Discomfort caused by fear of the unknown is a common problem many people face, yet tend to shy away from.
Psychologically, our brains are programmed to constantly predict what’s going to happen next, so it can prepare the body and mind effectively for threat. These reactions to uncertainty might have made sense during the beginning of our evolution, when you needed to remain on high alert and be prepared to run from a predator literally for your survival. Flashing-forward, this instinctual fear of the unknown continues to exist deep within us resulting in stress and many other issues that can impact our health, so why keep running from it?
Welcoming the unknown
You can’t overcome something until you face it. Unfortunately, many of us lack the skill to embrace the unknown and put our faith into the future. We tend to hold on things and people which we end up suffering for. The four noble truths of Buddhism focuses on this perspective and highlights that attachment has a dark side to it, therefore happiness comes from letting go.
The four noble truths of Buddhism: the truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the end of suffering, and the truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering. More simply put, suffering exists; it has a cause; it has an end; and it has a cause to bring about its end.
This means learning to let go. Let go of past fears that don’t serve you, fears that cause you suffering and future expectations, hopes or control that causes anxiety. We don’t and can’t control the future, it’s something every single human being has in common, yet we obess about these things we have no power over, taking up precious space in our minds resulting in stress, anxiety and a slew of other problems.
Changing your perspective
The unknown is everywhere, it applies to every second of our lives. It may be easier said than done, but opening up to the unknown can change your life. Doing so shifts your brain into more positive thinking and openness, it allows us to better adapt to new situations and provides personal growth, and as a result helps us enjoy the variety of life. So, this is your sign to stop shying away, and face the beauty and unknowingness of life. It's almost a new year, don't you think it's time for a new outlook?
When faced with fear, ask yourself these questions..
- What is making you feeling uncertain? Is that reasonable
- What are your expectations? Is that achievable
- What will happen if it doesn’t go your way? Is it really that big of a problem
4 tips for embracing the unknown
- Let go of expectations and what's holding you back
- Focus your thoughts on the present, not the future
- Have faith in the future
- Trust the process
“Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.”
– John Allen Paulos