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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
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
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
Write down your main worries. List as many as you need to.
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.
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
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
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