it through those troubling times, so know that you can do it again. Remembering your ability to handle the unknown can give you more confidence for the present.
Develop new skills.
You don’t need to write the next classic or master the art of cooking, but if you start to feel stressed and stir-crazy, try directing that energy into learning something new. It could be anything from learning a new language or a new instrument to getting back into practice with something you’ve previously enjoyed.
Limit exposure to news.
It’s hard to avoid the media when it’s always on our screens. Try to keep your check-ins to just a few times a day—especially during times that are less vulnerable, such as during the day rather than before bed.
Avoid dwelling on things you can’t control.
It can be difficult to stay positive when things feel like they’re out of control. To help ease anxiety, do your best to allow things to play out on their own.
Take your own advice.
Change your perspective by thinking about what you’d tell a worried friend, then take that advice and use it to care for yourself.
Engage in self-care.
Take some time to meditate, make healthy meals, and get a healthy amount of sleep.
Seek support from those you trust.
Reach out to friends and family to be there to support you, even if you feel like isolating yourself.
Control what you can.
Focus on what you can control, like the time you spend outdoors and how much time you spend on social media. Little things go a long way. They help you feel like you can still make healthy choices for yourself and move forward.
Ask for help.
Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we can’t seem to get the help we need from ourselves, friends, and family. That’s okay! Thankfully, we have the ability to access helpful tools online. Find a psychologist in your area by using the APA’s Psychologist Locator Service.
Mindfulness with Roger Pelletier
Stop—take a breath. Notice it. Notice your body relax. Become aware of where you are. Acknowledge your thoughts, but don’t cling to them. Let them go.
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