Uncertainty plays an enormous role in your worry patterns. Chronic worriers want to know outcomes before they happen and can’t stand the doubt and uncertainty that comes with so many life situations.
To the chronic worrier, the worry pattern is a good way to predict an outcome. They need to know exactly what’s going to happen in certain (worrisome) situations so they can prevent unpleasant reactions to surprises and better control the outcome.
Life is totally unpredictable, so no matter how much the worrier projects a scenario into the future, the likelihood of it happening just that way is unlikely. Rather than enjoying the present moment, the chronic worrier is too busy worrying and predicting the future.
The immediate need for certainty makes the chronic worrier a nervous wreck and may eventually affect his or her mental and physical health.
If you’re a chronic worrier who isn’t enjoying life’s great moments in the present time because you’re too worried about the future, consider the following questions:
- Can you be certain about everything in your life?
- Are your predicting mostly bad outcomes rather than positive ones?
- Are your predictions reasonable?
- Is your worry helpful in accepting outcomes in life’s situations?
- What are the advantages of worrying about a particular outcome?
It’s the uncertainties in life which help us grow and become confident and able to face life challenges. Even though uncertainty is uncomfortable for all of us, and when we react with worry, we’re really trying to control a situation. Sometimes we actually become attached to a certain outcome.
For example, if you’re so afraid of flying that it results in a panic attack, you may actually be successfully avoiding the situation of getting on that flight. You don’t have to worry about it, because you have an excuse to avoid it.
When you finally understand that uncertainties are a natural fact of life, you can begin to challenge your fears and worries – to analyze them and find the root causes so you can address them realistically and intellectually.
You’ll know that you have to accept some uncertainties, but you can talk yourself in to controlling it. Although uncertainty may be uncomfortable, you can tolerate it and build your skills to handle it.
You can even challenge your uncertainties by taking decisive action. For example, if you’re afraid of flying, get on a plane. You may have to go through some therapy before you’re ready to let go of a particular worry, but it’s worth it when you realize you did it – you challenged your fears and won.