Coping with Uncertainty - MindSpot Clinic

Help us test a new 4-week treatment course for self-managing symptoms of anxiety and depression. Click here to find out more

Coping with Uncertainty

Being faced with uncertainty is a normal part of life. Worries about uncertainty can be hard to manage, particularly if we feel that we feel physically or emotionally unsafe. When that happens, uncertainty can trigger stress, fear and panic. If it continues too long, uncertainty can even trigger feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.

COVID-19 has made life more uncertain for many people. Many of us are concerned about our health and the health of loved ones, the economy and jobs, and the future.

The good news is that there are some strategies that can help us cope with uncertainty.

A Coping Strategy for Now: Accepting What You Can and Can't Control

An uncertain or challenging situation can bring with it a lot of worries. Even though these worries may be very real, spending excessive amounts of time worrying often doesn’t help us address the situation, and can lead to feelings of stress, hopelessness and helplessness.

A way you can manage this worry is by recognising and accepting what you can and can’t control. You can do this by following these three steps.
  1. Write down your main worries. List as many as you need to.
  2. Divide the list into two. One list is for the things you can do something about, and the other list is for the things you can’t do anything about.
  3. Make a plan to solve the items on the first list and seek help if needed to solve them. Practice accepting what is on the second list.
For the items that you can do something about, you may find our Structured Problem-Solving worksheet helpful:

A Longer-Term Coping Strategy: Worry Time

Consider this: How much time in your day is spent worrying about the past or the future? Or worrying about things that are uncertain or out of your control?

If you find that this worry is taking up a considerable part of your day, causing you distress, or interfering with your ability to engage with your daily tasks, the people and environment around you, you may benefit from scheduling in some Worry Time. Worry Time is a skill to help people manage the amount of time they spend worrying throughout the day.

To learn how to use Worry Time, download our Worry Time Guide:

Looking For More Support?

We recommend you consult with your GP, who can discuss local support or treatment options with you. They can prepare a Mental Health Care Plan, which will enable you to access treatment services with a Psychologist or Psychiatrist through Medicare, or a referral to local Community Mental Health Services. Your GP can also provide a physical check-up, if you haven’t had one recently. Your physical health can affect your emotional wellbeing.

If you don’t have one already, you can find a GP in your local area at Beyond Blue.

Another option is online treatment. The MindSpot Clinic offers free online and telephone delivered Treatment Courses which help people manage their symptoms stress, anxiety, low mood and depression.

Additional Resources