Chronic worries don’t give you any power over uncontrollable events such as a job loss; it robs you of present-day fun and saps your vitality. There are better ways to deal with uncertainty and that begins with your change of attitude.
Economies around the world are now suffering similar symptoms as millions are being laid off because of Covid-19. This is going to be a global unemployment pandemic; further compounding these alarming statistics is the pace at which many unexpectedly find themselves without jobs—either laid off with some sort of termination payout, asked to take indefinite unpaid leave or fired outright. For those who have unexpectedly lost their jobs, this is of course a financial challenge, but it also poses a psychological challenge. How do you treat those emotions when you lose your job?
Learn to cope with uncertainty
To cope with all this confusion, many of us use worrying as a tool to try and predict the future and prevent unexpected surprises. Worrying will make it look as if you are in charge of unknown circumstances. You may think it would help you find a solution to your problems or get you prepared for the worst. Perhaps if you just agonise long enough about a question, just think about every possibility, or read every opinion online, you’ll find a solution and be able to monitor the outcome. Alas, none of that functions. Chronic worries can’t give you any power over uncontrollable events; it just robs you of present-day fun, saps your vitality, and keeps you up throughout the evening. But there are better ways to deal with uncertainty—and that begins with your attitude change.
Act on things you can control
There’s a lot of confusion about life at the moment—and many things remain outside of your grasp. But, while you can’t monitor the spread of a virus, the economy’s recovery, or if you’re going to get a pay check next week, you’re not totally powerless. Whatever your worries or personal situations, rather than thinking about the uncontrollable, try to refocus your attention on taking action on the things that are in your power.
For example, if during this tough period you’ve lost your job or income, you still have control of how much effort you put into looking for work online, sending out resumes or networking with your contacts. Similarly, if you are concerned for your safety in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, you should take action by washing your hands frequently, cleaning surfaces, avoiding crowds, and watching for vulnerable friends and neighbours.
No matter how much you aspire to remove uncertainties and instability from your life, the fact is that every day you still embrace a great deal of ambiguity. You’re embracing a degree of ambiguity any time you cross a street, get behind the wheel of a car, or eat takeout or restaurant food. You trust the traffic will stop, you won’t have an accident and everything you eat is healthy. In these conditions, the likelihood of something bad happening is low, so you’ll accept the risk and move on without the need for assurance. If you are religious, you typically embrace questions and confusion as part of your religion as well.When irrational fears and worries take hold, it can be hard to think logically and accurately weigh up the probability of something bad happening.
Focus on the present
Uncertainty is also focused on potential issues, and all the negative stuff that you might imagine happening. It may leave you feeling helpless and anxious about the days ahead, exaggerating the magnitude of the problems you face and even paralysing you from taking action to solve a problem.
Focusing on the present is one of the surest ways to stop worrying for the future. Instead of trying to guess what will happen, turn your attention to what’s going on right now. You will disrupt the pessimistic thoughts and tragic scenarios going through your mind by being completely linked to the present.
Via mindfulness, you will learn to concentrate your attention purposefully on the moment. With daily practice, mindfulness will help turn your concern for potential issues into a greater understanding of the present moment. It will also help relax your mind, alleviate tension, and improve your overall mood.
Studies show that people who suffered financial, housing or job-related hardship following the Great Recession were more vulnerable to mental health problems. So how can people suffering now maintain some measure of equilibrium in this unprecedented situation?
After any loss, people should recognise the elements of their situation they can and cannot control—and focus on the former. Identifying immediate problems (like the need to reduce household expenditure for a period) and putting some fixes in place will help, along with acknowledging that—in the short term—things will be tough and changes will be needed until the situation turns around.
Perhaps what is different about the current unemployment situation is the belief that it’s temporary and that once things are under control, people will return to work. Furthermore, there’s evidence that the collective nature of this experience is forging a sense that we’re all in this together. The author is a yoga guru and entrepreneur, who has been spreading the essence of yoga among the Chinese
The Easy Way Out
- Think about every possibility, or read every opinion online, you'll find a solution and be able to monitor the outcome.
- Rather than thinking about the uncontrollable, try to refocus your attention on taking action on the things that are in your power.
- Focus on the present is one of the surest ways to stop worrying for the future.
- Identifying immediate problems and putting some fixes in place will help.
- Daily practice of mindfulness will help turn your concern for potential issues into a greater understanding of the present.