Uncertainty is a feeling that makes many people uncomfortable and that many people struggle to tolerate. People who struggle with tolerating uncertainty often perceive uncertainty, unpredictability, and doubt as awful and unbearable experiences. They often describe feeling like they cannot cope with not knowing.
Uncertainty can lead to worrying, as one tries to reduce the uncertainty through attempts to plan and prepare for possible negative events. Unfortunately, this rarely leads to feeling better or feeling more control. Rather it can lead to more worrying, along with heightened anxiety and stress.
What can I do if I struggle with uncertainty?
If you have read any of my other blogs, you may have come to learn that in my clinical practice, I often assist clients with building up their skills in tolerating emotions through mindfulness and self-soothing skills. These are skills that can likewise be used with uncertainty and the anxiety that it brings.
One skill that I teach clients is the ability to be mindfully aware of uncertainty. What this involves, is beginning to see uncertainty as ‘just a feeling’. By seeing uncertainty as ‘just a feeling’, one can learn to not believe all the associated fears and recognise that feeling uncertainty does not mean there will be a bad outcome. Feeling uncertainty just as what it is—a reflection of not knowing what the future holds—not a reflection that the future will be a bad scenario.
Another skill I teach clients is the ability to challenge their need for uncertainty. This often involves looking at the advantages and disadvantages of needing to be certain. It can also involve looking into areas of one’s life where they are able to tolerate uncertainty and build upon these skills. It can even look into some of the upsides of being uncertain.
Should you struggle with tolerating uncertainty, you are not alone and all the psychologists at the Centre for Effective Living understand the significant impact it can have on your life. Not only do we understand the impacts, we also have the ability to teach skills to relieve you of the hold it can have on your life.
Michelle Dean (M Clin Psych, BA (Hons – First Class), brings her genuine care and compassion for people, along with her keen insight and analytical abilities to her work. Michelle is registered with Medicare and is also an approved practitioner in the NSW Workers Compensation System.
Through her various roles, she has developed a deep understanding of how these difficulties develop and impact on people in different life stages. Michelle has been able to assist her clients in developing skills to manage their anxiety and depression, along with enabling them to develop a healthy sense of self and greater self confidence. Michelle is a high calibre and compassionate professional and she is wonderful at being able to see the complexities of a clinical presentation and bring her therapeutic work down to a manageable and structured approach.