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The mindful way through uncertainty

Updated: Sep 10, 2021

Do you have an intolerant to uncertainty?

Do you feel apprehensive with the unknown?

Are you experiencing stress or anxiety due to the present circumstances?

Here are 6 behavioural signs you may have intolerance to uncertainty

  1. Procrastination or avoidance. People often put off decisions, or avoid people, places or situations when feeling anxious.

  2. Overworking/keeping busy. Anxiety can hide itself in action, not stopping, needing to keep busy, or over-working.

  3. Seeking reassurance, feeling insecure. This can be seen in seeking close proximity to others, or needing a lot of reassurance.

  4. Self-doubt plays out in double checking, going over the same things again and again, or making excessive lists.

  5. What if…seeking answers to unanswerable questions often in an endless loop.

  6. Over indulging in negative behaviour or ‘bad habits’ and addictions. Over-eating, smoking, drinking too much, binge watching TV/movies, or shopping to excess are some of the comfort seeking negative behaviours and addictions that we are witnessing.

Mindfulness is a practice of present moment awareness that can help with anxiety and change your habitual response and experience of uncertainty. Therapists have used this ancient wisdom to teach people practical skills to cope with persistent worry, anxiety depression and more. Here’s a brief overview of the practice

Step 1. Observation

When there is awareness and you can observe your behaviour, there is a shift of perspective as you mentally step back and practice witnessing what is going on.

Acknowledge what is happening. Be aware that you’ve done this many times, and you know the outcome.

Decide to do something different and use the mindful witness approach.

Step 2. Mindfulness 

Mindfulness is paying attention on purpose in a particular way, or with certain attitudes. According to Shapiro et al. intention, attention, and attitude (IAA) are three fundamental components of mindfulness.

Intention sets the purpose and keeps you on track. Attention is the practice of selectively focusing the mind and attitude is how we do that and the qualities we adopt.

Step 3. The practice

This is the implementation of mindfulness in the moment. Once you are aware of a habitual reaction, pay attention to the feelings and sensations, be aware of thought processes, and responses.

Do this with curiosity, kindness and be open to discovering something new. Instead of pushing discomfort away try embracing it, allow it to be there. Explore beyond the surface layer, the initial defence, to what is underneath. Use inner resources of self regulation such as calming the nervous system and use self- management to make a change to your response.

What does that look like?

  1. Observing. “Ah there I go again asking what if…..I know where this leads; I get stuck in a loop, worry more and can’t sleep.”

  2. Mindfulness. “I’m aware my mind is going round and round worrying about the future, pondering endless questions what will happen, how will I cope, what will I do. I am aware of feeling anxious.”

  3. The practice. “I can feel my body is tense, I am continuously asking ‘what if ‘ questions, and there is a need to know in order to feel safe.” Continue practicing awareness with mindfulness attitudes of kindness and self-compassion, using self-regulation tools and positive self-talk. “Breathe in, out, I am OK, I am safe now, I am strong, I have survived before and I will survive this.” Gather information and remind yourself of the facts, focus on what you can do, what you can control and let go of everything else.

This practice can lead to a shift in perspective called reperceiving. Reperceiving assists you to step back, disengage from the emotional trigger and become an impartial witness. In this position of impartial witness with practice it’s possible to self-manage, self-regulate, and change habitual reactive patterns.

Heather is a mindfulness-based psychotherapist, and clinical hypnotherapist. Counselling, Mindfulness-based Psychotherapy & Hypnosis can help you manage stress, change habits, compulsions and addictions, build resilience, and coping strategies via phone or video or in person. Heather also offers mindfulness-based relationship therapy and tune -ups. Contact Heather 0405 821 880, or book online  BOOK HERE

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