Creating Certainty in Uncertain Times

Coral Gables Counseling Center - Wednesday, June 17, 2020
By Mirta Pont, LCSW,

The world is a very uncertain place right now. There is less predictability about basic life issues such as employment, education, food, and shelter. It is a given that people are more anxious than usual. As a mental health provider, I have dealt with many clients asking me what should they do? The reality is that all of us are at a standstill, sort of speak. Given the fact that the world is experiencing a global pandemic and social/civil unrest, none of us can really predict what’s going to happen next. It feels that change is happening too fast that making a solid decision feels scary.

First, I’d like to say that given the state of affairs, feeling uncertain about one’s decisions does increase anxiety and sometimes can even lead to “freeze mode”. Knowing that your feelings are not only normal but that others share those emotions can be reassuring. I think the key is to be flexible about any kind of plan you make and have a plan B.

Man alone on the beach

Secondly, if you can’t make a decision today leave it for tomorrow or at least delay it as long as you can until you feel more confident about making a decision. Also, accepting the present for what it is, narrows the focus of what can be done.  Writing on a piece of paper some of your available choices or options can concretely show you what you do have control over.

Thirdly, it’s good to have a routine. If you had a routine before the life-changing events and can continue the same routine, awesome.  If you had a routine and can’t do it in the same way as before, modify.  If you had no routine – create one. Here are a few suggestions:  Upon waking up and after coffee and shower, find a place where you can start your day quietly. Prayer and/or meditation is very helpful. It sets the tone for the rest of your day. Some people find that writing down the top three things they need to get done is very helpful.  This helps with focus.

Finally, acceptance of what is – instead of what you wish it were – is key. You will find that accepting what’s happening, limiting the amount of negative input by the media and/or others, and committing to positive and healthy behaviors in your life will ease anxiety and increase the sense of control over some aspects of your life.

Man and boy on beach