25 Different Ways to Cope With Uncertainty
Even when the future is up in the air, there’s growth to be found in the present: Finding sustainable ways to feel okay in the face of uncertainty is its own form of personal development.
These 25 stories provide advice on how to do just that. Some offer new ways to see the world or the passage of time or your place in both. Others offer things to do today, things to stop doing, questions to ask yourself, mantras, and mental frameworks.
This isn’t meant to be a checklist; pick out what you find helpful and leave the rest. And over the uncertain days to come, remember: It’s possible to be gentle with yourself while still being engaged. In fact, right now, both are vital.
Anchor yourself by accounting for small, boring details, like your grocery list and laundry schedule.
The more mental energy you spend on things you can’t control, the less you have to change the things you can.
Reorient yourself for life in the “eternal now.”
When you can’t create a definitive future, audit your priorities to create your future self.
The act of planning itself can help you relax, regardless of whether that plan comes to fruition.
The real way to find meaning in an unplannable life.
Life is always strange, and the strangeness of right now is a question of degree, not of kind.
Don’t compound your stress by beating yourself up for having entirely normal feelings.
Notice when you fall into the mental trap of believing you can problem-solve your way out of a crisis that’s much bigger than you.
Control freaks are having a moment.
Assuming responsibility for other people’s choices won’t make you feel better in the long run.
The goal isn’t to move past discomfort; it’s to learn to sit with it.
An impasse without clear direction is the place where radical new ideas take shape.
Schedule an offline activity to create a barrier between yourself and the deluge of news.
It’s not your civic duty to drink from the information firehose.
Form a hypothesis about how to feel better, test it, and use your conclusions to figure out your next move.
Go for a walk and look for beauty on your route.
Find ways to focus on your physical comfort, like adjusting the height of your laptop or taking regular stretch breaks.
Picture the most competent leader you know, then ask: If this person were leading me through my day, what would it look like?
There’s a price to pay for emotional validation.
We cycle between good times and bad, which means we have plenty of opportunities to learn and improve.
A science-backed way to feel more hopeful: For every hypothetical situation you worry about, come up with an if-then plan (as in, if x happens, you’ll do y).
Make it a point to notice the moments when you’re not unhappy.
When you can notice and identify your emotions, you gain more control over them.
A mantra to repeat again and again.