This is a great question. Ambiguity and uncertainty causes worry and anxiety because we have an inherent need to have control over our lives. When we don’t know what the outcome will be, or when we think we have no choices, then we worry.
Only when we are certain, and know that we can do something, are we content. Being certain and content is being in the know, and being able to act (or knowing you are not able to act).
If you suffer from worry and anxiety from uncertainty, then the following flowchart can help you:
Following this flowchart helps you to decrease your worry by knowing if you can do something about it (or not)- and if you can do something about it, then if you can take action now or schedule it for the future. Being able to do something and take action about the uncertainty is obviously a relief. But knowing that you can’t do something or take action right now allows you to let the worry go and change your focus of attention.
Many people find the Serenity Prayer helpful to address the anxiety of uncertainty and not being able to do anything about a problem:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
photo credit: Uncertainty – more work to do via photopin (license)
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