When talking about anxiety, it is essential to understand that anxiety can come in many forms that can result in depression symptoms, panic attacks, OCD, bipolar disorders, separation anxiety, personality disorders and many more. Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is an extreme and uncontrollable type of worry about everyday situations. Other stresses may be about something specific, yet GAD refers to much more generic things.
What exactly is intolerance of uncertainty?
Have you ever thought worry beneficial? That it may do some good in the long run? That may prevent something terrible from happening? What about feeling that you cannot solve problems or perhaps you see problems and issues as severe obstacles? Alternatively, how about only dealing with issues as a total last resort and avoiding them whenever you possibly can? Example scenarios could be:
• You worry about being in a plane crash, despite the minimal probability
• You need a lot of reassurance and second opinions
• You avoid new situations due to fear of uncertainty
• You stick to standard routines
• You would prefer to know the outcome of a situation will be wrong rather than not knowing the outcome at all
Those with GAD have a much higher intolerance to uncertainty. Uncertainty is uncomfortable. Therefore, the worry is utilised to try and plan for any possible outcome to any possible situation. It can be pretty exhausting.
What treatment options are available for GAD anxiety?
Those who have researched the subject believe that the best course of action is to help sufferers become more tolerant of uncertainty.
Therapists and councillors may help identify situations that cause upset and help to create coping strategies for those specific situations.
Another possibility is to explore testing of feared predictions. This involves identifying and facing your dreaded situation. Together, both would then discuss what the worst outcome could have been, what happened and what happened afterwards. This process can be used for a variety of situations from small issues up to quite major ones. It is hugely beneficial to see that often there was no reason for worry in the first place and this feeling of achievement can then be relished and further built upon.
Practising mindfulness can also be useful. Breathing properly and focusing on specific areas of improvement in life like kindness, gratitude and love have been shown to have nothing but positive effects on an individual.
As scary as it sounds, it can prove highly valuable to consent to uncertainty in life. Although impossible to see the rosy future in times of severe anxiety, acceptance of uncertainty can lead to lessened anxieties, the joy of new experiences and more time to focus on things that require attention.
Remember, thoughts are merely thoughts. Nothing more, nothing less. They can’t control what happens. Of course, thoughts come to us all the time, but it is up to us to decide how we react to those thoughts. Uncertainty is part of life. Try to accept it, not avoid it.
If you struggle to keep your worry of uncertainty in check, then do seek help from your GP who may refer you on for CBT or suggest a course of medication.
If any of the above sounds familiar to you personally in some way, then please take my free quick and easy test analysis and find out if you may have any symptoms associated with GAD.