Let’s be completely honest for a moment, the unknown is scary. Dealing with uncertainty can actually be very scary at times, not knowing what’s to come or what’s going to happen next. Whether it’s in your career, relationships, finances, etc., it can cause stress, anxiety, overthinking, and even self-doubt - trust me, I’ve experienced it all!
So let’s shift our minds back to grade school and think about the ways to handle uncertainty just like a mathematical equation. Here’s an easy example:
If x + 3 = 8, what is the value of x?
In this equation, we are uncertain of the value of ’x.’ Now, it’s our job to use a unique formula to solve for that unknown. When you subtract 3 from both sides of the equation, this allows you to get the value of x:
x + 3 = 8
- 3 - 3
x = 5
Pretty straightforward, right? Well, when you know the right formula, solving for the unknown can be quite simple. But you see, where I’m getting at is that when you are uncertain of an unknown, you can always rely on a formula.
In all of the personal development coaching I’ve done over the years, one of the biggest things that I’ve learned from my students is that many of us require the unlearning of certain formulas (or habits) we have been trained to rely on. When dealing with stress and uncertainty, it may seem natural to want to complain or worry to the point where you can’t even think straight.
We become so hard-wired in our thinking that sometimes it just takes a little re-learning of the basics to reset our subconscious programming and overcome uncertainty.
That’s why today, I’d like to share with you my go-to formula for managing stress and uncertainty in just a few easy steps.
Step 1: Breathe
One of the most significant byproducts of uncertainty is stress, and we all know the toll stress can take on our bodies, both physically and mentally. But did you know there’s an actual breathing technique that can be used to help calm you down? When stress from uncertainty starts to creep in, the first thing I like to do is practice calming breathing:
Slowly inhale for 3 seconds
Hold your inhale for 3 seconds
Release and exhale for 3 seconds
Be sure to repeat this technique for several minutes, allowing your shoulders to completely relax. It can be done either lying down, sitting, or standing upright and is perfect for people of all ages.
When you practice calming breathing, your body and mind become completely aligned, resulting in heightened clarity and consciousness. This technique for managing stress is also an incredible segue into guided meditation where you can learn how to calm nerves even further and help foster positivity. Taking a deep breath to calm anxiety is likely the oldest trick in the book, but the key here is to practice this specific technique regularly, to the point where it becomes routine or automatic. Start your mornings with calming breathing or meditation, and you’ll be on your way to stress-free days in no time!
Step 2: Stop dwelling (and start embracing)
Ever wonder how much time we spend dwelling, complaining, and worrying about what what we can’t control? Well, according to a recent study, 85% of what we worry about actually never happens. The study also reveals that for the remaining 15% that did happen, 79% of the subjects realized they were able to handle the difficulty better than expected or the difficulty taught them a lesson.
Those are amazingly huge odds, so, it really makes you wonder if there is any value to stressing or worrying about uncertainty. That’s why part of the formula requires you to start embracing what’s right in front of you. Allowing yourself to embrace uncertainty actually opens you up to endless possibilities. That means you are making room for new paths and adventures - some of which you may not have known you even desired. So when handling confusion and stress, you must learn to face it head-on, allowing yourself to surrender to a totally new perspective. That’s something I like to call emotional intelligence. Because we’re not always going to know the answer for what’s next, and that’s totally okay. So let’s use this formula to start thinking about uncertainty a little differently going forward, because you may discover a brand new you!
Step 3: Stay in action and don’t look back
Okay, if you’ve made it this far, I think we can all agree that with uncertainty, there are moments in life that we just can’t control. And now that you have learned to embrace this, it’s going to be that much easier to stay focused on the bigger picture. This way, you’re only allowing your mind to focus on exactly what matters. So when dealing with uncertainty, the third and most pivotal step in this formula requires you to stop and ask yourself, ‘okay, now what?’… (and get used to it). When you are feeling stressed by the unknown, immediately shift your focus to staying in action. Ask questions. Seek help from others. Make an action plan. Do whatever you need to do to be on the upward trajectory - just don’t look back. And it’s okay if you don’t get answers or solutions right away. As long as you know how to embrace uncertainty, you will realize that you can’t help but keep moving forward.
At the end of the day, these are the life tips I had to learn on my own to start cultivating the kind of life I always desired. At one point, having $120,000 in debt, I was tired of always feeling stressed and worried about what was next in my life. So I had to make some changes, and I hope you too can use this formula to uncover all of the amazing possibilities life has to offer.
And as a bonus, I’d like to provide you with instant access to an eye-opening exercise that will reveal the hidden subconscious programming that may be keeping you stressed and confused by self-doubt.
We all know life is short, so let’s make it count because the uncertainty of life is never going to disappear. But what will always remain is your ability to shape a life on your terms and not a life at the mercy of worry or stress. So here’s to embracing uncertainty with open arms!
Natalie Ledwell is a best selling author, speaker and successful entrepreneur. She's passionate about helping others to achieve their greatest dreams and ambitions through her personal development programs and her online TV show, The Inspiration Show.