Have you ever had something unexpectedly happen that you didn’t foresee and this caused you to become stressed?
This is very common as unpredictability is a part of daily life given that our life doesn’t follow a script. In the game of life, we know the dice will give us a number, we’re just not certain what it will be.
Many aspects of our lives are unpredictable, when spontaneous and viewed as enjoyable, this is excellent, but often this unpredictable event is viewed as out of our control, which creates significant stress.
By definition, unpredictable events are difficult to foretell and foresee. Generally, we like to be in control and a lack of control creates a feeling of stress. When events are unpredictable, our minds, a wildly immaginative tool, is allowed to create potential outcomes that are often extreme worst-case scenarios. Unpredictability makes you stay in a constant ready state as you’re on guard to prevent this event from happening. Your body goes into the fight-flight response as tension takes over and you are on the lookout for any sign of danger and to survive. Your adrenaline levels are boosted to ready yourself, the downside is that remaining “on” for a prolonged period of time is not healthy or sustainable. Every machine must be turned off at times, we are no different.
There are many techniques to better address the unpredictability that is part of daily life.
3 Steps To Embrace Unpredictability
1. Challenge Your Worst-Case Scenario
By identifying your feared scenario, you empower yourself to see how unlikely your most feared belief is. This reduces a lot of the power it holds over you as you reveal that it’s not likely to occur. Write your worst-case scenario out an dask yourself how many times it has happened to you, chances are, it will be never.
2. Review Your Tools
By recognizing the tools you have to control stress, your stress levels will drop because you will know that even if an unpredictable event occurs, you will have tools to control it. The realistic thinking exercise above is an excellent tool, diaphragm breathing will also reduce stress levels, and adjusting body positioning, ensuring your shoulders are down and back will all help you remain in control.
3. Re-frame Your Statement
It’s common for an unpredictable scenario to come with a negative statement ex: “I can’t handle this.” These types of statements sap your strength and lead to feeling hopeless. When faced with an unpredictable situation, review past challenges you have faced and highlight the obstacles you have overcome. This is a critical step because it affirms how powerful you are, you have succeeded in the past and you will also overcome this challenge.
When you put these steps into practice you will experience a shift in how you view the unpredictable events faced in your everyday life. It is a process that I have experienced first-hand and the key is consistency and to embrace unpredictability.
Unpredictability is not your enemy. In fact is is the complete opposite. It is your friend, a great friend – if you allow it to be. Unpredictability is beautiful because it brings opportunity and freshness to our lives.
But this is the challenge, unpredictability can be scary. You must earn his friendship, his respect. He will continue to test you. The key is to be able to stare unpredictability in the face with a smile, for this is the moment move past it and he loses his grip of power and control over you.
With unpredictability comes new opportunity.
Today is a new day. Different than yesterday or future days to come. It represents your opportunity to reduce stress as you embrace the unpredictability of life.