The Future Is Uncertain, But You Can Be Sure These 7 Things Will Help You Cope

You can look after your wellbeing and make sure you thrive, no matter what changes you face

Bridget Webber
Mar 30 · 7 min read

We never know the future. Events even take fortunetellers by surprise, and right now, we’re experiencing a shared uncertainty about what’s coming. As the post-pandemic world emerges, inch by inch, we’re left to ponder various questions. Many of which evoke fear.

When can we get back to normal?

Does normal even exist anymore?

What will the new world be like?

Will we ever enjoy the intimacy and spontaneity we had before COVID-19 took over?

And there are plenty of other uncertainties, too. It’s no wonder the majority of people are shaky about the next steps they will take. They don’t know where they are going. The map out of the pandemic is unclear. But you still have control over what goes on inside you.

You might not be able to second-guess how concerns about travel, your career, finances, and other issues are headed. Nonetheless, you can be sure to develop greater resilience and coping power if you do things to help yourself now.

These seven practices will give you inner strength and a sense of calm. They’ll help you navigate an uncertain future with equilibrium, confidence, and the knowledge you can handle whatever happens.

These 7 things will help you cope

1. Learn from experiences

My experiences as a mental health professional taught me, time and time again, extracting positive meaning from events powers people through difficulties.

There’s always a natural grieving process after any kind of loss — relationship breakdown, financial upheaval, lifestyle change — but if you can take away something valuable, you’ll gain flexibility and understanding.

It will be easier to move forward because you won’t believe the problems you faced were meaningless. The idea they only caused damage is traumatic. The recognition, though, they provide wisdom and growth empowers you.

Ask yourself what you’ve learned over the past year. Think of things that improved life.

Did you become more self-reliant, for instance, and grow your own crop of vegetables?

Have you learned to slow down and relax?

Have you given your home or garden a makeover?

Did you learn DIY tricks?

Are you better at communicating with family and friends now?

You might recognize you manage better without alcohol, late nights, and other habits that didn’t serve you. Maybe you cut down on excess and found freedom in lifestyle balance.

We grow fastest during difficult times. They may be uncomfortable, or painful, but they are our greatest teachers. Like difficult people, they highlight our weaknesses and magnify our strengths.

Extract recent life lessons and burn them into your psyche so you remember them. If you’re in victim mode, feel resentful, or fear the future, acknowledging what you’ve learned will shift your perspective.

2. Develop a mindful practice to boost wellbeing

Some people stock their minds with worries. It’s better, by far, though, to fill your mind with something that makes you feel good. Mindful brain-fodder need not be positivity itself if you’re not inclined to stimulate fake joviality. But there are mindful practices that provoke wellness and a healthy outlook.

Tai chi, meditation, qigong: These well-known exercises boost connection with the higher self. Other practices include things you might already do, yet haven’t considered mindful. Gardening, for instance, helps generate a flow state (as long as you actually like gardening). Or another hobby, like painting, walking, or photography can be practiced mindfully.

When you’re mindful, you focus on the particular action carried out in the moment. Whether you pull weeds, chop wood, or assume a yoga position, you do so with intent and full concentration.

Wellbeing increases because mindfulness stops worries in their tracks. You don’t try to get rid of them, you just replace them with what’s happening right here and now.

The more you practice, the easier it gets to relax, and you take a break from stress. Your new sense of calm continues into everyday life and helps you manage strain.

3. Get grateful

There’s a lot of talk about gratitude. So much, in fact, you might overlook its power to charge you with positivity and ignite feel-good hormones. Happy chemicals stream when you amp up appreciation for life’s wonders and things you are thankful to have in your life.

I’ve heard people say they’ve nothing to be grateful for, but I know they haven’t looked closely enough. We all have reasons to be thankful. Life itself is a gift, and if you’re reading this, you are alive!

Make gratitude a once-a-day practice. Or run through your blessings first thing in the morning and last thing at night. This way, you promote a mindset that supports wellness.

I remind myself how grateful I am to have a comfy bed as soon as I turn out the light before sleeping. I’m thankful for my cozy nightclothes, my canine companion, who nestles underneath the bed, and my husband.

I continue to add reasons to be grateful. My family, friends, good neighbors, my neighborhood, and the surrounding meadows make it onto the list.

Sometimes, I make a mental gratitude list on and off throughout the day. I am thankful for the sweet birdsong outside my window, the sunshine, and resources at my fingertips that make life easier or more wonderful. The more grateful I am, the luckier I feel.

Once you set your mind to seek blessings, you’ll find them everywhere. They’ll appear on your doorstep and around the corner, and line every path.

4. Aim for mental balance

I find, if I’m blue and aim for absolute positivity in my day, my good intentions crash around me. It’s terrific to be positive. But there are times when a low mood strikes. These occasions diminish if you aim for mental balance rather than complete joy.

You think with clarity when you’re balanced. Nothing makes you fret or rush, and you are drawn to healthy behaviors. When you remain despondent, on the other hand, because positivity is too far away, the opposite is true.

You reach for instant fixes. They don’t last long and often cause harm. Comfort feeding frenzies, alcohol, and stagnation in front of mindless TV shows drag you deeper into the mire. A balanced approach pulls you out.

Mental balance comes from several behaviors. A healthy lifestyle, eating nourishing foods and exercising helps. As does checking how activities make you feel. Do they add to anxiety? Or shift you closer to contentment? Does the movie you watch inspire you? Or increase negativity? Do critical thoughts empower you? Probably not. They decrease your wellness.

Check in with yourself now and then. Find out what improves your wellbeing or decreases it and amplify the former.

5. Get close to nature

If you usually find nature a comfort, you’ll already be drawn to it. If not, you’re missing out. The natural world has healing qualities. Forest bathing, for instance, reduces stress and increases calm. Go for a stroll in the woods or relax by the ocean. Sit in your garden and listen to birds sing. Watch the sun rise in the morning or go down at night.

When it’s dark outside, but I need a nature boost, I take my dog for a stroll and watch the moon and stars. Or I find a nature video on YouTube to watch, and it does the trick.

Tap into nature’s ability to engender peace and a tranquil mindset. It will help you cope with whatever life brings. You’ll manage ups and downs with poise and optimism.

6. Kick-start self-development

Self-mastery is a never-ending journey of discovery. The more you embark on it, it seems your destination stretches. That’s because you come to understand it’s impossible to know everything, and as your perspective widens, you recognize how far there is to travel.

But mastering your mind, gaining understanding about how you tick, means you are well on your way to contentment. Strengthen your ability to manage future uncertainty with continual development.

Take classes in subjects that interest you. Expand your wisdom about topics you already understand a little, and reach for a better you. As you do, your confidence will rise. The more confident you are, the better you’ll cope when action, or inaction’s necessary.

7. Be curious about uncertainty

It’s easier to approach uncertainty with curiosity than fear. So, you don’t know what the future holds, but that doesn’t mean it will be negative. If we all learn from recent events and work to improve our lives and the wellbeing of others, the future can be bright.

Consider the coming weeks with a sense of fascination and wonder. Ask what you can do to improve the world, even if it’s only a tiny corner of it, and you’ll land on the side of positivity.

Life is an adventure, and you never know the events you’ll meet until they take place. You can look after your wellbeing, though, and make sure you thrive, no matter what changes you face.

© Bridget Webber 2021

The Bolt-Hole

Self-improvement, stories, and poems

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