Because we are unable to reliably see into the future, we do not know exactly what it will hold for us. Some people seem able to accept this reality and so take things in their stride, while others find it more difficult to deal with. For this reason, the way we respond to uncertainly has been likened to an allergy, with only a percentage of people having a strong negative reaction. Either way, uncertainty will remain an unavoidable part of our day-to-day life.
It is only natural that you may to wish to consider possible outcomes to whatever problematic or uncertain situations you face. However, should you persistently ask yourself “what-if-type” questions, you may inadvertently trigger an intolerance of uncertainty. Because the answers to such questions can involve negative predictions, you may then become absorbed in imagining possible nasty future scenarios, and so establish in you a prolonged pattern of worry.
This habitual response to uncertainty can serve to make the world feel a frightening place and can cause your situation to seem considerably more catastrophic than it perhaps is. Almost like a kind of negative self-hypnosis, worry can become linked in your mind with abstract verbal thoughts and vague feelings of foreboding, which will in turn serve to support anxiety. Indeed, anxious people tend to be particularly intolerant of uncertainty, as do many people who experience depression.
Chronic worry, in itself, can also become debilitating. So people who are intolerant of uncertainty not only pointlessly worry, but also often develop a strong need to overcome their tendency to worry. As this pattern of endlessly worrying makes them feel increasingly at sea, their intolerant of uncertainty becomes ever further entrenched, creating, in effect, something of a vicious cycle.
People caught up in this pattern often over plan their lives. They may feel a need to constantly check up on others, or even avoid delegating certain tasks. They will do this in an effort to be “certain” that these tasks are indeed both actually performed, and performed to their standard. So as to avoid having too much time to think about things, many develop a habit of keeping themselves busy. They may also be prone to excessively seek the reassurance and approval of others.
In an effort to avoid the anxiety associated for them with uncertainty, they may end up simply avoiding certain people, places or situations. They may also avoid attempting to solve problems, holding out instead for certainty, conclusive evidence and that illusive “perfect” solution. Naturally, they will be reluctant to adopt a more helpful experimental, trial-and-error approach. This makes them particularly prone to procrastination, and can result in them missing out on any valuable opportunities that may arise.
These behaviour patterns tend to be both stressful and time consuming. In that you cannot avoid experiencing uncertainty, all our efforts to do so become largely futile, and will only serve to remove the fun and enjoyment from life. There are some things that we simply cannot know and there will always be situations that are by their very nature uncertain. Refusing to accept this will cause pointless worry and fuel unnecessary anxiety. The best solution is to learn to become more tolerant of uncertainty.
Hypnotherapy, and its related disciplines, can be an effective treatment. The work we will do together will enable you to develop more appropriate ways of seeing the situations you face, as well as more appropriate ways of responding to them. Because an intolerance to uncertainty is largely created by your particular style of thinking, you will find that you really do have the ability to make the changes necessary to take back control of your life – and to do so safely and without the use of drugs.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have, or simply make an appointment to see me.
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HENDON - LONDON - NW4 - TEL: 020 7112 8272
Fear sometimes stops you from doing stupid things. But it can also stop you from doing creative or exciting or experimental things. It can cloud your judgment of others, and lead to all kinds of evil. The control and understanding of our personal fears is one of the most important undertakings in our life.