How to overcome the anxiety of the future

The future is unknown to anyone, and it’s normal to wonder what will become of a career or relationship. Or maybe you are more focused on less ordinary events, including natural disasters, the loss of a beloved one or a worldwide pandemic.

Anxiety describes the fear and worries about bad things that might happen. It can occur in many different contexts, but it usually focuses on things you can’t predict or control.

I, however, like most people, am not very good at predicting the future. Our forecasts for the future are usually imprecise – even when we use complex models and detailed studies. It reminds me that my brain’s worries about the future typically have little foundation in reality.

Here are what to do to overcome the anxiety of the future

Have confidence in your ability to adapt to whatever comes your way.

You will learn from the experience and become stronger, even if things don’t go perfectly planned. Besides, according to hedonic adaptation theory, our happiness levels tend to return to equilibrium after victories and defeats. A few weeks after a pay raise, we start to want more. After a few weeks of restricting our diet, we don’t hate vegetables. Knowing that you can fit in is a reason to stop worrying about the future and start focusing on improving the present.

Caring for physical needs

The body-mind connection is authentic, and your physical health may have an impact on your emotional health. Things like sleep, exercise and nutrition can play an essential role in managing anxiety.

Let yourself imagine the best

It may sound a bit “cheer up,” but visualizing the best-case scenario can help you feel good right now and enter the uncertainty with more confidence.

If you start floating into the worst case scenario-mode, allow yourself to visualize the best plan. It can help you create the positive emotions that will get you through anything moving forward, good or bad.

Examine your self-talk

It matters how you talk to yourself about your anxiety. It’s perfectly natural to worry about bad things happening. When those concerns begin to take over, remind yourself (with good intentions) that overthinking about negativity may prevent you from enjoying the good things in life.

Cultivate an openness to uncertainty

Instead of avoiding your fear of uncertainty, it can help to get it intentional. It doesn’t mean trying to eliminate it immediately, but rather creating more space to accept and allow for uncertainty here and there.

Discover your “I can’t control everything” mantra

Many of my uncertainty issues come from wanting to control – to control what happens next, how it happens, and how I will respond at the moment. But it’s just not always possible to know the future and control how it pans out.

It helps to accept and remind myself of – this truth, and it helps to have a mantra. The Peace Prayer is my go-to, and it goes something like this, “Give me peace, acceptance of the things I can’t do differently, boldness to change the things I can, and the intelligence to know the difference.”

Make the best of your actions

Accept life as it comes. Whatever happens in the future, endeavour to make the most of it. Take one step at a time. Take action now. Take action tomorrow. Make minor improvements every day.

Note* Always consult your doctor or other qualified health care professional for any questions you may have about your health or condition. Never disregard a health care professional’s advice or delay getting it because of what you read on this website.

Onyinye A.

Onyinye Abasim, from Nigeria. I'm a biochemist, content writer, and an entrepreneur. Email: Onyii@afrinik.com

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