What to do in uncertain times
It’s safe to say that around the globe things feel slightly shaky at the moment. Fortunately, humans are wired well to respond to unpredictability. That’s not to say we can’t all use a little help every now and then – especially in times of crisis, or when the screens go blank…
The modern world is one of quick fixes and fast answers. The wonders of the internet, literally available at our fingertips, seems to provide a level of certainty in most situations. Be it finding out the whereabouts of a loved one, the approaching weather, or how your bank balance is faring, everything can be done with a few swipes and pokes at a touchscreen.
The issue then becomes how to cope when the answers are not there. If we are so used to solving problems instantly it can leave us with little ability to cope when problems are more complex – such as when disaster strikes.
Here are seven ways to bolster your inner strength to better deal with curveballs…
- Go your own way.
Technology has made our lives very easy – some may say, a little too easy. A prime example is the use of mapping apps on our phones. Many people use these reflexively to save time in finding an address they could probably have sniffed out themselves.
One way to help build resilience and lessen reliance on technology is to forego the use of your phone when finding an address. This is the chance to see how well your sense of direction actually works. You may find you revel in the uncertainty of turning corners without the little robotic voice telling you, or you may find this makes you anxious. Either way, next time your battery is flat or there’s no signal, this exercise should help you to take in your surroundings and figure out where to go successfully and calmly.
- Immerse your mind.
In times of uncertainty it is important to have somewhere to focus your energy beyond the source of your stress. Sitting on the couch and constantly checking news updates will not make the weather event or the political debacle go away.
So instead try to find a project or hobby to put your mind into while this time passes. Lockdown loaves were a great example of this, with many Covid-cooks putting great effort and mindfulness into creating food for their families. Similarly an art project, a new vege garden, or even a scientific investigation into an area of interest will help take your mind off the current drama.
- Keep in touch, IRL.
As they say, there is strength in numbers. It’s why it’s so important to value your friends and family – and to be sure to be there when they need you.
Try to meet in person as often as possible, as well as keeping in touch over the phone. Having strong connections with those around you, including neighbours and community members, will help you to feel looked after and a part of a greater good in times of adversity.
- Look after yourself.
Getting everything your body needs to function well is always a good boost when it comes to dealing with both big and small challenges. A healthy body equates to a highly functioning brain. So, make sure you eat well and get lots of sleep (and try to cut back on anything that hinders this).
Equally, a healthy mind will reflect on the strength of your body, so take notice of times of internal struggle. Journaling, walking in nature, meditating and yoga are all ways to keep the brain in a calm state despite everything that may swirl around you.
- Remember that change is a constant.
Life as you know it may be just as you like it. But having a mindset that is open to change will help when a spanner is thrown in the works. Schools nowadays teach kids to have a growth mindset – which means seeing life as a series of opportunities to progress and develop. This is a great skill to have when times get tough.
If you find yourself resistant to a change (and there is nothing you can do or should do to prevent it) it may help to remember another time in your life when an unwelcome change occurred. Often, there can be an unexpectedly positive result that came from that change – and revisiting this may help you to accept your current situation.
- Keep an ear out for that inner voice.
Self-esteem and self-belief can sometimes be the force that allows you to progress through difficult times. Sometimes that inner voice may seem to be constantly belittling you. It may be telling you that you don’t have the capacity to take this on, or you’re not strong enough, for example. If this occurs regularly you are more likely to believe the ongoing inner narrative.
The good news is that you can change your inner voice. Every time you find yourself thinking something negative, turn it around with a positive mantra. Try saying “I’ve got this” or “I’m strong” to yourself a few times in your head. Eventually you will start to believe it – and achieve it.
- Remember your resiliency.
Humans are amazing creatures, able to withstand immense amounts of pressure and capable of surviving seemingly impossible situations.
There are many people in history who show this – think Nelson Mandala or Malala Yousafzai – and they are often painted as exceptional. However, the truth is that most human beings have innate strength and an instinct for survival. Knowing this about yourself, and remembering times when you have surpassed challenges, will help you to cope if disaster strikes.