Coping with Uncertainty

Uncertainty is the unpredictable. You feel apprehension and that’s usually connected to the unknown. You might be in the middle of circumstances and you don’t know what the outcome is going to be.

Not knowing what’s coming or how you’re going to get through something can be difficult to handle if you don’t know how to cope. Being stuck in uncertainty can make you lose sleep, make you lose your appetite or overeat.

It can cause all kinds of physical problems as well as open the door for fear, anxiety, irritability and depression.

Using self-care techniques to cope with uncertainty can help you feel calm and eliminate physical manifestations.

One technique is to control the “what if” reaction. When things are uncertain, many people immediately jump to conclusions.

They’re projecting the worse case scenario and living in fear.

Conquer that by not dwelling on questions that you don’t have any answers for. Kick the negative mindset to the curb. Stop letting your mind stew on anything unpleasant that may be going on.

Look for the positive instead. You can think of something good that’s happened to you or how you’ve overcome something in the past and how that gave you strength. Thinking this way will help you see that the uncertainty is something that you will overcome.

Uncertainty is difficult because you may be called on to make a decision and you feel like you can’t because you just don’t know what to do for the best outcome.

When you don’t know what action to take, list all the pros and cons of the situation and make a choice based on that outcome.

But if you’re uncertain about a move - whether it’s personal or related to your career - then it’s okay to take some time and think things over.

Because sometimes uncertainty is related to a situation that doesn’t have to be solved right then.

Accept that you’re not going to be able to fix or handle everything. Be wise enough to learn what to let go of and stick to the facts of what’s happening.

Accept that you can’t predict the outcome and realize you don’t have all the answers so you can move on.

Free yourself from the urge to be 100% correct. Let yourself be human. Sometimes people are faced with uncertainty because they want to make sure they’re right. They’re afraid that if they don’t know something, it means they risk failure.

So what? Failure happens. You will survive it and you will grow because of it.

Uncertainty can cause you a lot of strife and upheaval. You can feel like you’re in some pretty rough circumstances - and you might be.

But if you focus on the circumstances, it makes them appear bigger than they might really be. Focus on what’s in your power to do or handle right now and that’s it.

Remember that whatever goes on, it’s not the end. You can always start fresh.

Coping with Financial Stress

Financial stress is one of the biggest causes of stress that millions of people deal with. It can cause you to have knots in your stomach as well as make it difficult to sleep at night.

You might worry about retirement or it may be a bigger financial stress such as how you’re going to be able to pay the bills this month.

Your current situation may be such that you can’t alleviate your financial stress quickly.

While you may not be able to do that, you can still use self care tactics to make sure you don’t allow the stress to wreak havoc on you physically or emotionally. Start by releasing yourself from the guilt you might be feeling.

Where you are financially might be because you made some mistakes. If so, don’t berate yourself about it.

Applying negative feelings toward anything to do with finances can make you reluctant to face what’s going on, so you’ll limit your ability to fix the problem when that happens.

Part of self care with financial stress involves knowing where you stand. Sometimes your money situation isn’t as bad you think and sometimes it can be worse.

The uncertainty can add to your stress. It’s the fear of the unknown.

Once you know what’s going on, it can make it easier for you to handle the stress. Another part of self care is knowing where your money is really going. You need to create a budge.

When there is financial stress, most people avoid thinking about where their money is going. But you need to control the monetary flow. You may have never used a budget or you may have once or twice but you’ve stopped.

You can be top heavy in your budget if you have more of your income going to a mortgage payment than you can actually afford. Or you might have two big car payments when all you can really swing is one.

Taking action is practicing self care and one of these actions is using a budget. This is one of your best resources for self care because it allows you to be honest with yourself about what you can and can’t do financially.

It’ll help you plug any leaks and limit spending where it needs to be limited.

Set yourself up with an emergency fund - even if all you can do is put a few dollars in there at a time. Eventually, it will add up.

When you don’t have an emergency fund and something goes wrong, then you’re forced to shortchange another area.

Seek advice from someone who’s good with finances or schedule an appointment with a financial counselor to help you get rid of the root cause of the financial stress.

Finally, when it comes to coping with financial chaos, watch your mindset. Staying positive about it and the ways that you need to address the financial issues will help your mood and alleviate stress.

Coping with Panic Attacks

A panic attack is a fast onset of emotions such as anxiety or intense fear. An attack can be debilitating. Having one can manifest as physical ailments, too.

Some people will begin to shake and have trouble concentrating. Others may cry uncontrollably.

Panic attacks can cause nausea and dizziness, pressing chest pain and tachycardia. Many people who suffer from them report feeling as if they’re going to die.

These attacks can be extremely frightening to the person suffering from them as well as to the people who witness them.

If you struggle with panic attacks, there is something that you can do. Self care tips can help you cope with a panic attack. Understand that you aren’t out of control. It only feels like you are.

Take deep, steady breaths. Breathing in slowly and letting the air out slowly can help you calm both your racing mind and heart.

While you’re doing the breathing, repeat to yourself that everything is going to be okay.

While a panic attack can feel like it lasts forever, you might find that the worst of it passes in just a few minutes when you use breath control.

Remember that the fear that’s associated with a panic attack feels real but it isn’t.

You might feel that you’re not where you actually are. If your panic attacks are a result of trauma, you might feel that you’re back in time and place to where the trauma occurred.

You might believe that impending doom is about to happen but it’s not. Ground yourself in reality as you’re going through the attack. Tell yourself where you are, that you’re safe that the attack won’t last forever.

A good way to ground yourself in reality is to make a connection physically with your present moment. This might be something like feeling the arms of the chair or touching the arm.

Touching something else helps you redirect your attention. This is also true of sight. Look at something while you’re in the panic attack.

Pay attention to how it was made and the colors of it. This is known as a redirect and it helps calm panic attacks.

Some people find it beneficiary to use exercise as a means of practicing self care during panic attacks. Go for a walk or spend time throwing a ball back and forth with a dog. Doing something physical can be a way of redirecting as well.

For some people, there is a need for intervention. When the fear is overwhelming and it’s impacting their ability to function, seeing a therapist and prescription medication can help.

Sometimes, it’s a combination of the two. Self care for panic attacks is critical before, during and after they occur.

Related reading: How to manage stress

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