Does uncertainty cause an allergic reaction within you? Being intolerant of uncertainty can cause problems since it leads to a lot of time-consuming and tiring behaviours, causes stress and anxiety, and is the major fuel for worry.
Anxiety Canada describes uncertainty in the following way.
“Being intolerant of uncertainty is a lot like having an allergy. If you are allergic to pollen, for example, you will sneeze and cough and your eyes may get red and teary when you are exposed to even a small amount of pollen. When people who are intolerant of uncertainty are exposed to a little bit of uncertainty, they also have a strong reaction: they worry, and do everything they can think of to get away from, avoid or eliminate the uncertainty.”
Understanding Uncertainty: Uncertainty is an inevitable part of life, but it doesn't have to control us. It's important to acknowledge that no one has all the answers, and it's okay to feel lost or overwhelmed during uncertain times. When you fear uncertainty, this leads you to do the following survival behaviours as a means to try and create certainty, predictability and, ultimately, SAFETY.
· Reassurance -seeking
· List making
· Double and triple-checking
· Refusing to delegate to others
· Procrastination and avoiding
· Distracting away from tasks
· Need to solve everything!
· Being always hypervigilant and on guard for any uncertainty
· Comparison for resolutions
The University of Michigan describes ‘uncertainty” as often driven by stress - “Stress is a common response to uncertainty. Symptoms of stress can include racing thoughts, forgetfulness, inability to focus, increased heart rate, appetite changes, sweating, restlessness, nausea, physical pain in the body, irritability, fatigue, feeling overwhelmed or out of control, procrastination.”
Coping with Change: Change can be both exciting and terrifying. It often forces us to step out of our comfort zones and confront the unknown.
Uncertainty can trigger racing thoughts and physical symptoms of distress. It can paralyze and debilitate fears of not being able to cope. We may try to create certainty by structuring our lives, whether by scheduling out our day and everything in between it or trying to seek out predictable outcomes to situations, even we may find ourselves without awareness doing far-reaching controlling behaviours. The more we seek certainty, the more we react to uncertainty.
Identify and acknowledge what is uncertain to you by:
· Notice all the specific areas of your life where uncertainty is creating anxiousness.
· Recognizing and identifying the way these uncertainties make you think and feel.
· Determine what is in your control and what is not in your control.
· Where do you notice uncertainty show up in your body?
· Recognize the voice of uncertainty and how it speaks to you.
· Recognize what automatic behaviours uncertainty wants you to do.
· Identify what survival responses uncertainty is pulling you towards.
· Notice how uncertainty in day-to-day situations is increasing your inner fears.
Therapy can assist in building resilience, enhancing coping skills, and fostering adaptability to help navigate through these changes. Therapists provide tools and techniques to manage stress, anxiety, and fear, enabling individuals to embrace uncertainty as an opportunity for growth rather than a source of distress. Gaining Clarity and Perspective: Uncertainty can cloud our thoughts and make it difficult to see beyond our immediate circumstances. Therapy helps in gaining clarity by encouraging reflection and self-exploration. A therapist acts as a compassionate guide, helping you gain fresh perspectives and reframe your thinking. Through this process, therapy equips us with the insight needed to make informed decisions and chart a path forward amidst uncertainty. Building Emotional Resilience: One of the most powerful benefits of therapy is its ability to foster emotional resilience. Therapy offers a safe space to express our fears, doubts, and vulnerabilities within a safe and brave space. It allows you to learn and develop healthy coping mechanisms and build inner strength, enabling you to navigate life's ‘uncertain’ survival terrain more effectively.
The final thought! In a world characterized by constant change and unpredictability, therapy offers a sanctuary for individuals to process their emotions, gain clarity, and foster emotional resilience. By seeking therapy for the inner chaos of uncertainty allows you the healing space to learn to in invite “uncertainty to tea” and develop a healthier relationship with it rather than react to it. You will learn strategies to cope, grow, learn, and emerge stronger within yourself. Remember, uncertainty does not have to hold us back; it can become the catalyst for personal transformation and a fulfilling life. So, embrace the power of therapy and take that first step towards finding strength and even peace in ‘uncertainty.’