Simple Mindfulness Practices for Managing Uncertainty
Managing uncertainty is a difficult task that requires a lot of thinking. Amber Jane is the Founder of Mind Beyond, a mindfulness training platform for the modern professional. Amber Jane has shared an introduction to mindfulness – three easy mindfulness practices to manage uncertainty, for times when you’re feeling overwhelmed and need to let go.
“The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning. Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers”
Erich Fromm, Psychologist
A few weeks ago, a friend called me in tears. She was supposed to join me for dinner that evening but called to tell me she would not make it out that evening as she had a horrible headache and could not get out of bed. When I asked her what may have brought about the headache she started sobbing, “I just don’t know what I am doing with my life or where I am going.” Her response surprised me. “But you love your job, you have a great boyfriend and wonderful friends…” I reminded her. “It seems like you are doing great! “Yes, that is all true” she replied “But I am just so scared about my future, I don’t know if all this will last or where I will be a year from now. Everything is just so uncertain…” So, how should we be managing uncertainty?
The need for control or certainty in our lives is one thing all of us experience in one way or another. Our feelings of stress and overwhelm usually stem from our fear of the unknown and our ongoing need to be in control. No matter what stage of life you are at, or the success and achievements you have gained, everyone feels out of control and overwhelmed by life at times.
The pioneering psychologist Carl Jung wrote “ whatever you resist – persists’. The more we try to fight or control everything the more stress and overwhelm we experience because life will always be full of circumstances and that we simply cannot change or plan ahead for.
So what is the solution? How can we manage uncertainty and deal with the overwhelm that comes with feeling insecure about our future?
The key is to get into the habit of being comfortable with uncertainty.
The practice of mindfulness is about training our mind to focus on the present moment and being fully engaged in our life right now. From this place of present moment awareness we can relinquish our tendency to overthink about the future and let go of the stress that comes with needing to control and predict things that have not happened yet.
The next time you find yourself overwhelmed or fearful of the unknown, try one of these simple mindfulness practices to get to grips with managing uncertainty:
Exercise 1: Return To The Present
Fear about losing control is almost always about things in the future. When we come back to the present, we can cope with and respond to whatever is going on in that moment.
- Stop what you’re doing.
- Close your eyes and breathe.
- Take three deep breaths.
- Focus on the air going in through your nose and out through your nose or mouth.
- Relax your jaw, face, neck, shoulders, and arms.
- Slowly say to yourself, “I am here now.”
- Repeat until you feel calm.
Exercise 2: Create A Life Map
If you are feeling unsure of where your life is headed try a creative approach by drawing a map of your life. This is a very simple, fun and practical exercise created by success coach Kim Morgan. It will help you to reframe your perspective on what is within your control and what options or possibilities are available to you.
- Take a large sheet of paper and divide into 3 sections
- In the first section draw a map of your life today. Use images or words to represent aspects of your life.
- In the third section, draw a picture of your life in two years time as you would like it to be. Again use image or words.
- In the middle section draw images to represent what’s stopping you from getting from section 1 to 3
- Finally draw a path from section 1 to 3, crossing section 2. Put words and images on here of everything that will help to cross to section 3.
Exercise 3: Change Your Focus
When we think about everything we want to accomplish in life we can easily become overwhelmed. While it is important to have long term goals and a ‘big picture’ vision for our life, in our day to day life it is more helpful for us to focus on the smaller more manageable actions that need to be completed for us to be moving forward. The next time you are feeling stuck, simply take a moment to close your eyes and ask yourself the following 3 questions:
- What can I let go of?
- What can wait?
- What is the right next step?
Amber Jane is the Founder of Mind Beyond – a mindfulness training platform for the modern professional. She is a certified Performance Coach and Mindfulness Teacher.
If you are interested in learning how to meditate and establish a mindfulness practice in your life, Amber can teach you how. She offers one-to-one private mindfulness-based coaching and is available for talks, workplace workshops and corporate training
Amber Jane McCormick
Find out more about Amber Jane or get in touch directly here
Follow her on Instagram @ambi_halo
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