Tips on how to live well in uncertain times
Do you sometimes feel as if the world is more uncertain than ever before? I know I do. It could be the news or social media or just the conversations you overhear on your commute. But it feels like people are unsure of where they’re heading next, and what they should do. It’s a part of the natural cycle of life, I believe – but it is no less stressful for that. So how do we live well in uncertain times? Here are few thoughts.
To live well in uncertain times, embrace the uncertainty
It is one of the biggest causes of stress in our lives: our craving for certainty. And it is, in many ways, a natural human instinct. We think that we will feel safer and more secure when we can control the world around us. It is something that we all do, to a greater or lesser degree, and I’ve spoken about it on my blog before.
But what if we didn’t do this? What if, sometimes, we just learned to let go a little? In my experience, some of the most memorable times of my life have come when I’ve not tried to control the world around me.
Of course, I’m not saying we should spend our lives diving headlong into everything without thinking. Rather, this is simply about seeing – and accepting – the world for what it is.
The world is chaotic, and unpredictable. And so, as human beings, are we. So why do we always try to impose order on everything?
Find your own safe place
It is important to accept that the world is uncertain, and to embrace that reality. But while we can learn ways to better engage with the chaotic world around us, sometimes we all still need a break from it too.
Finding what this means to you is a deeply personal journey, but it is so important to find it for yourself. This is all about discovering a space in your life where you can switch off, forget your worries and disengage from the world around you. The point here, however, is that this is all about you.
Try to find something – whether it is meditation, or going for a run, or painting – that absorbs you completely. Just like after a good night’s sleep, you should feel completely refreshed after you’ve spend time doing it.
Learn to be more compassionate
Whether it is a political stance we don’t support, or an opinion you don’t agree with on social media, it can be easy to react rashly, without thinking. We live in an age where people are quick to judge, and this fuels the atmosphere of uncertainty. And so it seems to me that one of the most important skills we can learn now is compassion.
The chances are that the feelings that are driving the decisions the other person is making are ones that you’ve felt too. It might be frustration, anger, fear or mistrust.
They’re all common human emotions – and yet it can be easy to forget that they are experiences we all share from time to time. It is how we deal with them that differs.
When we see someone acting in a particular way, or holding a view that we don’t like, it’s worth thinking about the emotions that are driving this behaviour. You’ve felt it too, I’m sure.
So, use this experience to help the other person. Never condone unacceptable behaviour: but use compassion to understand what it is that ultimately connects us, rather than drives us apart.
About Graham Tomlinson’s blog
Graham Tomlinson With this blog I aim to create an open website for sharing my mindfulness & self-improvement tips with as many people as possible.