Healthy mind

5 keys to managing uncertainty

Managing uncertainty is working with the unknown, with what does not yet exist. This can be tricky at times, but here are some tips to better deal with uncertainty.

Working with the unknown or with what has not yet happened is frequent; it is part of our daily landscape. All planning has a part of looking ahead and trying to guess what will happen. However, if managing uncertainty is difficult, chronic anxiety and worry may take over the decisions you make.

In this article, you will find a definition of this concept and some keys to proactively manage it. Tolerating and working with what is unknown can be a great gift.

What is uncertainty intolerance?

Tolerance for uncertainty is the difficulty of coping with situations in which we cannot control all the factors. In general, people who cannot manage uncertainty adequately feel great anxiety about negative events that can occur and try to make decisions without taking any risk.

Life gets complicated over the years, so the intolerance of uncertainty prevents these people from making big changes in their lives.

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These people usually need a cognitive closure, that is, a definitive answer to their doubts that does not leave anything to the air. This closure implies a certainty to be able to grasp and around which to make decisions without any type of risk.

Biases associated with mismanagement of uncertainty

The low tolerance for the unknown is based on a series of thoughts that, unconsciously, maintain and feed the fear of what is to come. These are the most common:

  • It is often thought that controlling the process is controlling the result: in this way, you avoid looking for solutions to questions that have no answers. But, since they do not have it, the process feeds back.
  • “The harder you try, the more likely you are to succeed”: not true. Being that there are uncontrollable things, something can always happen that truncates the plans, although this does not mean that the desire to fight should be lost.
  • Tendency to predict the future to avoid possible negative events so that their appearance tends to be overestimated.

5 keys to managing uncertainty

As you can see, concerns are common to existence itself, consonant with the act of living. However, so that this does not reach disabling or unpleasant extremes, here are a few tricks to carry it in the best possible way.

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1. Redirect emotions

The predominant emotion when something cannot be controlled is fear. Fear of something happening that has not been foreseen fear that what is in mind will be fulfilled, or fear of the negative consequences of an event.

When it comes to achieving a goal, the energy that this fear consumes – plus the accompanying anger, frustration, and worry – can be very intense. This energy that consumes fear is a lot; redirect it to focus on your goals.

2. Accept that there are things that cannot be controlled

Not only are there factors that you know and do not control, but there are factors that may influence you, and you do not even know.

Verbalizing it can be terrifying, just as it can be wonderful for certain knots to unravel on their own. In this sense, it is important not to get lost in the negative.

3. Be flexible to manage uncertainty

This goes hand in hand with the previous point. Just as it is not possible to control all the strange variables in a situation, it is also not good to make plans that do not allow changes.

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The important thing is to keep the goals, because the plans are only the way to them, and in that way, they can be changed as much as necessary.

4. It is not a solo journey

There are also individual differences in intolerance to uncertainty, so each person has their tricks to get along. Learn from others, work as a team. Of course, if you feel discomfort that is affecting your daily life, seek a professional’s help.

5. To manage uncertainty, start small

When the difficulty in dealing with the unknown is widespread, it is not helpful to begin to overcome it by making big life decisions. Start small: take small risks; you will see how your tolerance increases little by little.

Events that have not yet occurred or circumstances that have not yet occurred can be exciting for some and a great source of distress for others. If there is someone in your environment which suffers from them, the group’s support is essential to overcome fears of any kind. Lean on and support others.

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