How to Center Yourself in a Time of Uncertainty

manage your fears manage your angerAlthough you can’t always change what’s going on around you, you can change how you relate to circumstances by learning how to center yourself in a time of uncertainty. 

Life has always been full of uncertainty. We have no guarantees. We aren’t ever promised another day. Nothing is a “sure thing.”

However, we are living in particularly uncertain times. So what do you fear the most?

We have constant stimuli surrounding us — cell phones, news pop-ups, billboards, tickers, laptops, tv, social media and more…

It’s easy to get caught up in it all. Emails loading, news flooding in, texts dinging, tweets tweeting…it’s all happening all the time. It often feels like if we don’t keep up with it all instantly, we’ll be left behind. We’ll miss out on something important.

All of these external stimuli are neither inherently good or inherently bad. It’s just that it’s all a distraction from our internal GPS. It can take us away from ourselves.

Distraction is only short-term mirage for uncertainty and fear. You can’t avoid it without facing it head-on. 

We need tools to get back to ourselves. 

Our quick attention to stimuli outside of us gives us the illusion of control. In fact, each time we check and respond to an external stimulus, we get a mini-hit of dopamine (one of feel-good hormones), which also feels good but only for a moment in time… until…we go back to feeling the uncertainty of being alive which is the reality of being human.

Sometimes just talking about it isn’t enough to resolve it.

The Painful Cycle of Distraction from Yourself:
The stuff going on outside of you can feel destabilizing. Feeling destabilized can ignite feelings of uncertainty. Feelings of uncertainty can amplify fear. Fear increases anxiety, depression, self-doubt and more destabilization. And so goes the cycle, increasing with each go round.

3 Simple MindBodyWise Ways to Center Yourself in the Midst of Uncertainty:
Getting present to your internal experience — no matter if it’s pleasant or ugly or painful or joyful (most likely it’s all of these and more) is the only way to center yourself within your uncertainty.  The following approaches begin in your body and eventually emanate outward to your mind and your life.

1 – Schedule Mini Check-ins
Set a timer on your phone for 3-5 times per day to remind yourself to stop what you’re doing and ask yourself “What’s happening inside me now?”

Your answer may be an emotion, a physical sensation or many emotions and many sensations. Allow it all to be what it is, without aiming to change your reality.

Note: It’s an act of self-care to love yourself enough to pause and ask. You don’t have to aim for feeling great or even good, but in pausing to ask and giving yourself a moment to listen for an answer you offer yourself the gift of presence.

2 – Feel your Breath
You can’t overdose on your breath. Use it like medicine to bring you back to right now and to the power of being alive. Recommended dosage: at least 1 minute of conscious breathing 3x/day.

Right now, take a deep breath all the way into your belly. Feel it move back out. Your breath is one of the only certain things you have while you’re alive.

3 – Stand Up
Feel your feet on the ground. Feel how you distribute your weight into your feet. Do you lean forward into the balls of your feet? Backwards into your heels? Is there more weight on one side versus the other? Bend your knees a little and notice what shifts. Then bend them a lot and notice. Get curious about it all. Most importantly, notice the sensation of being supported by the ground beneath you.

By using this approach to embodied mindfulness, you focus on your body in space. You experience the support of something as certain as we have – the earth and the gravity that keeps your feet.

It feels bad to feel like you’re floating without and anchor, distracted by all that’s around you, and disconnected from what’s happening within you.

Start with your body and you’ll feel your feet back on the ground and your mind settling…


P.S. Did you know I offer private sessions both virtually and in person? Learn how to listen to your internal wisdom with a trained MindBodyWise therapist. Learn more here.

P.P.S. Wondering if you’re in-tune with your mind-body connection? Take the free Mind-Body IQ quiz here. Wondering where you can connect with other people that are similar to you? Join us in the free, private MindBodyWise Living Room group on Facebook!

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy reading: The Art of Letting Go and How to Begin, Harness your Stress for Strength & Resilience, and An Easy 8-Step Tool to Increase Self-Acceptance.