5 tips for managing a fear of the future

Uncertainty or fear of the future, for what will happen, often paralyses us. Below, we give you some tips to manage these feelings.

KNOW YOURSELF

26 August 2020

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After living for months engulfed in a gradually increasing excess of stress, thanks to COVID-19 and its consequences, another pandemic emerged: uncertainty. And its two twin siblings: fear and anxiety.

This feeling has continued to grow in many of us, leading us to think about what is going to happen with our jobs, our economy, our family, and whether we can keep our loved ones safe, physically and economically.

All of us have had our own fight to keep our heads above water, with many stress factors, which are never good, and made worse if they are accompanied by uncertainty.  And, what happens if you can’t do anything to control it? That’s when our level of discomfort grows.

Often, uncertainty acts as a multiplier of anxiety, which leads to the loss of control over our behaviour, just like we have those famous queues at the supermarket to buy toilet paper, for example. Everything reduces to an unrelenting need to control everything that happens to us, in terms of what we cannot control and we don’t want to be out of control..., and it removes our more rational abilities to explain such panic buying.

These health, personal, social, economic risks, along with a high level of indecision and uncertainty, over time, can end up crushing us, making our day-to-day life hang in the balance.

How do you manage uncertainty?

  1.  Describe your level of tolerance: After a few months of lockdown, where we have been more susceptible and irritable, we also have more self-awareness and know what our limits are.  It helps a lot to write down what you think these limits are, reviewing them regularly, helping to reduce their intensity because its scares us less having them in front of us and helps us to regulate ourselves.

    2. Define the uncertainty: Thinking about circumstances of situations over and over for no reason is harmful to us. Knowing that we have this tendency to magnify things, in moments of weakness, can lead us not to be objective, hence the need to be specific, to better face our plans, without wasting our energy on thoughts that are not constructive. Also try writing it down and you’ll see how it loses strength when you define a way of facing it.

    3. Live in the present: No one knows what we have experienced will bring; we can’t live in the past and, less so, in the future. Practise mindfulness exercises to establish limits in the present moment. It is best to do it every day at the same time for 10-20 mins, in a peaceful environment.

    4. Focus on resilience: Think about what you are capable of doing today, in the next few hours. Strategies and energies should be aimed at enjoying the most positive aspects of what surrounds us and who we can do it with. They will normally be small things, of little importance, but they are the things we miss when we don’t have them. If you think about them and write them down, you are bound to have lots of things. Try it

    5. Look for support: You are allowed to feel drained. Ask your friends for help. We know there is comfort in other people’s woes. Without looking for unnecessary reassurance, without falling into victimhood, lean on someone you trust and tell them what you’ve been thinking, how you've designed the way to face uncertainty. You’ll see that you do receive support. And, if you are unsure, you can always get the support of a professional.