Practicing Peace in an Unpredictable World
Most people are creatures of habits or routines. We make plans and when things go accordingly, we develop a sense of control. This helps us feel certain and secure about others and ourselves. However, the truth about life is we don’t have control. Life is good at throwing curveballs, leaving us feeling confused, anxious, and stressed. Many Americans feel more uncertain by the year; injustices, riots, natural disasters, the pandemic, and an unstable presidency are creating upheaval in many lives.
Research shows us that people vary when it comes to reacting to uncertainty. Some are more resilient, and others react by feeling angry or critical. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you aren’t alone. These suggestions can help you take charge and practice inner peace, minimizing a low mood and anxious thoughts.
1. Avoid dwelling on things you cannot control or change. When times are uncertain, we expect the worse and begin reacting to that fear, which can result in a panic attack. Refocus yourself to the present by engaging your senses. What is the weather like? What are you eating? What activity are you engaged in now? Staying grounded helps us remain calm.
2. Be gentle with yourself. When many become stressed by unpredictability, they beat themselves up for what they should’ve, could’ve, or would’ve done differently. Be gentle and have patience with the process of life’s uncertainty. You did the best you could in the past with limited information. Cut yourself some slack.
3. Limit news sources. Listening to many news sources or reading news on social media can be confusing and overwhelming. Stick with one or two sources of information you find helpful and limit how many times you check in.
4. Talk to a friend who is reasonable and less reactive. Drama begets drama, and some people get more excited or overwhelmed when uncertainty happens. You have control over who you listen to; talk to friends who in the past have remained calm, reassuring, and committed to the friendship. Consider letting go of friends or acquaintances that post inaccurate or hateful comments.
5. Begin a new project, study, or activity. It’s difficult to become overwhelmed when you’re actively involved in something you love. Idle time allows more time to worry and react in ways that aren’t in your best interest. Turn your attention to caring for others or an activity that brings you joy.
Uncertainty is part of life; the only certainty about life is that it will change. Reacting to unpredictable times by yelling, screaming, or blaming is not helpful for you or those live with. If you need additional help, consider getting help with a counselor. When we take control of what we can control, we become more confident and less fearful. Learning healthy coping mechanisms can help you live a longer and more satisfying life.