• Anthony Ryb

Befriending uncertainty

One of the biggest causes of distress / anxiety is uncertainty and this is often brought on by the fear of change. For those who often find themselves worrying, panicking and fearful, you will I hope have many positive coping strategies to hand that you can put in place at this time. They will be severely tested because of course, if for example one of your strategies was to go the Gym every day, this is no longer possible so it’s about adapting the strategy and also implementing others/new ones. You are now in a remarkable and powerful position to help support others around you and share your secrets, which is empowering.

As with all change, it’s often the ‘not knowing’ that causes the distress. How many times in life have you breathed a sigh of relief when an event you were so worried about completed and felt it wasn’t as bad as you’d imagined. Clearly, that is the issue here….we simply do not know when the end will be. That’s not to say we need to spend the entire period worrying as this doesn’t serve much purpose. In fact it’s the opposite. Paradoxically, this is where the certainty lies, in that we can be certain right now that we do not know when it will end and therefore how do we make the best use of this time and space and find some level of comfort within ourselves to wait it out.

As a visual, I’m reminded of a number of images. Imagine being in a river or the sea and looking underwater as you walk, the silt, sediment or sand will shift as you disturb it and when you stop it will gradually begin to settle, the same with the Guinness adverts we watch on TV when watching the liquid poured into the glass and waiting for the drink to ‘settle’ – this takes patience but can be relaxing, rewarding and also to some degree fascinating. I appreciate others may find it incredibly boring.

Imagine this current situation in the same way, during this period of self isolation it will simply take time to settle into this change. Each of us is different and therefore will react differently. Those who are more introverted may adapt quicker than those who crave more constant social contact. Importantly, try not to measure yourself against others and whilst social media can be helpful for remaining in touch, it can also as always, bring up negative comparisons and make you feel awful about yourself. Like everything in life seek out balance and look inside, believe in yourself, understand yourself and have faith in yourself, rather than comparing yourself to anyone else.