If you’re like me, your anxiety levels have been on the rise during the past few months. The list of issues facing our country is long and can be discouraging. Fear of an uncertain future can really drain physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual energy.

Here are four practices to help move you through uncertain times that I learned recently. I’ve used the first three so far and found they provide some immediate relief (and inspiration). I hope you find them helpful too!

1. Name It, Then Say It

Locking fears in your heart and mind creates wellbeing challenges. The first thing to do is ask yourself what you’re afraid of and then say it out loud (to yourself or someone else). For example, every opportunity to consider expanding my virus-prevention bubble immediately creates feelings of anxiety. It’s automatic. By acknowledging to myself and others that the opportunity makes me anxious, I can let go of the emotion to think logically about whether to participate. Acknowledging my fear stops some of the internal struggles which helps me feel better in the moment and accept feeling anxious.

2. Body Scan

Start at your head or your toes and scan your full body to look for tension, pain, or some other warning sign that isn’t typical for you. Invite the body part to speak and tell you what’s going on. Over the past few months, tension and pain in my jaw have returned from years ago despite wearing a nightguard provided by my dentist. I got curious and asked myself why stress might be showing up in this body part now. After some Googling, I landed on the idea that my tense jaw reflects holding back some important messages I’d like to communicate. For example, these messages could be about frustration, confusion, anger, fear, or some other emotion related to our country’s current challenges. The body scan helped me pay attention to my body’s messages and find ways to address them. Just like the Name It, Then Say It practice above, awareness precedes the search for possible solutions.

3. Turn Fears into Opportunities

Uncertainty allows for creative/flexible thoughts because there’s no crystal ball to provide the certainty and control you crave. You can turn anxiety and fear on their head by looking for opportunities. I spoke with a woman this week who lost a tenant in a rental property that provided stable income she needed to pay her bills. She was anxious that Covid-19 would prevent her from finding another tenet. So, she decided to research transitioning the property to an Airbnb. She believed expanding the market would increase her chances of recovering the income quickly. Because the income from an Airbnb varies, she also realized there was an opportunity to be more proactive about her finances and saving money. Looking for opportunities creates hope by shifting your thoughts from fear to opportunity.

Release Expectations

No matter the circumstances, you likely desire specific outcomes. For example, our daily schedule will improve once school ends; or my new job will be challenging in a good way; or I can focus on my health now that I have more time. Releasing expectations reduces stress and anxiety because you unhook from specific outcomes that may or may not happen. A simple way to release expectations is to end statements of certainty with “maybe.” Our daily schedule will improve once school ends. Maybe. My new job will be challenging in a good way. Maybe. I can focus on my health now that I have more time. Maybe. Releasing expectations creates space for possibility and reduces feelings of discouragement, disappointment, or failure if circumstances don’t turn out as you hoped.

Which of these uncertainty practices will you try first to reduce your anxiety and stress?

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About the Author

I coach professionals to redefine how to work, parent, and achieve financial freedom without sacrificing wellbeing. Motherhood, marriage, chronic illness, divorce, remarriage, and caring for aging loved ones contribute significantly to my story. Together, we can help you reach your full potential — on your terms.
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