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Building tolerance to uncertainty

Building tolerance to uncertainty

Big changes come into all our lives

In a world that is undergoing constant and fast transformation, it is very normal that big changes to come to our lives. The year 2020 demonstrated this. We suffered a global pandemic that changed our perceptions and the daily habits of people all around the world. You have most likely met different types of people during the pandemic: those who easily adapted to the new situation, those who are more resistant to change, and those who are more likely to suffer and complain during the process of adaptation.

These people suffer from what is called a low tolerance for uncertainty. We define this as the difficulty for someone to smoothly navigate through situations where we do not have control of all the factors. Actually, everybody has a different level of tolerance for uncertainty. This level can be lower or higher depending on different factors, such as events that we have lived through in the past, our personality, and the magnitude of the situation we are trying to adapt to. Taking this into account, we want to give you some tips on how to improve your tolerance to uncertainty, so that whenever a big change comes to your life, you can easily navigate through the process of adaptation.

How to be more tolerant to uncertainty?

1. Understand and accept that there are some things in life that we cannot control. Accepting that there are some things in life that are not under our control is going to help us to reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety that very uncertain situations subject us to. This will require a certain work of reflection about those things that are actually under our control, that we have a certain level of power or decision over, and those ones that will happen no matter what we do. 2. Try to spot when you are anticipating that negative things are going to happen. Very often, we catch ourselves in a spiral of negative thoughts about all the things that can go wrong in a certain situation. This typical ‘what if…?’. It is very important that we are conscious of this behavior and that we try to stop it or re-conduct these negative thoughts for other kinds of affirmations. For example, instead of saying to ourselves ‘the rain will ruin my birthday party’ a more adaptable affirmation would be ‘if it rains on my birthday, we will look for options to have fun indoors’. 3. Be open to exploring, and start thinking about the new opportunities and the positive things that these big changes can bring to your life. It is normal to feel a certain level of fear when a very big change is coming into our lives. However, this feeling of fear can paralyse us and prevent us from enjoying the present and learning from new experiences. That’s why having an open mind and being receptive is very important to not miss good opportunities that arise.

We hope these tips or advice can help you to have a better tolerance to uncertainty but, as always, remember that if you feel this is becoming a serious problem in your life, you might need to seek professional support.

22 December 2022