Learn to tolerate uncertainty

Learn to tolerate uncertainty

Human bliss resides in two things: being free from diseases of the body and free from worries of the spirit. Lin Yutang


  • 1 Life is uncertainty
  • 2 What can I do to not worry so much?
  • 3 Tips

Life is uncertainty

History is full of examples of good and bad things that we don't see coming. We believe many times that certain things will not happen to us, that we will not have a driving accident, that when we fall in love it is forever, that we will not get cancer ... Or on the contrary, that all the misfortunes will surely attack us for being us and we will succumb to them from one moment to another, or that our children will be in this or that way ... But at the moment of truth almost none of our expectations are met, either individually or socially, all this is false, uncertain . It's just that: expectations and beliefs. There are few things in this world that we can be sure of, one is that we will all end up dead someday, another is that the Sun will rise every morning, and little else.

It is precisely the difficulty in accepting the uncertainty that leads to using concern as a control strategy.

In a situation, we imagine all possible eventualities, in order to obtain an adequate response for each one. Somehow, keeping the mind occupied alleviates the restlessness of "not knowing."

Not knowing what will happen and the insecurity that this feeling creates us, drives us towards a desperate attempt to control the future and anticipate any way towards endless odds. It seems that we need to control everything, and more if possible, as for example, in the face of ignorance and waiting for some important news. Not knowing is synonymous with helplessness, and therefore, fear of the unknown. The lack of control caused by some uncertainty is as if they were trying to drive a car without their hands behind the wheel or like traveling without a map.

Many people to cope with uncertainty better use futurists and pythonesses of all kinds, with more or less reliability, since they offer them a way of mental escape, because it is better to think that something will happen (or will not happen) to be prevented, although then these auguries are not always fulfilled. So these "professionals" offer a great number of mortals, of all social classes, rich and poor, ready and not so much, a certain degree of peace of mind that they so long for.

The same goes for the theories that have lately appeared in which it is assured that if we want something with much fervor, it will come true. We want to have control of our lives at all costsAnd if someone tells us that we can have it, that it is also as easy as thinking about something and really wanting it to achieve it, why not try it? After all, we lose nothing in the attempt. But it works? I at least do not know. I could say yes and be wrong, or I could say no and also be wrong ... Luckily or unfortunately the results are subjective, not demonstrable and subject to countless random reasoning, as many as our imagination is able to offer (if you don't get the Success is that there is something in your subconscious that blocks it, if your dog is run over, it is because the other person thought that this would happen, if you are cured of a cancer, it is because you really wanted it and thought you were a super healthy person ...), so that we can justify ourselves at all times and think that we are always right. It’s that easy.

However, despite providing this illusion of control, suffering in advance does not change the real probability that something will happen.

Some of the most obvious behaviors of the lack of tolerance for uncertainty They are as follows:

  • Evade: There is much talk about evading responsibilities, but mainly it is about avoiding certain activities, such as driving, since it causes a lot of uncertainty and anxiety not knowing exactly a path or everything that can happen on the path itself, for example. Also included here is the avoidance of certain people, places and situations.
  • Check: It's about checking things over and over again to make sure everything is always perfect and has no mistakes. It also includes the constant need to inform yourself of everything looking for certainties.
  • Seek relief and security: There are people who spend the day asking relatives, friends or even strangers, the same thing over and over again, because it gives them a sense of security. It is also curious that they are people who, when they explain the situation on which they seek opinion, do so in a way that everyone offers them the same resolution that they would like to hear. They are not very objective in their explanations, because they seek to reaffirm their true desires, whether realistic or not.
  • Make lists: many make lists with the purpose of not forgetting anything, even about the most trivial things.
  • To worry: key symptom in people with intolerance to uncertainty and, therefore, with high levels of anxiety, because they spend the day circling things without reaching a reasonable end.
  • Refuse to delegate: These types of people feel that it is better if they take care of everything themselves, in order to have greater control over them.

Unfortunately, the comfort of certainty cannot be a necessity, because the world is full of awkward unforeseen events. Therefore, who tends to worry usually has a pending issue: learn to better tolerate uncertainty.

What can I do to not worry so much?

If you have difficulties to tolerate uncertainty towards the future and feel very anxious, try to reflect by answering the following question: “What do I think and what do I do when I need to be more certain about the future?”, Then describe these feelings, ideas or experiences the best you can, it will help you see them from the outside and distance yourself a little.

Remember that your worries are just thoughts, you can try to distract your mind to stop your rumination with alternative activities, such as reading a magazine, watching a movie, playing with one of the many applications that new technologies offer us today, in short, the list is very long. You have to wear, that's all.

Think about what you could say to feel calmer and stop anticipating the future, it sure is more reasonable than your previous self-dialogue. Ask yourself also what could you tell yourself to be more focused on the present, write it if necessary. Every time you notice progress in your inner well-being, reward yourself for the achievements in this topic.

Challenge your difficulties rationally with logic and common sense To tolerate uncertainty. Reflect and answer the following questions:

  • Can I be absolutely sure about something in my life?
  • What are the advantages I get by avoiding or denying uncertainty?
  • What are the disadvantages of needing control at all costs of what will happen?
  • How does this cause me emotional distress or anxiety?
  • Do I tend to think that bad things will happen because I feel uncertainty?
  • Is it reasonable or logical to think so?
  • What are the chances of something neutral or positive happening in my life?
  • What is the probability that the things I am anticipating will really happen?
  • If the odds are not very high, could I live with them?
  • Are there any issues in my life where I have a level of uncertainty with which I can live peacefully?
  • How do I deal with these issues?
  • Could I do the same in situations where I feel more difficult to tolerate uncertainty?

You can also talk with your friends and loved ones and ask them how they face the sense of unpredictability of their lives or the uncertainties they have to experience. Could you do what they do in situations that are most challenging for you?


  • Accept that uncertainty is part of life. Don't try to control or be sure of everything, all the time, you can't predict the future, so try to let it go.
  • If you feel anguish overwhelms you, try to do visualization exercises that help you accept the possibilities. Imagine what would happen if the outcome is one or the other, and then go further, if the worst case happens, what would you do? And then could you face that? How? And in the event (unlikely) that it was not so, could you implement a plan B, something totally different to get out of that that bothers you or makes it difficult to move forward? Surely if you try to visualize the possibilities, you will find more than you thought at first, although some now seem even crazy, it's a matter of turning the tortilla.
  • Try to change some of your behaviors that make you feel safe, just to vary, and relate to the sensations. For example, if to make a decision, you need to consult with many different people, ask only one. Or if you always order the same thing in a restaurant, try a new dish. Change, do something different and then evaluate the result, you may be surprised.
  • Control your negative thinking and try to develop a more realistic thought, more positive, without exaggeration in negativity, but not exclusively on one side of the scale.