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  • Dr. Jennifer Wild

Living with Ambiguity

Today, more than ever, we are living with uncertainty. The COVID-19 pandemic has added to the fact that life in 2020 has not been easy or expected. What can you do to help yourself, your family, your team, and the company thrive under these circumstances?


1. Realize that nothing is “certain”

We know that life brings constant change, and if we can develop the mindset that “It’s OK”, we can ease the discomfort that lack of certainly can instill. One way to help, is to think of all the positive things in your life that are in existence due to change. Do you have a wonderful child, a beautiful home? Have you traveled or improved your knowledge in some way? Focusing on the positive aspects of change can help you look forward to whatever is coming with a calm and happy heart rather that fear or dread.


2. Look forward to the surprises

If we anticipate that the day will bring many unknowns and think of them as good surprises, that can help us become grateful for what is and hopeful for what is to come. In addition, because we do create our own reality, if we expect gloom and doom, it will come. Even the most depressing news can be reframed into something positive, but it is a good practice to expect the best and be grateful for what is.


3. Remember that nothing last forever, whether good or bad

Sometimes when we are in a deep funk, realizing that “this too shall pass” is a good way to manage our anxiety of what else may happen. When life does send a blow, remember that it is temporary. Thinking about the future with a vision of what you want is essential.


4. Get support when you need to talk about it

That being said, sometimes things are just overwhelming. If that is the case, reach out to your friends, boss, or get professional help to assist you in coping. We all reach a point where we may need support to reframe our thinking and behaviors. That is to be commended; it is not a weakness.


5. Try to live in the now; focus on what you can do

Finally, action of any kind can be useful when facing ambiguous situations. Clean your closet, write that report, focus on the student (what you can do to help the ones you have or prepare for the ones that are coming). Anxiety is a future-oriented state of mind. So instead of worrying about what’s going to happen, Tamar Chansky, Ph.D., a psychologist and author of Freeing Yourself from Anxiety, advises us to, “reel yourself back to the present.” Just doing something helps us stay focused on the now.

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