Dealing with uncertainty has become an unavoidable part of daily life, particularly during lockdown. Because we can't see the future, we can never be certain about what exactly is going to happen next, and for some, this can cause major anxiety.
The human brain isn’t wired to tolerate uncertainty, but it is wired to be alert to any threat. Your brain is constantly updating your world, making judgments about what’s safe is or what isn’t. If your brain cannot see what’s around the corner, it cannot keep you out of harm’s way and therefore, assumes the worst.
‘Fear of the unknown’ is a fundamental reaction, hard-wired into our biology to help keep us safe. When certainty is questioned, our body releases stress hormones such as adrenaline, and ignites our ‘fight or flight’ response.
Anxiety occurs when your body’s ‘fight or flight’ defence works continuously. An ‘imbalance’ in the way the body processes environmental and sensory stimuli leads to a disproportionate ‘excitatory’ response, and excessive release of neurotransmitters between nerve cells in the brain, leading to overstimulation of the nervous system and feelings of anxiety.
While you cannot make your fears and anxieties just ‘go away,’ there are simple and effective ways to manage them. Many are essential ingredients for a healthy lifestyle, and adopting them can improve your overall emotional and physical wellbeing:
Acknowledge your feelings
Face your feelings about fear and the transition you are going through, especially when the change is imposed and beyond your control.
Simply writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you understand them more clearly. Keeping a journal can also help you gain control of your anxiety and improve your mental health.
Focus on what you can control (not what you can't)
When uncertainty strikes, many people immediately imagine the worst-case scenario. Get out of the habit of ruminating on negative thoughts. Instead, focus on the things that are within your control, even if it’s as simple as weekly meal planning. Establish routines to give your days and weeks some comforting structure.
Be kind to yourself
Don’t let uncertainty or anxiety derail your healthy routines. Make efforts to eat well, exercise and get enough sleep. Remind yourself that it might take time for the stressful situation to resolve and be patient with yourself in the meantime.
It's normal to feel a bit worried, scared or helpless during uncertain times. Remember: it is OK to share your concerns with others you trust – and doing so may help them, too. If you cannot speak to someone you know or if doing so has not helped, there are plenty of helplines you can try instead.
Anxiety UK have a range of information, resources and support to help you understand and handle your anxiety during times of uncertainty.
Try a calming herbal remedy
Lavender oil has a long-standing association with relieving symptoms of mild anxiety, such as stress and nervousness. Over 15 clinical trials have shown that a daily capsule of uniquely prepared lavender oil can relieve the symptoms of anxiety in just 1-2 weeks (benefits are comparable to commonly used anti-anxiety medications without side effects like sedation, addiction or interaction with other medications). We like Kalms Lavender One-A-Day Capsules.
Five vegan sources of omega-3: Improve your health, boost your mood and more
Nutrition These vegan sources of omega-3 fatty acids will keep you on top form, while staying true to your plant-based diet.
By Maddy Biddulph •
Two ways for older adults to feel younger and less stressed than ever
Wellness Bad health makes older adults feel more stressed than ever. Roll back the clock with our tips
By Matt Evans •
Revealed: How Covid-19 has accelerated hearing loss issues
Health For many, the coronavirus pandemic has exasperated hearing problems - or else highlighted there's an issue at all
By Sarah Finley •
How to help a loved one you suspect is suffering from hearing loss
Health From communicating clearly to seeking external support, understanding how you can support a loved one with hearing loss just got easier thanks to these expert tips
By Kathryn Rosenberg •
9 steps to take now to help protect your hearing
Health Simple steps can help protect your hearing, from kicking the cotton swab habit to managing your stress levels
By Kathryn Rosenberg •
How Olive Union is disrupting the hearing aid industry
Sponsored Hearing loss is a condition that’s far too easily ignored and often left untreated by many, but a venture-backed startup is aiming to end the stigma surrounding the issue with its revolutionary new true wireless earbud-like solution and digital hearing therapeutics
By Fit&Well •
How to stay fit over 40: advice for exercise, diet and more
Fitness Getting - and staying - fit over 40 requires the right mix of exercise, healthy eating and wellbeing, according to our experts
By Lucy Gornall •
Menopause symptoms: What to look for and how to treat them
Menopause We look at some of the best ways to tackle common menopause symptoms
By Claire Fox •
This new study shows menopause symptoms could be affecting you at work
Menopause Don't suffer in silence – your menopause symptoms could be impacting more than you realise
By Matt Evans •
How to lower resting heart rate: 5 practical steps to take today
Fitness Take steps to lower your resting heart rate - a key measure of general health and fitness - with these expert recommendations
By Sarah Finley •