#5.2 Coping with Uncertainty

Darren and Paige have been thinking a lot about 2023. There is so much uncertainty in the future right now. Darren has had a lot of luck with his work and will continue this year. They have had friends lose their jobs, friends waiting to see if they will lose their jobs, companies changing their compensation packages, the economy is slow simmering into a recession…a lot of uncertainty.

This brings a lot of anxiety and worry. The article referenced for this podcast says anxiety is our organic coping mechanism for lack of control and information. But at a certain point, anxiety about something we will never be able to control is unhelpful and even harmful. So What Can We Do???

Techniques for Coping with Uncertainty:

Identify and tune out unproductive worrying

“Productive worries tend to lead to actions that give us more control of our environment, whereas unproductive worries make us feel even more anxious and uncertain (thus leading to a vicious cycle),” Aldao explains.

With this in mind, try to differentiate how much of your worrying is productive (ensuring enough food in the house) versus unproductive (staying up all night thinking about worst-case scenarios). If you can do nothing about it, it’s not yours to worry over.

Something to note: Simply “tuning out” worrisome thoughts is not easy, especially for a very anxious person. That said, taking a step back and recognizing what is and isn’t worth the worry can be a helpful first step.

Practice Mindfulness

Not our thing. It says to Feel the Chair under your butt, appreciate the texture of the food as you chew, and
note the sensation from going hungry to satisfied… Okie Dokie.

Develop habits and routines for a sense of control. We need structure and management on a smaller scale. Hold
yourself accountable with daily exercise, changing out of PJs, and trying new recipes. Set up an activity calendar for work and fun and stick to it as much as possible. It will help with your low moods.

Focus on Gratitude

Find that silver lining!! Perspective is so important!!

Seek out Humor

Watch a funny tv show or game night with friends; humor is here and now. Takes our minds off the future and uncertainty.

Don’t rely on temporary distractions

Don’t fill the void of uncertainty with escapist behaviors, drinking, eating, denial, etc.

Accept what you can’t control

Easier said than done, but acceptance is a big step toward peace of mind. Also, obsessive consumption of information -grasping for certainty – can worsen things. “Acknowledging that we can’t control and change everything is essential,” Aldao says. “Wanting to know and control everything fuels uncertainty. Seeking out information is vital, and keeping up with the news is important—but constantly refreshing your news and social media feeds only adds to the anxiety.”

How to help your spouse

Empathize with the situation and your spouse. Don’t try to fix things; tell them everything will be OK, or it is not that bad. Let them have their moment. Don’t let them wallow too long. Go out and do something together. Have a friend take them out to lunch or something.

Lemonade Moment of the Week

California is finally getting rain, but it is getting a year’s worth of rain in 2 weeks. But we are finally getting rain!


* https://www.realsimple.com/work-life/life-strategies/cope-uncertainty

Leave a Reply