If there is anything these past few years have taught us, it is how quickly our entire world can change. Living during a time of uncertainty can be incredibly overwhelming, but it can also teach us important things about ourselves and our own capabilities.
Dr. Gail Gazelle MD, assistant professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Master Certified Coach for physicians, offers insight on facing uncertainty through looking into our own strengths.
“While we often think that resilience is the stuff of elite athletes, heroes, heroines, and others, it is actually something we all have within us,” says Dr. Gazelle. “In fact, resilience is an inner well of resources – strength, wisdom, courage, steadiness, fortitude and creativity – that we can draw upon to provide what we need in times of difficulty. We can learn to fill our inner well with simple techniques that anyone can apply on a regular basis.”
Here are Dr. Gazelle’s top three tips for cultivating resilience in times of uncertainty.
Tip #1: We can remind ourselves of the ways we have gotten through uncertainty in the past.
No matter who you are, it is extremely likely that you have dealt with uncertainty at some point in your life. A new physical symptom, job instability, difficulty with a child or aging parent. The good news is that you figured out how to manage the uncertainty! When you’re feeling doubt about the current uncertainty, reminding yourself of this can give you a sense of security that you will get through this particular uncertainty as well.
Tip #2: In times of uncertainty, it is critical to lean into your important relationships.
Humans are a social species, and we rely on one another to get through the difficulties that come up in our lives. At times of uncertainty, turning to trusted individuals for guidance and support is something we all need to do. While we can have an instinct to pull away, leaning into our important relationships is actually what we need to do.
Tip #3: Mindfulness helps to remind us that uncertainty and change are a part of life.
So often we think that things will stay the same, but, in reality, the only certainty is change. When we resist this fact of life, we can cause ourselves even greater suffering and difficulty. The next time you find yourself fearful of uncertainty and change, take a mindful pause and take a few slow, deep breaths. Once you remind yourself that we all experience periods of uncertainty and change, you’ll likely find yourself more relaxed and more able to cope with whatever it is you are facing.
Dr. Gazelle has been featured on CNN, CBS, NBC, Fox, Yahoo! News, NPR, AMA, AP, Univision, ACP, The New England Journal of Medicine, The Oprah Magazine and more.
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