We live in very uncertain times, which can really take a toll on our mental health, productivity and general happiness – in the first year of COVID, depression and anxiety skyrocketed! But rest assured, there are ways to cultivate certitude, even in these most uncertain times.
1. Stay present
If uncertainty is taking hold of your life, and you’re unsure where your next meal is coming from, or who is and isn’t in your life to stay – just stay in the present. Don’t overthink too much about what is around the next corner, think instead about what you have in the here and now. The only things we can be truly certain about is what we have in one precise moment – so stay in the present and assess what you have in the now, not what might be coming.
2. Plan and look for opportunities and possibilities
If you must think away from the present and into the future, plan and search for opportunities and possibilities. Do not focus on the uncertainty that the future brings with it, instead fight against that uncertainty by creating plans and options for your future. This will help you to shape your life in the way that you want to, even when surrounded by uncertainty.
Think about the options you might have, and the destination you would like to eventually arrive at. Whether that’s a promotion at work, a marriage, or a weight loss goal – whatever it might be, determine your destination. Once you have, the path that you take to get there becomes much less important. So even if your future brings with it some unexpected surprises, you’ll still have a sense of certitude to help you navigate them.
3. Focus on the things you know
If you notice yourself beginning to focus on the unknown and uncertain aspects of your life, be it in the present or in the future, adjust your focus. Rather than focusing on what you do not know, focus on what you do. Don’t fill your mind with ‘what ifs’, instead fill it with certitude. You know that you’ve got X, Y and Z happening this year, so focus on those.
Failing that, try to focus on the positive ‘what ifs’; think about possibilities that would benefit you or improve your life. No more ‘what if I get fired?’. Instead, think ‘what if I get a promotion?’ or ‘what if I get the opportunity to find my dream job?’. Rewire your brain to think about anything uncertain in a ‘glass half full’ way and you will soon become a certain, hopeful person who is excited about the future and what it has to hold. Being an optimistic person can really help to improve your life.
4. Take action
Most people have aspects of their lives that, whilst currently uncertain, could be acted on in such a way to make them more definite. Perhaps you’re finding yourself uncertain about whether or not you’re doing well at work, or whether the friends in your circle truly enjoy your company… Either way, act on it. Arrange a meeting with your boss to find out what more you could do, or if there are any opportunities for progression within the workplace. Make more of an effort with your friends, and do what you can to make sure that you keep them feeling cared for.
Acting on any uncertainty in your life can help to improve your life whilst also reducing uncertainty, ultimately improving your mental state and general quality of life. Spending too long worrying about uncertainties can have a really detrimental effect on mental health!
5. Trust yourself
One of the biggest causes of uncertainty for many people is their lack of trust in themselves. Many of us have fallen out with ourselves, we no longer trust our own abilities! To cultivate a sense of certitude in your life, you must learn to trust yourself. Acknowledging your own skills and capabilities is the first step in reducing how much you worry about the future. Once you understand that actually, you can and should progress in your career, suddenly a surprise work meeting or a call from your boss is not as scary!
6. Celebrate any successes
To help you to trust yourself, you must celebrate any success or win that comes your way. Small or big, a win is a win! If you start celebrating and rewarding yourself for your successes, you will become more aware of your abilities. This is a great first step in understanding your own worth and trusting yourself, which will ultimately bring a sense of certitude and confidence to your life that you can carry with you.
7. Understand that everything happens for a reason
The reason that we as humans crave certitude is our innate need to be in control at all times. But, really, we are never in control. The world is a confusing and uncertain place, and even the smallest decision made by somebody else could influence how your day goes. Usually, however, this gets us to where we need to be. Think about your life, and how any minute change to it could have put you somewhere else right now… Everything happens for a reason in this world. Once you accept that, suddenly uncertainty isn’t scary, and you become much more certain that you’re going to succeed and that everything will be alright.
Cultivating a sense of certitude can really benefit your work and social life and is one of the easiest ways to improve your state of mind. Certitude brings with it a sense of confidence and calm that will allow you to focus on your goals and passions in such a way that an uncertain person might struggle with.