Uncertainty is something that we humans dislike. We always want to be in a position where we are certain about most of the things. This fear of uncertainty comes from our need to have a structured life, our need to be in a comfort zone where we have control over things.
Uncertainty gives us a feeling that something is slipping away from our hands. We just don’t know what! The obvious emotions we feel are anxiety and worry. We feel anxious about the consequences of the action we do or others do, we worry about how will that affect us. While we crave for there to be certainty in our lives, we do not realize that in fact that majority of our life in filled by uncertainty. Why go far, lets take the very chaos that’s in front of us. Uncertainty about job, physical and mental health, livelihood, well-being of dear and near ones. We are dealing with all the ‘WHAT IF’S’ for past six months which is emotionally draining and physically stressing us.
One defining factor in all of this is the action of worrying. To worry is an endless loop, it’s never ending and there seems to be no exit point. We spend large part of our lives worrying because we feel by worrying and thinking about possible consequences, we can have some control over the future. However, we also know this can never be the case. Worrying becomes a compulsive thinking activity that exploits our emotional energy and mental health. However, the fact remains that no individual is devoid from this act of worrying. What is the difference then between individuals who seem to be managing to float on the turbulent water and those who are drowning in it?
What if I tell you worrying can actually work for you? Yes. Worrying can be beneficial when done right.
WORRYING ABOUT THINGS UNDER CONTROL
The biggest mistake we do is we worry about things beyond our control. When will this situation change? When will I find a job? When can I meet my loved ones? These are the issues we have zero control over. So instead what if we worry about doing things in our control? Worrying about preparing for interviews and giving our best shot at each one of it, or worrying about the precautions that we can take to help curb the spread of disease? The point is when we worry about things within our control, we are in a position to act on them and make a difference through our actions. Worrying instills in us moderate anxiety, which is necessary for good performance. This worry factor therefore serves as a catalyst towards a positive change. A positive change here is not about success only, it is also about learning from every setback and working on ourselves for bettering our skills.
Therefore to discriminate among the factors under our control and beyond our control and focus more on the prior ones is the key to healthily coping with uncertainties.
WHERE TO STOP?
Worrying can help a person work towards positive changes, however it is important to know when and where to stop worrying.
The 47th verse in second chapter of Bhagwat Geeta says-
कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन | मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि ||47||
This verse tells us to do our jobs without actually having any expectations from it. Now this we all would say is easily said than done. Well, that’s actually not the case. Looking at this verse a little deeply, we can see that the verse talks about the present and the future. It says focus in the present, worry about what can be done in the here and now, how well can you do it and how much efforts can you put into it. Worrying about whether your efforts will borne fruits is impractical because that is something beyond your control.
So dear fellow humans, there are things so fully ingrained into our systems that it seems very difficult to change or alter them and worrying is just one of them. However even though difficult it may seem it is possible!
By Ms. Janhavi Datar
Ms. Janhavi Datar is a Psychologist, REBT certified therapist and Yoga instructor. She has an experience of working as an assistant professor in a Junior College as well as volunteering with Volunteer For India. She has recently started her private practice in the field of mental health. She believes in mental well - being as an integral part of a sound holistic health.