The world appears to be always going through one change or another. If we are used to the status quo, the eddies and currents of life can seem to be dragging us along while giving us little control. Even positive change can feel overwhelming.
When life steers us off course and disrupts our routine, we are forced to re-examine the world and once again find our place and purpose. Fear, anxiety, overwhelm, and excitement can bubble to the surface of our psyche all at once and leave us in a state of turmoil.
A bubbling cauldron of feelings can trigger specific behaviors, many of them undesirable. You could react in a passive-aggressive manner or lose yourself in your work with little regard to how it may affect other aspects of your life. Some may act in an opposite manner by procrastinating and avoiding essential tasks.
We may neglect taking care of ourselves and find solace in unhealthy habits. Many will sleep less, eat worse, and regularly overindulge. Others may exclude themselves from social activities or start spending more time with others who indulge in unhealthy life choices.
Stress, regardless if it comes from a positive or negative source, can have far-reaching and long-term consequences – both mentally and physiologically.
Stress releases hormones into the system, which can impede digestion, reduce the absorption of essential nutrients, and inhibit the immune system. If any of your coping mechanisms involve unhealthy habits and poor self-care, there is an even higher risk of injury or illness.
High-stress levels can also impact your mental health. If you consistently worry about what life will bring, you can impede your ability to concentrate and focus on what needs to be done.
Great leaders are often admired for their calmness during times of uncertainty and adversity. Many of us, however, are far removed from any semblance of serenity when faced with uncertain times. Emotions boil close to the surface, ready to erupt at a moment’s notice, and most often at inconvenient times.
Whether you pound on your desk, lash out, yell, cry, or punch a wall, feelings of not having any control always make us uncomfortable.
How to Cope with Uncertainty and Change
Develop Healthier Habits – Eating well, getting plenty of sleep, and exercising are all excellent (and proven) strategies that will help you tame the mounting feelings of stress and overwhelm. Discarding a few of your more harmful habits such as smoking and drinking too much alcohol will also help you gain more control over your life.
Look After Your Mental Health – A healthy and calm mind is a less stressed and anxious mind. Regularly practice meditation or perform a few deep breathing exercises every day. Be mindful of your thoughts. Discard the negative thoughts or replace them with positive versions.
Employ Healthy Ways to Express Your Emotions – Share how you feel with people you trust. If you must use physical exertion, bash a pillow instead of a wall or a desk.
Be Kind to Others – If your response to stress is to push people away, you will soon find yourself alone and even more vulnerable. Build strong relationships so you can create a strong foundation of support.
Adopt a Can-Do Attitude – Preparing yourself for the inevitable changes will help you accept the reality of the situation. Consider other challenges you have safely navigated through and agree that you will be able to do the same with all future problems.
Change is inevitable. Accept that you can’t control it, but you can steer your way through and find many rewards and opportunities along the way.
Life can be tough. Sometimes, all you need is a helping hand or a sympathetic ear. If changes in your life have created undue stress or feelings of overwhelm, then guidance from a mental health professional is highly recommended.
To learn more about getting counseling support, click here: Anxiety Treatment