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A Simple Practice to Overcome the Fear of Uncertainty and Daily Stress

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In times of chaos and uncertainty, we often find ourselves overwhelmed, reacting impulsively to the stresses of the moment. It’s only later that we may realize we could have responded with more grace, poise and thoughtfulness. This lack of resilience often stems from depletion — when we are physically, emotionally or mentally drained, we become more likely to lash out or overreact when faced with unexpected challenges.

Resilience is the key to responding thoughtfully to unexpected changes. However, depletion can hinder our ability to maintain a calm and collected demeanor in the face of adversity. As exemplified by Will Smith’s outburst at the Academy Awards last year, even successful and wealthy individuals can struggle to maintain resilience. Therefore, it is essential to replenish our reserves so that we can navigate whatever struggles come our way.

Related: How to Let Go of Fear in Times of Uncertainty

Resilience and daily rituals

The Resilient Leader Assessment, a survey of over 5,000 business leaders and professionals, revealed that many individuals are operating with depleted reserves of mental, emotional, physical and even spiritual resilience. Of those surveyed, only 6% exhibited what we call “change-proof resilience,” with 34% being vulnerable to acute and chronic stress. However, hope remains — by establishing rituals to renew and replenish ourselves in these four resilience zones (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual), we can build our capacity to regenerate our energy reserves incrementally.

It is crucial to practice resilience before we need it. We can do so by engaging in daily rituals such as exercising, meditating and taking breaks in the midst of our busy work schedules. With practice, we can also learn to react to unexpected situations in a more collected manner.

Resilience is not just about bouncing back, but embracing change with unwavering strength and adapting to the winds of transformation.

Related: 7 Ways to Build Resiliency in Challenging Times

3 simple steps to help you overcome the fear of uncertainty and daily stress

Our natural response to uncertainty and adversity is often fear-based, leading to a primitive fight-or-flight response that impairs our critical thinking skills. One way to inoculate yourself against fear generated by uncertainty is a strategy I call Pause-Ask-Choose. This is a method to help you reframe and discover opportunities when you are faced with any kind of challenge. When you feel stress and tension rising in your body, use that feeling as a reminder to:

  • Pause: Stop and take several deep breaths. Doing this is like rebooting your computer when it is slogging along under the strain of all the tabs you have open before it freezes. This pause is meant to create space for you to be conscious of this next, very important step.

  • Ask: This is where you can reframe and discover the deeper meaning in whatever challenge you are facing. Reframe the moment for your growth by asking questions like: “What’s the creative opportunity here?” or “What don’t I see?” or “What can I be grateful for?”. These types of questions might not provide the immediate solution or answer you’re looking for, but what they will do is provide a new perspective, which will undoubtedly open your mind to see the situation through an entirely new set of lenses. The effect will be cascading, and soon enough, the entire situation will look differently to you — just from pausing and asking.

  • Choose: Choose to ritualize your recovery for higher performance in the future. When we choose, we are consciously ritualizing small, daily practices for our personal recovery to create mental, emotional, physical and spiritual integration and harmony. This choice to deal with our depletion before it becomes a problem is truly a game-changer for our levels of energy and even our attitude and mindset going forward.

The more we practice, the easier it becomes to replace our fight-or-flight responses and ritualize Pause-Ask-Choose as our default coping strategy. Taken together, the three steps give us a simple, repeatable formula for becoming a resilient agent of change, instead of a victim to it.

Related: Mastering the Art of the Reframe Is the Key to Building Resilience. Here’s How to Do It.

It may not happen overnight, but with consistent effort, we can rewire our default reactions and develop a new mindset that embraces change as an opportunity for growth. As we become more adept at pausing to reflect, asking ourselves empowering questions and making conscious choices to recover from depletion before it drags us down, we shift from being passive recipients of change to active agents who shape our own destinies. With each successful implementation of this formula, we build our capacity to navigate the ever-evolving landscapes of work and life and emerge stronger, wiser and more resilient than ever before.

Each step in the right direction is one step closer than you were before.

By choosing to ritualize our recovery through small, daily practices that promote mental, emotional, physical and spiritual harmony, we grow in our capacity to handle whatever is happening in the moment — resiliently. By prioritizing our well-being and replenishing our energy reserves, we can face unexpected challenges with calm, grace and poise. And in that moment, we have gained a distinct resilience advantage in a world that isn’t going to slow down anytime soon.

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