Is Uncertainty Driving You Mad?
Woman sitting on a pier

A great tool to help you in this process is 1 Minute of Self-Reflection.

When we develop and cultivate the habit of self-knowledge or self-reflection, we gain valuable insights that allow us to self-regulate, be self-compassionate, be resilient, feel confident, act consciously, and make sound decisions.

Uncertainty is a powerful feeling that can be difficult to process, leading us to a spiral of reactivity. Over the past year and a half we have been experiencing disruptive changes that surged unexpectedly and suddenly, and our brain perceives change as a threat or danger. We are not prepared to handle uncertainty because, in most cases, we are not self-aware and our lack of connection with our emotions and thoughts creates a greater sense of loss causing anxiety, frustration, and fears and leaving us feeling lost and afraid.

According to research from University College London, even though it might sound illogical, human beings would rather know something terrible will happen than not know what is coming. Thus, we prefer to go with the worst-case scenario approach that creates more fear and anxiety. Another helpful fact to keep in mind is that our brains narrow focus on what they perceive as danger and exclude other information that might help us find alternate possibilities, leaving us confused and lost, in a state of scrambling for survival.

Not all of us are consciously aware of all the feelings, emotions, and thoughts we experience daily, much less when facing change and the unknown because most of us live on autopilot. According to many studies by Salovey and Mayer, our lack of self-awareness is the cause of our lack of self-regulation, self-motivation, and empathy, among other aspects that can help us re-center and gain clarity and perspective.

We have deeply ingrained beliefs that push us to resist, negate, and  numb ourselves so that we do not feel the pain strong emotions produce. We actively engage in activities to get distracted. The belief that we should be in control creates immense pressure and inner conflict because we intuitively know that we cannot control everything. We can only influence the way we respond to situations.

When we ignore our feelings and emotions, we do not solve our problems, and we create more drama because feelings and emotions affect our discernment and motivate action.

We do, however, possess the ability to recognize the workings of our minds and when we develop and cultivate the habit of self-knowledge or self-reflection, we gain valuable insights that allow us to self-regulate, be self-compassionate, be resilient, feel confident, act consciously, and make sound decisions. To be in control, we must be aware.

Is uncertainty driving you mad? You are not alone. Emotional intelligence can help us regain a sense of control because we can learn to use emotions, feelings, and thoughts to enhance our focus and attention on everything that is right in our lives and transcend the sense of helplessness that influences our decisions and our fear-driven behaviors.

A great tool to help you in this process is 1 Minute of Self-Reflection, designed to create the habit of self-awareness and self-talk with three simple steps:

  1. Set three daily alarms in your phone for at least 21 consecutive days and ideally for the rest of your life. If you miss one day during the first 21 days, you start over. The first alarm should be before you start your daily activities and chores, so that you can prepare your mind to be open, alert, and receptive. Plan your second alarm between noon and three in the afternoon to check in. The last one should be before bedtime in order to empty and let go of everything that might be causing you strong emotions. The goal is simply to reflect.
  2. Every time the alarm goes off, you should practice the sacred pause, a moment in your day when you give yourself permission to stop, breathe and recognize what is happening within. Then, you take two deep, conscious, slow breaths and close your eyes.
  3. Once in connection with your breathing, ask yourself: what emotions are present. Then, mentally scan your body. Why? Because emotions are electro-chemical signals that transmit emotional information and affect our physiology, chemistry, genetics, nervous system, immune system, hormones, glands, everything. We recognize emotions in our bodies. The goal is to recognize and identify our emotions, nothing else. Then, ask yourself, what feelings am I experiencing, and you acknowledge and name them. Dr. Dan Siegel coined the phrase, name it to tame it. For example: I see anger; I see frustration; I see sadness, etc. Finally, ask yourself, what thoughts or mental movies is my mind creating? Identify them and a few things can happen. You let thoughts go like clouds in the sky; you realize that the story in your mind is not what is happening in your life; you begin to recognize that you are not your thoughts, feelings, emotions. You are the observer.

As you practice 1 Minute of Self-Reflection, you gain clarity, perspective, and a sense of presence that allows you to regain self-confidence. If you are consistent in your practice, you will regain a sense of trust in yourself and life in general, and you will feel capable of handling the unknown.

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