Our brains are not designed to handle too much uncertainty. Recognizable patterns and habits keep your brain calm, allowing you to feel safe, motivated and inspired.
But what happens when there is too much uncertainty? The response in your brain is a sense of being threatened or feeling unsafe, which turns on your ‘fight, flight or freeze’ response and creates anxiety.
And the more you focus on the uncertainty, without doing anything to alleviate it, the more anxious you become. So add in a pandemic with vast amounts of information that seem to focus on either worst-case-scenarios or scientific best guesses, and it makes sense that so many people are feeling anxious.
For some, their response is to obsess over their fears, or overdose on the very information that is creating the uncertainty, or attempt to manipulate or control those around them, all in an effort to feel some sense of power and certainty again. But that doesn’t work.
So what does?