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Description: You have heard the Roosevelt quote from a speech celebrating Human Rights Day in 1948; “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Now, without diving too deeply into what that might mean, but taking it as a metaphorical lead, think about this. Uncertainty (of outcomes, processes, and next steps) is a huge part of what drives our stress and anxiety reactions. In addition, much of what we have had to worry and be anxious about lately has been very long on uncertainty and very lean on clarity and definability. Not knowing what our options involve in the near to mid future means all we have is uncertainty. Even if we are inclined to find and use problem-focused coping strategies, such things are hard or impossible to find and to implement in the face of our current stresses and anxiety generating situations. What to do? What to do? (more uncertainty, right?). Read the article inked below for some suggestions about how to break things down and how to deal up front with uncertainty in order to make your routes forward easier.

Source: How to Deal with the Anxiety of Uncertainty, Stephanie Thomson, Wired.

Date: September 2, 2020

Photo Credit:  Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Article Link:

I have posted previously on the role that uncertainty plays in our experiences of stressful and anxiety provoking situations. It is worth noting that the suggested jump in uncertainty associated with our current stresses and the anxiety driving they ignite is not unique to the Coronavirus pandemic. Considering the future from the perspective of emerging adults trying to see their ways forward into their futures shows a denser smoke of uncertainty and tracklessness than that faced by many previous historical cohorts. So, it seems as though having some ready strategies for dealing with uncertainty directly are not going to just be a pandemic related an thus, hopefully, passing necessity but an emerging developmental requirement for adaptation to the world we find ourselves in these days.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How does uncertainty figure into our “standard” stress response?
  2. How are anxiety and uncertainty related?
  3. What are some things that can be taken away from the advice for everyone in dealing with uncertainty offered in the linked article that could be of particular use to emerging adults trying to sort out and plan their short, medium and linger term futures?

References (Read Further):

Story, G. W., Vlaev, I., Seymour, B., Winston, J. S., Darzi, A., & Dolan, R. J. (2013). Dread and the disvalue of future pain. PLoS computational biology, 9(11), e1003335. Link

Bolvin, J., & Lancastle, D. (2010). Medical waiting periods: imminence, emotions and coping. Women’s Health, 6(1), 59-69. Link

Michl, L. C., McLaughlin, K. A., Shepherd, K., & Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2013). Rumination as a mechanism linking stressful life events to symptoms of depression and anxiety: Longitudinal evidence in early adolescents and adults. Journal of abnormal psychology, 122(2), 339. Link

Carleton, R. N., Mulvogue, M. K., Thibodeau, M. A., McCabe, R. E., Antony, M. M., & Asmundson, G. J. (2012). Increasingly certain about uncertainty: Intolerance of uncertainty across anxiety and depression. Journal of anxiety disorders, 26(3), 468-479. Link

Osmanağaoğlu, N., Creswell, C., & Dodd, H. F. (2018). Intolerance of Uncertainty, anxiety, and worry in children and adolescents: A meta-analysis. Journal of affective disorders, 225, 80-90. Link

Arnett, J. J. (2007). Suffering, selfish, slackers? Myths and reality about emerging adults. Journal of youth and adolescence, 36(1), 23-29. Link