6 Support Strategies to Address Uncertainty and Anxiety

Dr. Scott Lyons reflecting on the beach

One of my favourite definitions of anxiety is that it is the intolerance for the unknown.

This intolerance builds up as energy that is ready to action, but has nowhere to go.

While uncertainty is the nature of being alive as the world unfolds around us, there are points in our life when events, changes, and relationships throw us so far from the familiar and we lose the ability to resource ourselves, other people and our past to help guide us into the unknown.

The last few years have pushed many of us past that balancing point.

Here are 6 simple strategies of support to reclaim that balance that allows us to thrive in uncertainty:

1. Make a list of what brings you ease.

When we're feeling anxious, it's easy to forget where there is also ease. Ask yourself, "Where is there ease in my body?" - even if it's just one small area. "Where is there ease in my life?" - even if it's one small thing. "What are the things that bring me ease?" - write them down, try them out, and remind yourself of your capacity for expiring ease.

2. Redirect your focus and make plans.

Redirect your focus and energy to doing other things; hang out with friends, bake a cake, sell a cake, whatever redirects your focus.

3. Identify and utilize your support systems that allow you to be in contact and validate how you’re feeling.

Sometimes we need to feel all the feels, to help decrease the anxiety. So what helps you contact your emotions? Music, talking to a friend, a long shower? Once you have the support lined up, imagine sitting next to the feeling and letting it do whatever is needed to move through.

4. Make a list of where you still feel in control.

This is one of my favourite practices when feeling anxious and uncertain... Redirect your focus to where you still have control; i.e how long you shower, what outfit you wear, what you eat, etc.

5. To reduce anxiety, move excess energy in your body.

Part of the biology of anxiety is a ton of extra energy that's stuck in the body, and never got to be actioned. Identify where that energy is stored in your body, tapping on it, allowing it to spread, and release it through shaking, movement, etc.

6. Consider, what is the bare minimum of information you need from the news to feel safe and informed?

Honestly, the last thing we need when we are feeling anxious and uncertain is more sensational stimulation. Having a media or news diet can help trim the intake of information that is contributing to the anxiety. So identify what information is helpful for uncertainty, and what is contributing to the anxiety.

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