Calm: 5 ways to deal with uncertainty
We talk to life coach Jess Wall about how to deal with the anxiety and uncertainty of living with Corona Virus. You're going to want to read this one. Promise.
As human beings, we all crave certainty. And, unfortunately, the last six months have been the very opposite of that. As Covid 19 cases rise again and we begin to really get to grips with the fact that it’s going to be around longer, I thought it would be useful to get some advice on dealing with the ongoing uncertainty we are all living with right now from a professional. Neuro Linguistic and Cognitive Behavioral Coach, Jess Wall, gives us her thoughts on how we can be happy, even in these confusing and unnerving times.
1. Have you fully accepted the situation?
Jess starts by explaining that we all go through changes in outlook when experience change (a bit similar to the ‘stages of grief’). So, where do you think you’ve got to on the following scale?
Denial – ‘It’s ok, we’ll get through this and these things happen. It’s like a war so let’s knuckle down to it and wait for the ending’.
Anger – ‘Why are the government not doing anything or doing more? We need to shut down quicker / why are they shutting things down, this is my livelihood at stake.
Bargaining – ‘ It’s ok if I break the rules, if I get the virus I’ll survive, so long as I don’t infect anyone else or go near my elderly relative we’ll be fine.’
Depression – ‘Oh crikey, this is going to last a while. I really won’t be able to return to the same reality as before, I really won’t be able to hug my mum or go for a drink with my friends for a long while.’
Acceptance – ‘OK, this is the reality for now so I can crack on and make the most of it, do the jobs I would have normally postponed, reach out by phone to people, enjoy my own company and that of those in my household, work out a way to make a living and pay my bills.’
‘Once you have an understanding of your position in a process, it can be helpful as you are quantifying and creating a bit more certainty,’ explains Jess. That makes sense to me. (I’m feeling a real mixture, myself!)
2. What can you control right now?
‘You have control over your own emotions and behaviours,’ explains Jess. ‘You also have an influence over the emotions and behaviour of those around you, although this is not your ‘business’ but theirs.’
Jess goes on to explain that our main concerns right now are likely to be over wider issues like politics and virus progression and so it is useful to make a list of what you can directly influence. She suggest taking a look at this diagram.
3. (Actually) try Mindfulness
We’ve all heard it can be helpful, but how many of us have actually given it a go (guilty)? ‘Taking up a practice like Mindfulness, can help you stay in the present,’ says Jess. ‘Since I have begun my practice, my sense of calm, wellbeing and logic have increased. Having personally experienced the effect of 10 minutes meditation a day, I know it works.’ Worth a shot, eh?! find out more here.
4. Be Grateful
Now, this one is simple, grounding and happy-making! We’ve all got a lot to be thankful for, if we only remember it.
‘Gratitude is a fantastic way to put life in perspective,’ Jess explains. ‘Note down 10 things that you are grateful for every morning AND every evening; whatever the size of the gratitude, sleeping in a bed, stroking a pet, hearing a bird sing etc. This will help to change your ‘state’ for the day’.
You know what it’s like when you have a chat with a really good friend or family member and you end up giggling? That sense of energy and fun is carried through to your next activity makes the day better, she adds.
I have to say, that I’m liking this one. However dark things can feel, there are always moments and people to focus your mind on.
5. If you’re really struggling – REACH OUT
Sometimes reaching out for help is the best option. Maybe you’re just at the end of your tether, or perhaps you just feel you need to talk to someone outside your household. ‘Coaches provide a chance to take time out of life, change perspective and set a new goal,’ explains Jess. ‘Many of my clients are parents, young people, and even elderly people who are in need of time with me to boost their energy for the next chapter in life. Changing even little patterns of behaviour and thought makes a huge difference, an NLP or Cognitive Behavioural coach can help to uncover hidden patterns which will lead to great achievement and change. Sounds good to us.
For more information on Jess Wall’s coaching practice take a look at her Little Black Book entry here.