Coping with Uncertainty

Uncertainty is unavoidable in our lives. Will it rain or snow tomorrow? Will the trains be running on schedule?

Some people live with some uncertainty. Will my children have a good learning experience at school? How will I manage the budget?

Others live with a lot of uncertainty. What will be the results of the next medical tests? Will I have enough money to cover groceries this week? Will my loved one serving abroad make it home? Will my child be targeted?

When society faces upheaval and our local and global sense of security wanes, we are all affected by increased uncertainty. Is my family welcome and safe in our own community? Will my loved ones be able to visit me? Will we face another terrorist attack? Will the on-going threat of danger in my community be ignored?

No matter our circumstances, uncertainty is a part of our lives. We may experience uncertainty about what events may impact us or our loved ones today, tomorrow or fifteen years from now. People facing financial and medical hardships may be faced with a larger degree of uncertainty. In the face of such challenges, even getting out of bed in the morning is a form of healthy coping.

Coping Techniques

There are many ways to cope positively with uncertainty, and it is most important for individuals to find what works for them. The following is a list of techniques that can be used to help with feelings of uncertainty. Experiment with several to find out which ones appeal to you and help you cope best.

Worry Box and Grounding Techniques
Relaxation Breathing and Imagery
Additional Tips

Find Your Own Style

We can all recall times in our lives when we coped successfully and managed the stress of the unknown. It is important to look back at those times and recognize what worked to help us cope. Perhaps we can fall back on those methods, and add some new strategies, in order to find our own style of coping with uncertainty. Adaptation is important when under stress.

Here are some examples:

  • A young woman is struggling with the fear of job loss. She is concerned that she won’t be able to afford her apartment if she loses her job. In the past, whenever she was overwhelmed with something, exercising or relaxation always worked. This time, it’s not helping her deal with the stress. She feels the need to do something more pro-active, and decides to set some information meetings with folks in her industry outside her job. This activity eases her mind and helps her deal with the stress associated with the economy.
  • An elderly man has recently experienced the death of his wife of many years. He feels overwhelmed with the daily tasks of caring for the home without the support of his wife. And he’s uncertain how he will cope with the upcoming holidays. Although he has not been a very social person, he recognizes the need for support from others and reaches out to some old friends. Depending on the help of others is a way to assist with the daily tasks and the loneliness associated with the death of his wife.

A Message from The Jewish Board

If you live in the New York metropolitan area need help coping with stress and support in times of crisis, we can help. Call us at 1.844.ONE.CALL to speak with an intake specialist.