As human beings, we’re all prone to bouts of uncertainty.
But, never has this been more obvious than in recent months during the COVID-19 crisis. Though it’s almost impossible to eliminate all uncertainty from our lives, we can learn how to control it when it does arise.
Here are five simple but effective methods we can employ to take charge of our life when we are overwhelmed:
1. Understand where your emotions come from.
When a period of uncertainty hits us, there’s a tendency to build it up to epic proportions in our minds. We do this so much that we often forget what even started it in the first place.
For many, quickly locating that initial trigger point, and the thing that sets you off means you can work to defeat it before it has time to take hold.
We can only work to control our thoughts and feelings and take charge when we know exactly what we’re dealing with.
So, the first step is to identify precisely why you might be feeling this way.
Think about what has sparked your negativity and how it is currently affecting you. By identifying the source of the problem straight away, you can then choose whether you want to pay it any further attention or control it by nipping it in the bud before it has time to build.
2. Stop and embrace the blips.
When experiencing feelings of angst, many of us push them aside and ignore them, hoping they’ll simply disappear. Yet, often there are simply some feelings that we must embrace before we can move forward.
Many of us feel scared when we aren’t in control, but unless we accept and understand that it’s all part of our natural reaction to times of stress, we’ll never be able to deal with it when it does strike again.
Take the time to allow the feeling to simmer away and note how it affects you, slowly. Many negative emotions rear their head through persistent headaches or manifest as other physical pains in the body.
But, if you can take the time to note the physical effects these negative thoughts have on your body and mind, you can further prepare yourselves to work on a coping mechanism the next time they strike, thus taking control of the situation.
3. Consider the worst-case scenario.
When you begin to feel control slipping away, ask yourself, “What is the worst that can happen?”
A lot of us find ourselves losing control when we escalate things to be more than they are. But, if you look at the possible worst-case scenarios, you’ve got some ways to regain control of the situation.
In reality, more than likely, it’s not a life or death situation—it’s one that you can find a solution for. So, when the going gets tough, think realistically of what will happen afterward.
By asking such questions, you reduce anxiety surrounding the situation. You are, in fact, able to cope; whatever the outcome, it is never as bad as what you initially think it will be.
4. Believe in your ability to survive.
2020 has been the year of a great deal of stress for all of us. Yet, if we turn this into a positive, we can consider it the year we made it through.
We’ve had our world turned upside down, have been forced into isolation, and lived with the threat of an invisible, deadly virus. So, if you’ve made it through to the other end, you’re a survivor.
When uncertainly arises, stop and remind yourself that you’ve lived through one of the toughest times the world has ever witnessed—you have more control than you may have thought.
If there’s one thing that 2020 has highlighted, it’s how we can all get through, and we are capable of enduring hardship.
Pat yourself on the back; you endured, no matter how hard the obstacles were.
5. Find a healthy coping mechanism.
This can be as simple as breathing deeply, performing yoga, or taking yourself to a particular spot. For some people, it can mean heading out to the garden to tend to their plants or just sitting quietly and reflecting on life.
Look for an effective way to calm yourself down before you apply yourself to the situation at hand.
Finding tools early on to help you regain a sense of control when you feel you’re losing touch is vital. Such techniques can then be instantly applied each time things feel like a bit too much. Better still, your body and mind will soon come to associate these activities with relaxing.
As soon as negativity hits, attempt a distraction technique that removes you instantly from the situation. We often need to remove ourselves, regularly disconnecting, to regain a sense of control and, indeed, purpose.