Living with uncertainty

Submitted on Thursday June 4th, 2015
hospice winston-salem

If you are supporting a seriously ill family member, your relative's condition and needs could change at any time. Such uncertainty creates practical problems. (You may suddenly need to leave work to take him or her to the doctor.) It also comes with an emotional cost.

Doubts and the unpredictable can be hard to bear. You may put off decisions because you are not sure exactly how things will turn out. You may even find yourself wishing for something to happen right now, just to end the uncertainty.

Worrying about a problem may seem like it will eventually produce useful ideas and create certainty. But habitual worry itself causes stress. Check out our earlier newsletter article about how to keep worry in balance.

Another strategy is to learn to feel more comfortable with uncertainty. Use these questions to recognize and challenge your "need" for certainty:

  • Is it possible to be 100% certain about everything?
  • In what ways has your need for certainty been helpful to you? Are there ways it has been unhelpful?
  • Do your predictions focus mostly on bad things happening? Can you imagine other possible outcomes?
  • When you think about your life, are there uncertainties that you currently tolerate well? What helps make that possible?

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