Minimising uncertainty

One of the triggers for anxiety is uncertainty.

It’s fair to say that uncertainty is a part of life. However, there are plenty of times in life where you can seek clarity to help fill in the gaps.

This can be done by asking more questions.

Questions like:

When would you like me to complete this?

What time do you want to meet?

How do you feel about this situation?

You don’t have to play the guessing game, you don’t have to wait for someone else to initiate the conversation and you don’t have to live life on someone else’s terms.

Asking questions might also make you feel anxious but maybe that bit of discomfort is worth it now if it means you won’t feel anxious later.

You don’t need to change

Just because you try something new doesn’t mean you have to adopt it as a long term thing or even do it more than once.

This applies to so many things work, relationships, hobbies, habits, diet and fitness.

Trying new things is about being open to something you’ve not experienced before, it doesn’t require permanent change.

We so often advocate for change and for not sticking with the way things are. However, sometimes trying something new one time is enough to make you realise that you don’t actually need to change.

There’s nothing wrong with trying something and then deciding that it’s not for you. In the short run it might feel like a step back, in the long run you’re simply doing what feels best for you.

Assuming the worst

Often when when we face a new situation that involves uncertainty, we automatically assume the worst. We make up a story about how bad it’ll be, how everything will go wrong and how maybe we’d have been better off if things stayed the way they were.

But, change is inevitable and so you have to learn to get used it.

The funny thing about these situations is that, we prepare ourselves for the worst but things never turn out as bad as we think they might.

In fact, things often turn out much better.

The problem with putting things off

One of the best things that we can do for ourselves is, do things that need to be done, instead of putting them off.

Our lives would be so much easier and our stress levels would be significantly lower if only we didn’t wait to get things done.

Often these things to be done are small and don’t take much time at all but the longer we wait the more the urgency builds or the problem grows. Then, all of a sudden we begin to feel overwhelmed by something we could have resolved and moved on from, weeks or even months ago.

Feelings of freedom

As we go through life we develop ideas of what freedom would look like or feel like for ourselves. It may come from how you were brought up, the career aspirations you have or maybe just how you feel in particular moments.

If the idea of feeling liberated matters to you then it’s worth while creating a life that aligns with that.

Maybe for you liberation comes from being able to have last minute getaways a few times a year. It could be a day in a new city or a week somewhere far away. What matters is that you have the choice to do it.

It could be that freedom for you comes from being able to speak your mind without worrying about what other people will think.

Or perhaps you feel free when you don’t have to explain yourself to other people, as in you’re free to make choices without having to justify them.

Choosing a life that conflicts with what makes you feel free only leads to frustration. Frustration towards those that have become a barrier to your freedom and frustration towards yourself for ending up in these circumstances.

In all this, one of the most important things to remember is that freedom is a feeling. You might not feel free right now but you can always feel differently tomorrow (or a few months from now once you’ve made some changes in your life).

The old normal

Lockdown allowed us to fantasise about the possibilities of life.

The way that things were was no longer seen as the way that things had to be.

The longer we were inside the more we began to speak of the new normal. We were able to imagine changes on scales small and large. I think this gave a lot of people hope, that this pandemic would not be for nothing if once it was over there would be change for the better.

But, somewhere along the way, there was a shift. Instead of speaking of the new way of life we had once hoped for, we began to long over the old ways.

Suddenly, it was the old normal that we were dreaming of, not something new.

Making time for good habits

I think most people have a list of at least a few things that they can do to improve their days.

Some examples could be exercise, being out in nature, mediation, yoga, drinking water, herbal tea, solo dance party, listening to music, journaling or going for a walk.

None of those things necessarily take a lot of time but they’re things that you have to make time for. They require more effort than sitting on the sofa binging episodes of a show but they come with way more benefits.

So, when you feel like you can’t be bothered, keep that in mind.

Other peoples opinions

Sometimes we stop ourselves from doing the things that we want to do because we put others above ourselves.

We choose to consider how our actions might make someone else feel, as if that is our responsibility. It often results in not doing the things that we want to do.

In the moment, it might feel like the right choice but in the long run it often leads to regret or resentment.

It could be staying in a ‘good job’ when you actually want to pursue something that is held in a much lower regard by the people you know, maybe it pays less too. You’re worried that people will tell you you’re making a mistake, of the looks you’ll get at the family dinner when they ask how work is going, you want to please your parents and you don’t want other people to think that you’ve regressed.

So, you stick with your current job that you’re no longer interested in.

Overtime you grown to resent those people around you because even though they’re happy with where you’re at in life, you’re miserable. It feels like it’s their fault. But, deep down you know that your misery comes from you caring about other peoples opinions more than you care about making yourself happy.

The lesson here is to learn to put yourself first. How you feel about your life and the choices you make matters so much more than what other people think.

Don’t try, just be

I think it could be said that one of the biggest things that holds us back is that we try to hard to be a specific type of way or create a certain kind of thing. Often our efforts go into emulating what we have already seen done and the way that we think or have been told that things should be.

When this occurs instead of just doing our work and creating, we put limits on ourselves.

Suddenly, the ideas you have end up being tweaked and altered because you haven’t seen things done that way and you’d rather go with what’s been seen to work.

I think a reason we do this is because we don’t have enough self belief to really do things the way we want plus, we want things to work out.

When you’re someone that creates, you never want to put your heart and soul into something and it not be well received. People not taking to your work feels personal because it came from you and often we end up internalising that feeling and coming up with stories like ‘I’m not good enough…’.

The way to avoid all this is to just be, just create. The more you create, the more you find your own flow and no longer feel like you need to mimic others. The work you do will become so much more gratifying.

The more you create, the more you lower the stakes. The first time you create something that comes from you might be scary but over time once it becomes more familiar, it will get easier.

Accepting change

It’s one thing to know it happens but to accept it is a whole other story.

You might find that you’ve become so comfortable with the way things are that the thought of them being any different is just too much to bear.

But change is part of life and no matter how much you try to hold on, things will always keep changing.

Choosing to be resistant instead of accepting change just delays the inevitable causing unnecessary levels of anxiety, stress, sadness and frustration. because

Think of change like the tide, it’s so much easier to go with it than against it.