Interestingly, we humans prefer bad news over uncertainty, even if we know the bad news may not be factual.
Uncertainty (not knowing what is happening now) is only one of the four horsemen of chaos according to author Bob Miglani. The other three being: unpredictability (not knowing what’s happening in the future), complexity (too difficult to understand), and speed (things changing too quickly to keep up).
In all cases, it boils down to us wanting to know the unknowable.
And what happens when we live in the unknowable? For many of us, it causes anxiety, fear, frustration, feeling pressured, confusion, helplessness, withdrawal, distraction, procrastination, lashing out, and hopelessness, to name only some of the reactions.
Do a few seem too familiar? Me too.
This topic applies to all of us, but more so for those on the autism and/or sensory spectrums. First, many people on the autism spectrum do not have an understanding of human behaviour so they experience more unpredictability than most of us. Those with sensory issues are already living under additional stress so have fewer resources to dedicate to understanding and handling chaos. As well, fear is often a stronger felt emotion for those on the spectrum. For example, Temple Grandin knows her amygdala (fear centre of the brain) is larger than normal. This is not uncommon for those on the spectrum.
Knowledge is an unending adventure at the edge of uncertainty.
Fear comes from uncertainty. When we are absolutely certain, whether of our worth or worthlessness, we are almost impervious to fear.
This topic is larger than what I can simplify into a single article. Today is only the introduction to the topic. Subsequent articles will discuss how to reduce feeling the anxiety. Today will briefly look at the above mentioned ‘four horsemen’.
1. How can you reduce uncertainty in your life? Do you need to understand what you are feeling right now? Are you missing some information? Do you know why you are doing what you are doing?
2. How can you reduce unpredictability? Do you need to create routines? Do you need to ask or search for more information? Are you making all of the decisions you need to make? Do you know what you want to accomplish in the near future?
3. Is life too complex? What can you do to simplify your life? The best way to clear off a do-to list is to realize we will not get everything on it done and start crossing off any non-important items. Focus on the important few. When people ask for your help, if your heart, soul and schedule isn’t wholeheartedly behind it, say no. Schedule quiet time for yourself in the same way you would book time with a friend. You are your best friend.
In the paper today, there was an article about Kanye West and his breakdown. The breakdown was attributed to his packed schedule and his ongoing feud with Taylor Swift. Maybe he needs to learn to say no to so many projects and perhaps, and I'm not an expert in the area, treat others with respect. I don't follow him or his wife so could be completely wrong on both accounts. My opinion only, based on a single article. We are responsible for much of our life.
4. Is life too fast? If things are happening too fast to keep up, step off the merry-go-round and breathe for a moment. If you are able to simplify your life, it will slow down. Not everything is worth the same amount of attention. What will matter 5 days, 5 weeks, 5 months, 5 years from now?
5. The miracle stress-reducer: Are you getting enough exercise? One exercise person I heard recently said that even 30 second sessions done throughout the day has a noticeable impact. Have therabands handy for those occasions for those 30 second bursts. They are versatile, inexpensive and won’t become an eyesore if left out (unlike a treadmill). Now, and while supplies last, get yours at a 16% discount to honour the end of 2016 and to encourage you to enter 2017 with a new health habit already in place.
While we can attempt to make the world a more certain, predictable, simplified and slower place, we also need to learn how to handle the inevitable chaos.
Websites used in today’s article: