WHY does your brain hate uncertainty and how to overcome it?

“Living with uncertainty is one of the few established facts in the modern world. “- Lawrence J Raphael

Will I come in contact with the virus? Will the MRI reveal cancer? Will I get the job? Should I approach my new coworker professionally or personally? Our mind is filled with uncertainty and how we manage them can be a key to our happiness and success.

Human mind processes millions bits of information per second in which it tries to update your world, making judgments of what’s safe and what’s not. Human mind does not like what it cannot decipher. When there is uncertainty our brain does not know what lies ahead. As a result, it always assumes the worst, over-personalizes threats and makes conclusions. We are also hard wired to overestimate threats and underestimate our ability- all in the name of survival. 

Our brain’s main responsibility is to keep us safe. It does not like life’s inevitable uncertainty. It is also the reason why so many of us meltdown right before a big trip or why instability at work can cause a bigger toll on our health than actually losing a job. It’s why even the most rational-minded adult might feel unsettled when they wonder who lurks underneath the clown makeup. 

However, safety doesn’t mean happiness or success.The cocoon that our primary brain makes up in the name of safety is a virtual prison. Assumptions that your brain creates for you to be safe in every sphere of life will also prevent you from unleashing your potential, leading you to wrong directions which can cause heartbreaks and wasting large amounts of time and energy. 

Here are a few tips to overcome uncertainty:

  1. Don’t resist
    Resisting our challenging reality won’t help us grow, learn, recover, or feel better. Infact resistance prolongs our pain and difficulty by amplifying the challenging emotions we are feeling. Instead of resisting, choose acceptance. Many studies suggest that practicing self acceptance is a key to happiness. It’s about meeting life where it is and moving forward from there. Acceptance is not resignation. Accepting a situation does not mean it’s never going to get better. 
  2. Find meaning in chaos
    Meaning and purpose are wellsprings of hope. When the world feels uncertain and scary, knowing what meaning we have for others and feeling a sense of purpose can ground us better than anything else. What have you always wanted to do? What outcome are you hoping for? How can you make a real life in this? Live that life. 
  3. Invest in yourself
    The best resource that you have right now for bringing a change in the world is YOU. When that resource is depleted, your most valuable asset is damaged. When it comes to self maintenance, we humans lack skills for doing so. It is important to maintain the relationships that provide us a connection and meaning. We must also proactively plan for including sufficient rest and recreational activities as our lifestyle habits. 

Certainty can be comfortable and demand little from us, but clinging onto it can limit our future, stifle potential, shrink opportunities and preclude us from ever realizing just how much we’re capable of doing. Uncertainty can ultimately enrich our life, or diminish it. It is our response to uncertainty that can determine our future securities and success. 

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