We look for information and answers. That’s our first instinct when faced with uncertainty, and it makes sense. Reliable information and known solutions help us handle unfamiliar situations.

But what happens when we’re faced not just with something that’s new to us, but something complex and far-reaching that no one has experience with, as we are right now? That’s our current situation.

…it’s more effective not to attempt to create certainty. Though evolution might have rigged our brains to resist uncertainty, we can never really know what the future will bring. And in improbable situations like the pandemic, which has massively disrupted our routines and utterly destroyed our best-laid plans, we need to learn to live with ambiguity. “Uncertainty is the only certainty there is,” wrote mathematician John Allen Paulos. “Knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.”

~ Christine Carter, Seven Ways to Cope With Uncertainty

The pandemic is a chance to practice the art of powerful surrender – an acceptance of reality that  is an act of courage and strength. Powerful surrender involves choice. We choose to release a struggle that’s only keeping us bogged down in difficult emotions. In doing that we’re freed to focus our time and energy on what will ultimately help us move forward.

We can do this by shifting away from the search for certainty and moving toward strengthened resilience. Our resilience is strengthened when we nurture ourselves, build strong connections with others, and welcome and express all our emotions, including the difficult, unpleasant ones.

Why Self-Nurturing Matters

An excerpt from How to Nurture Yourself for Love, Resilience and Joy:

Those of us who are service-centered are inclined to nurture others, giving generously of our time and energy, saying yes to every request and responding to every need with all we’ve got. We may do that until we can’t do it anymore because of the emotional, mental or physical depletion that sets in after years of nurturing everyone but ourselves.

A river cannot continue to flow without a source of renewal. Carrying out a commitment to nurture others requires making a commitment first to nurturing ourselves.

Read the full post for tips on nurturing yourself first.

Build Strong Connections

This excerpt from Do You Need Resilience for the Happy Changes? shares two of five everyday was to build the resilience needed to handle transformational change. 

You may have taken care of all the practical things, but it’s the uncontrollable and unforeseen emotional and practical upheaval that calls upon your capacity for transformational resilience. That’s what lets you cope positively with fundamental, lasting change to life as you have known it.

We can prepare by making resilience-building part of how we live our lives. This means integrating resilience-building practices into our everyday lives. Two of those are 1) strengthening connections by being a part of a network of trusting, supportive others, and 2) being willing to ask for help.

Read the full post for the details on these two practices, and for three additional ideas.  

Welcome and Express Emotions

This excerpt from Body, Mind and Spirit, How to Stay Well During the Pandemic includes ways to identify and express the range of emotions we’re experiencing these days.

The coronavirus is an incredible challenge to each and every one of us. It’s brought rapid, overwhelming change, penetrating every aspect of life. We’re dealing with loss, grief, uncertainty and fear.

If you’re  going through rapid shifts in mood and state of mind as you confront all of this, you’ve got plenty of company. A late March Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll shows that almost half of all people in the US say the COVID19 pandemic is affecting their mental health.

Rapid emotional shifts, and concerns with emotional well-being are normal during in a time like this. But that doesn’t mean we should become stuck in difficult emotions.

Instead, try out ways to accept and soothe challenging emotions and then shift our focus in ways that uplift us.

You’ll find more about this and other helpful ideas in the full post. 

What We Resist Persists!

But resisting this current reality won’t help us recover, learn, grow, or feel better. Ironically, resistance prolongs our pain and difficulty by amplifying the challenging emotions we are feeling. There is real truth to the aphorism that what we resist persists. There’s an alternative. Instead of resisting, we can practice acceptance…Acceptance is about meeting life where it is and moving forward from there.

~ Christine Carter, Seven Ways to Cope With Uncertainty

This time of not-knowing is going to go on for….well, I don’t know how long it will last! What would happen if instead of resisting this not-knowing, we accepted it? I think we’d find ourselves freed, strengthened and uplifted, too.


Featured image: NL Seibel, Keys to Change, LLC, 2020

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