5 Ways to Cope With Uncertainty
According to Dante’s Inferno, Limbo is the first circle of Hell. And you know why: It’s not easy to face an ambiguous future. So lean on these smart strategies, courtesy of experts ranging from a brain scientist to an Olympian.
Embrace the Chaos
When things don’t go as planned and we’re not sure how they’ll end, we tend to create doomsday scenarios. The uncertainty
of a lost job becomes “I’ll never work again.” We see only the loss side of the equation, which is a phenomenon called the
negativity bias. Our brains are wired to go there automatically, but we can rewire this impulse. Realize that there is rarely
disruption without opportunity. Look for possibilities that arise from uncertainty and act on them. Ask yourself, “Where is
the potential here? What doors have opened that once were closed? How can I turn this predicament into something extraordinary?”
Jonathan Fields is the author of Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance ($11, amazon.com). He is also the founder of the Good Life Project, a movement designed to inspire people to live better. He lives in New York City.
No one likes to wait. And waiting for a momentous life change is more challenging still. I work with prospective parents waiting
to adopt, and while they are in limbo, I tell them to live their lives as fully as possible. During a rocky and uncertain
time, people need to have something concrete to look forward to: Take that long-awaited backpacking trip. Go to a spa or a
sports match with your friends. Instead of fretting about what may be ahead, do something that makes you happy and is just
for you. People don’t want to look back, say, 15 years later and remember how they sat around worrying.
Susan Ogden is the domestic infant program director at Adoptions Together, a licensed adoption agency serving Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.