Life Intelligence: Living with Uncertainty

Humans like uncertainty the way they enjoy rollercoaster rides – short, exciting, and with a predictable outcome. We watch mayhem and destruction during an action-packed movie because we know the good guy wins at the end. But four months into a worsening pandemic without an end in sight, compounded by disorganization, conflicting information, conspiracy theories, protests, and economic devastation, strains even the most grounded, level-headed, self-controlled, and optimistic of us.

Too much uncertainty triggers anxiety and depression. With patience in short supply and money running out, many have become the worst version of themselves, drinking, fighting, struggling, easily triggered, lashing out. Feeling useless and irrelevant, helpless, and stung out, people grasp for straws and throw angry tantrums.

But tomorrow will come. Someday we will have to look our neighbors in the eyes again. We will return to work. We will have to explain our actions and choices to our children. It is always darkest before the dawn, they say. But how to navigate the darkness now?

If you feel exhausted, you are not alone. If you feel frustrated, so are others. If you feel confused, it is because life is confusing right now. There are things you can do to survive this with dignity and decency.

Start by taking care of your physical and mental well-being. Eat well, exercise. Educate yourself about all the things you can do to keep your immune system up and your unhealthy habits down. Meditate. Do yoga. Run. Bike. Surf. Take your vitamins. Go out and enjoy the gifts of nature. Turn off the TV. Close your laptop. Go walk your dog. As you shift your focus away from bad news, you will feel better. As you feel better in your body, you will sleep better. Doing something healthy and proactive for your own wellness gives you a sense of control and puts you in a resourceful frame of mind. As you watch yourself do better, your sense of self-efficacy and self-esteem increase.

You don’t have to be a victim of the circumstances. You can be the manager of your personal situation. What do you need to survive? What resources do you have? Who do you know? What can you do? Examine your finances, living and work situation. Set priorities. Stay connected with people who could help you and people who you could help. Ideas and opportunities appear from unexpected places. Isolation makes everything worse, especially depression. Hiding makes the problems appear bigger. The cure for anxiety is handling your challenges and focusing on what you CAN do. Usually people can do a lot more than they think they can.

Make time to dream. What do you want to do once this nightmare is over? Where would you like to go? Dreams feed your soul and motivate your very existence. While most people despair, creative individuals have found the silver lining of this cloud, turning adversity into opportunity, and cashing out some serious checks.

Now more than ever, your community needs you to stand up, show up, and be your best self. David Deida said “Everything you do right now ripples outward and affects everyone. Your posture can shine your heart or transmit anxiety. Your breath can radiate love or muddy the room in depression. Your glance can awaken joy. Your words can inspire freedom. Your every act can open hearts and minds.”

Valentina Petrova has been helping people with life, health, relationships, financial, career, professional, and business challenges since 2015. She has a Master’s in Psychology and is a certified Life Coach. You can reach her at val@valentinapetrovaconsulting.com (805)909-1401, and watch her at http://www.youtube.com/c/ValentinaPetrova

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