6 Ways To Conquer Your Fear Of The Unknown (Which Is The Root Of Your Anxiety)

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Living With Uncertainty
Family, Self

Fear of the unknown is perhaps the biggest underpinning of anxiety. Whether it is due to your health, your relationship, your kids, your job — there are no guarantees in life other than to be ready at some point to be thrown a curve ball.

Fear of the unknown is the same as fear of the future. When we don't face our fear squarely, anxiety is the result.

Not only is anxiety a waste of your precious time and energy; it also affects your brain chemistry, so that you can end up with an overproduction of cortisol. High levels of cortisol increase the possibilities for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and other immunological disorders. Definitely not a recipe for happiness. 

RELATED: 4 Ways To Overcome Any Fear In Your Life (No Matter How Small)

Whatever the reason, when you have to live with uncertainty remember the following:

1. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

Identify the worst-case outcome and face it. Research that outcome so you know what to expect.

2. Live your life in short bursts.

Hour to hour, minute to minute, tell yourself something like, "I am going to remain calm for the next the 20 minutes." These small, consistent achievements will help you to feel more confident.

3. Practice grounding.

Breathe deeply. Look around and notice 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 emotion you feel.

4. Turn to practices that enrich your faith.

Whether you are a church goer, a nature lover, a meditator, a swimmer, a runner, a cook, or a cyclist. Involve yourself in activities that keep you focused in the present and keep your mind clear of stress-noise.

5. Keep yourself emotionally and physically strong as possible.

Get help and support from professionals to stay in good shape.

6. Participate in some charitable act.

When we are helping others, we forget to fret.

RELATED: What My Depression Taught Me About Living For The Future

If you stop to think about it, one way or another, we are basically always living with uncertainty. Living in the here and now, noticing the joy in small things, and being grateful for our blessings is the best defense against our fear of the unknown.

Your significant other tells you that they are thinking about leaving the relationship. You are devastated because you do not want the relationship to end.

You can waste your physical and emotional energy by going after the person with frequently calls and texts, checking out their activity online, bothering your friends with your upset, losing sleep, not focusing on the job, and feeling depressed and anxious.

The alternative to living with this type of uncertainty would, instead, would be to remember that you had a life before this person and will continue to have one. Take care of yourself with good nutrition and exercise. Notice your anxiety before you "act it out" destructively. Breathe deeply and engage in calming activities.

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Seek out safe, supportive professionals who will help you get on track for yourself. Give what you are looking to get by helping others and remember that you are part of a much bigger picture with lots of options.

Notice that the first, ineffective approach is centered on trying to control the other and the second, healthy approach is centered on controlling and taking care of yourself.

In today's world, the concept of living with uncertainty is bolder than ever. People are frequently uncertain about their safety, both physically and emotionally. We need to be more guarded when attending public events. We need to work harder to keep our kids safe, both at school and online.

We need to maintain a lot of independence in our marriages since one out of two does not work out. We need to stay mindful of our activity on the Internet. We have to hope that we are not replaced or laid off from our jobs. We need to "watch our backs" when traveling abroad.

The list goes on an on. If we do not develop the coping skills for day-to-day living in a stressful world, we risk our good health and peace of mind. 

If you stop to think about it, one way or another, we are basically always living with uncertainty. Living in the here and now, noticing the joy in small things, and being grateful for our blessings is the best defense against our fear of the unknown. 

RELATED: How To Truly (And Unapologetically) Live A Life Of Firsts Again

Ellie Izzo is the creator of Sentbeat, an innovative APP for enhancing emotional intelligence. She can be reached by email at ellieizzophd@gmail.com.

This article was originally published at sentbeat.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.