How to Cope with the Unknown

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In my last post, I wrote about the anxiety I felt post-graduation.  It has been over two years since I have graduated and after spending the past week catching up with several friends, I noticed a pattern: We are all still so afraid of the unknown.

Navigating the uncertainties of life is challenging to say the least.  I’m certainly not an expert, but here are a few ways that I cope with the unknown:

  1. View the future as a world of opportunities.  It’s as simple and difficult as changing your mindset.  Instead of thinking about all the hardships I might face, I focus on all the wonderful things that could happen.  Maybe I’ll have a chance to travel somewhere unexpectedly.  Maybe I’ll learn something new that changes my life.  Maybe I’ll have the best year of teaching yet.  Maybe I’ll win the lottery (haha just kidding, I don’t waste my money gambling).
  2. When you feel anxious or worried about the future, work through these emotions.  Identify what you’re feeling and why you’re feeling it.  Allow yourself to feel this way, but don’t let yourself get carried away in these emotions.  My method for dealing with anxiety is to talk to someone who will help me see things in a new way/cheer me up and/or exercise!  I swear you cannot leave a workout feeling bad.  For me, running is especially helpful when I’m anxious.  A few months ago, I had a big decision to make regarding my career and I ran and ran until my heart knew what was right for me.
  3. Create a plan. This might sound a little crazy, but at the beginning of 2018, I wrote a document called The 5 Year Plan.  I listed major life milestones that I hope my husband and I will achieve in the next five years.  We’re 8 months into 2018 and I have already revised that document many times to reflect changes in our career plans.  I’m totally okay with this document being flexible, but there’s something about having this document that I like.  Instead of just talking about what we want for the future, we have put these thoughts on paper.  I truly believe that writing your goals is the first step to achieving them (more on this topic in an upcoming post!).
  4. Be flexible and accept that things will not go according to plan.  This is hard for people like me, but the more you try to be flexible, the better you will get at it.  When you feel the tendency to be frustrated that life is changing, remember a previous time in your life when things were changing in a way that you either didn’t want or didn’t expect, but all ended up okay.

“Would you like to know your future?  If your answer is yes, think again.  Not knowing is the greatest life motivator.  So enjoy, endure, survive each moment as it comes to you in its proper sequence — a surprise.” – Vera Nazarian

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