Girl sitting a road looking to the distance, slightly stressed

Coping with uncertainty in life.

One of the most certain things in life is uncertainty. You can never know for sure what mark you will get in an assessment until you receive your mark, or if your favourite sporting team will win the grand final this year. The global pandemic has disrupted routines and made planning for events incredibly difficult.

Mathematician Allen Paulos really put it into perspective for us when he said that, “knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.”

The key to coping with uncertainty is to be able to learn to live with ambiguity. Although easier said than done, there are five steps you can begin to take to help cope with uncertainty and learn to live with ambiguity…

Don’t resist

Resisting this current reality won’t help us recover, learn, grow, or feel better and that’s why we need to practice acceptance. Research has shown that acceptance, particularly self-acceptance is a counterintuitive secret to happiness. Acceptance is about meeting life where it is and moving forward from there. Accepting something doesn’t mean any feelings of frustration, anxiety, or discouragement will disappear, but a big part of acceptance is accepting how we feel about difficult circumstances – it puts us in a better position to move forward. Acceptance allows us to see the reality of the moment.

Invest in yourself

“The best resource that you have right now for making a contribution to the world is YOU.”

When that resource is depleted, you can’t lead your best life. Take care of yourself, rests, spend time creating, playing, doing things you enjoy, limit your social media usage, self-care

Comfort yourself in healthy ways

When stressed our brain tries to rescue us by activating our dopamine systems.

This might be by going on social media, substances, and binge eating. Instead, what can you do that you enjoy that will have you feeling better? It might be exercise, cooking, seeing a friend, sitting in the sun.

Don’t believe everything you think

In uncertain times, resist the temptation to believe thoughts that argue for the worst-case scenario. We tend to allow ourselves to think about the negative, instead, try to think about the best possible scenario.

Take some time out

Sometimes the best thing to do is to switch off your phone, television, or wherever you’re seeing the news. The news will always be there, constantly sending out information, and if we are always trying to keep up with it we’ll run ourselves into the ground. So take time away from the nose.

Find the present moment

When life is uncertain our minds can fill with a thousand thoughts. Try and focus on the now – and don’t dwell on the past, we know this can be tricky, however, practicing mindfulness can help you with this!


You’re never alone at UNE.

Our team at Advocacy and Welfare offers confidential support to students! Contact us here.
Student Success also has confidential counselling for students, you can find them here.
Lifeline is also a 24/7 hotline and you can call them on 13 11 14

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