Managing Your Mindset During Uncertainty
AUTHOR: 4IMPACT CAREERS & TALENT
01 March 2021
A world without COVID-19 still seems like a lifetime away, and employees and consultants are still feeling a sense of uncertainty. As our mind responds to this uncertainty our survival brain responds accordingly with our primitive mind identifying a threat and activating our survival instincts. This survival mode, most often known as fight or flight, acts quickly to protect you. When we are in fight or flight, we overestimate the challenge and underestimate our ability to cope.
One of the proven ways to manage your mindset during uncertainty, relevant to technology professionals across the globe, is the practice of mindfulness. Although mindfulness cannot make the uncertain certain, it can bring us back to centre, to that place that knows there is a threat and knows that we each have all the tools necessary to handle the situation. Mindfulness brings an awareness that helps us reframe our approach. It takes away all the labels and the exaggerations and brings are attention right back to the facts. There is so much peace and power in that.
5 Tips to manage your mindset during uncertainty
Focus on what you can control
The biggest and most impactful thing we can control is our attitude and perception – so always start there first. Have a non-judgmental look at the situation and write a list of all the possibilities and all the things that you can do to assist, such as updating your resume and profiles, speaking with networks. Also look at things outside of the situation that you can control. For example, ensuring you maintain your routines, making mindful choices on what content you consume and whom you spend your time with, and communicating openly with your loved ones.
Uncertainty is inevitable but it does also allow us to exercise some of our other muscles such as resilience, self-compassion and communication skills. This allows us the opportunity to have a look at the things we feel are working or not working in our lives. It can be a good time to identify areas that need a little bit more attention and the ones that need a little less. It is also an exciting opportunity to engage in some upskilling. Courses, books, workshops, and seminars are a great way to keep up to date with what is current and to keep your mind engaged.
At times like these, it is more important than ever to practice self-compassion and understanding. Mindfully become aware of what is happening in your mind and bring your attention back to the present. Our mind in fight or flight tends to catastrophise things and, with 60,000+ thoughts a day, we need to redirect those thoughts that are not so helpful, and celebrate the ones that lift us. In times of uncertainty, knowing which thoughts are helpful and which are not is an important skill to learn and can transform your experience.
When things are uncertain it is important to maintain the familiar as the mind identifies this as safe. This can be done by maintaining the routines that you already have and including some new ones which can help minimise additional controllable stress. Some examples include:
- Getting up at the same time as usual and getting dressed
- If you work out, continue to do that
- Keep usual mealtimes
- Stay hydrated
- Go outside often
- Maintain connection and communication with others
Identify the things that bring you joy. You may not do them often but by bringing them mindfully into your daily life can help cultivate the joy needed to manage your mindset. Be it creative, sporty, family time, board games or whatever else. Identify what it is that lights you up and do more of that TODAY!
Bringing mindfulness practise into your life allows you to be aware and make choices based on that information. Although mindfulness may be new to some people and daunting, ultimately it is doing what you do but bringing your full non-judgmental attention to it.