How to Cope with the Unknown

Commissioned by Talent Courtyard.

Almost every aspect of life holds some dimension of uncertainty, especially during the trying times we currently find ourselves. Therefore, it is important to focus and realign your mindset to cope when facing the unknown. At Talent Courtyard, we understand the importance of positive mental wellbeing and therefore have put together some top tips for dealing with uncertainty.

Accept life’s unpredictability It is important to accept that life is unpredictable; we already accomplish this in everyday activities such as driving and crossing the road. We trust that the chances of something negative happening is very low and therefore continue our day with little concern. This positive attitude should be mirrored when facing larger, uncertain circumstances too. Some of the magic of life comes from its spontaneity; accept that you cannot predict the future to enhance feelings of empowerment and confidence.

Acknowledge your emotions The feeling of losing control can lead to stress and anxiety. Acceptance can bring peace during adversity, and therefore it is important to acknowledge these feelings to encourage them to pass. Ensure you validate and release your emotions in an appropriate manner; exercising, taking a long walk or chatting to a friend are great ways to understand your own thoughts and relieve stress.

Focus on the things you can control It is easy to feel powerless to the unpredictability of life, but you do have control over your response to these challenges. To alleviate stress, start to create an action plan to make positive changes in your circumstance. Whatever these tasks may be, split them into bite-size steps to reduce the feeling of overwhelm; by visualising what you need to do and how, the duty seems more manageable. Transforming your efforts from worry to active problem solving will enhance confidence, ambition and motivation.

A simple method to alleviate stress is to identify the situations which trigger worry; social media, the news or pessimistic individuals can all fuel your own sense of uncertainty. The acknowledgement of these triggers helps to reduce your engagement and in turn, minimises the feeling of stress and anxiety.

Switch off When we are experiencing uncertainty, it may seem appropriate to consistently worry and work towards a different outcome. However, it is vital you take regular, short breaks away from your work and digital devices to switch off and centre the mind. Take a short walk, make your favourite snack or have a chat with friends – these activities will help you to relax, stimulate new ideas and encourage meaningful work once you return.

Sleep also has a huge impact on our mental capacity and focus, therefore you should rest for the recommended eight-hours a night to enhance positivity and concentration. Moreover, ensure you are eating a balanced and healthy diet; food determines our energy levels and mood and therefore eating well encourages effective work and positive wellbeing both mentally and physically.

Be present in today It is important to remember that the negative emotions that follow uncertainty are finite and will pass eventually. Attempt to ground yourself in the present; take deep breathes or meditate to achieve this. Moreover, a great way to refocus is through mindfulness. Regular practice can help transform negative preconceptions of the future and encourage an appreciation of the present, reducing stress and boosting overall wellbeing.

Celebrate the successes When you are feeling uncertain, it is easy to overlook the positives you may experience in a never-ending flow of worry. To overcome this, celebrate your successes, no matter how large or small, by listening to music, chatting with family or taking part in one of Talent Courtyard’s creative workshops!

If you feel overwhelmed and uncertain, try to remember the benefits of switching off, refocusing the mind and being present in today. Step away from your triggers and join us for our Art as a Form of Meditation and Positive Thinking Techniques workshops. To relieve tension in the workplace, try our Stress Management and How to Switch Off sessions; these workshops are a great way to identify stress triggers and relieve the feeling of overwhelm.

Words by Kelly Bryan

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writer & visual artist