Description: You do not need me to tell you that we are living in uncertain times with a (hopefully) waning pandemic and an invasion of a democratic country (Ukraine). Aside from the stresses associated with these events there are also boatloads of uncertainty about what it all means, about where it is all going, about what will happen along the way and about that the implications of all this will be for us … for our lives. There is a lot out there in the way of research-based suggestions for coping with stress but much less out there about how to cope with uncertainty. Uncertainty IS stressful but it is different that stressful events or circumstances given it indeterminate nature, as I have posted previously. Think about the differences between stress and uncertainty and about what sorts of things one might do to deal with uncertainty and then, with your certain or uncertain thoughts in mind have a read through the linked article that looks at issues in uncertainty and at what we might do about it.
Source What’s the Best Way to Cope in an Anxious World? Do Something. Tara Parker-Pope, The New York Times.
Date: March 10, 2022
What did you make of the suggestion that generalized anxiety is possibly associated with living in wealthy countries? It does not make it any less uncomfortable and telling people to stop worrying because they are better off that other propel does not help much either. It does help our understanding to see a link between uncertainty and generalized anxiety issues. And talking of the “luxury” of being generally anxious does not help much either. What does help? Realizing that uncertainty is not new and naming it when we see it is an initial BIG step toward dealing with it. In addition, help others helps us, there is good research on this. Take some control of what is happening in “your little corner of the world” and the noxious impacts of uncertainties will diminish.
Questions for Discussion:
- How are uncertainties different than specific stressful events?
- Many adaptive coping strategies involve taking aim at and working towards addressing stress producing situations or events. How does that relate to issues of uncertainty?
- What are some action steps one could take to address uncertainty and why might they help?
References (Read Further):
Ruscio, A. M., Hallion, L. S., Lim, C. C., Aguilar-Gaxiola, S., Al-Hamzawi, A., Alonso, J., … & Scott, K. M. (2017). Cross-sectional comparison of the epidemiology of DSM-5 generalized anxiety disorder across the globe. JAMA psychiatry, 74(5), 465-475. Link
Chochinov, H. M. (2005). Vicarious grief and response to global disasters. Lancet (London, England), 366(9487), 697-698. Link
Poulin, M. J., Brown, S. L., Dillard, A. J., & Smith, D. M. (2013). Giving to others and the association between stress and mortality. American journal of public health, 103(9), 1649-1655. Link
Isaacs, K., Mota, N. P., Tsai, J., Harpaz-Rotem, I., Cook, J. M., Kirwin, P. D., … & Pietrzak, R. H. (2017). Psychological resilience in US military veterans: A 2-year, nationally representative prospective cohort study. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 84, 301-309. Link
Rettie, H., & Daniels, J. (2021). Coping and tolerance of uncertainty: Predictors and mediators of mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. American Psychologist, 76(3), 427. Link
Li, J. Y., Sun, R., Tao, W., & Lee, Y. (2021). Employee coping with organizational change in the face of a pandemic: The role of transparent internal communication. Public Relations Review, 47(1), 101984. Link
Rankin, K., Walsh, L. C., & Sweeny, K. (2019). A better distraction: Exploring the benefits of flow during uncertain waiting periods. Emotion, 19(5), 818. Link