// 4 Ways To Feel Good About The Future In These Uncertain Times

It’s safe to say that you’re living through one of the most disruptive and challenging times in modern history. Not since the Second World War have people faced such huge disruption to their day-to-day lives on such a mass scale. As such, even as the gears of the world start to lurch forward once more and we start thinking about maybe going back to normal, you may not be feeling all that optimistic. After all, you’ve spent months under lockdown. You’ve done your best to use your time as productively as possible. You’ve turned your attention inwards and dedicated your energy to creating a home and garden that you can fall in love with all over again. You’ve learned to work productively from home, you’ve reacquainted yourself with old hobbies and tried to deal with your anxieties through creative outlets.

Still, with at least a few weeks more of social distancing and isolation from our friends and family to go, it’s understandable that you may not be feeling too bright and hopeful about the uncertain future that lies ahead. Nonetheless, while we can’t change the current state of affairs, we can change our outlook. 

Try to gain a better understanding of what the future holds

Possibly the greatest fear we face is that of the unknown. It’s easy to see the future as a mysterious and forbidding prospect. A mousetrap that’s just waiting to snap shut on us when we least expect it. However, while we can never completely predict the future, we can always gain a better understanding of what the future holds. 

There are lots of ways in which we can do this. We can keep more abreast of what’s going on in the present, and gain more data on which to predict our futures, or we can lean into more ancient and mystical traditions. Getting into the subtle art of major arcana tarot cards can be a fun hobby which may yield insights into what tomorrow holds for us. As tempting as it may be to bury our heads in the sand, this can only exacerbate our fear of the future. Whatever methods we choose to familiarize ourselves with it, we should learn to embrace it.

Teach yourself to accept what you can’t control

Most of us feel better about the future when we’re able to control it. That’s why we establish schedules and stick to them, even when we don’t have our bosses looking over our shoulders anymore. As such, the seemingly random and chaotic nature of the world around us can seem intimidating since it’s so beyond our ability to control. 

However, that doesn’t mean that we should live in fear of what we can’t assert our will over. 

To quote Tony Robbins, “The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably deal with”. We gain nothing by treating uncertainty like a fickle beast that could bite us at any moment. We need to make ourselves more comfortable around it. Of course, this can’t be done overnight. But by training ourselves to think in new ways, we can become more comfortable with the aspects of our lives and our futures which are outside of our control. 

This is much easier when we...

Avoid catastrophizing

Catastrophizing is one of the less helpful survival instincts which our psyches form in order to protect ourselves from being caught out by uncertainty. We get into the habit of automatically assuming that the worst case scenario is always an inevitability. Needless to say, this can cause us an awful lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety. Fortunately, with time we can teach ourselves to kick this habit. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT is an extremely useful process that conditions us to challenge negative or pessimistic thoughts and shed the cold light of reason on them. Most of our greatest anxieties tend to wither at least slightly when subject to scrutiny and logic. Take a look at this CBT worksheet to help condition yourself against catastrophizing. 

Make sure you always have something to look forward to

Finally, never underestimate the power of anticipation. The future always looks rosier when you have something nice to look forward to. So, if your circumstances aren’t providing that for you, you need to provide it for yourself. It needn’t be a big thing. Planning to watch a good movie or get stuck into a great book at the end of a long day can help. Promising yourself a long hot soak in the tub can help. Arranging a long video chat with an old friend can help. There are no wrong answers. Whatever brings you joy and happiness. 

// this contributed post was written for this charming life.

// Exciting Goals That Will Change Your Life

There is one thing that all humans have in common: the need to achieve. We all have a purpose here, and what that is isn’t always clear, which is why we set ourselves some goals in the hope that it becomes clear later on. Life goals are not the same for everyone: what one person wants won’t be the same as everyone else, and that’s okay!

To have a goal is to have a dream, as cheesy as that sounds. It’s in these goals that we craft our futures and we choose the paths that take us to each of our wishes in turn, making them come true one by one. For example, you may wish to move to the other side of the world one day, and you’d put in place the education that you need to get there and the job to pay for it, too. When you achieve the goals that you have, the feeling of satisfaction that you get from it is worth every single worry about what you can achieve in the first place. 

There are some goals out there that are specific and others that are very much open to interpretation, and it’s up to you how you do it. So, a goal that could be open to interpretation is the one where you decide to move the other side of the world, as you wouldn't have specified where. You could then align one goal with another: emigration with buying a house, for example. Perhaps your line of work is particularly popular in Singapore, and you could buy Singapore property and really make a whole new life for yourself. You may not have considered moving abroad, but perhaps when you think about it, you may be open to the idea. Goals offer personal development as much as they do adventure, and knowing what your goals could be will give you a target to aim for. 

So, with this in mind, let’s take a closer look at some goals that could really shape your life and bring you joy at the same time.
Clear Glass Bottle on Brown Wooden Table
  • Aim To: Do What You Love
It’s the hardest decision to make: deciding on what you want to do, what you love to do, in life. You may not have any idea about it until you start getting out there and experiencing life for all that it is. You could hate your current job, but instead of wallowing in the negativity, you could get out there and really experiment with other things. Figure out what you love to do and get out and do it! There’s nothing stopping you from going on your own journey of self-discovery.
  • Aim To: Put Yourself First
Most people wouldn't put this on their list of life goals, but they should. Self-care may be shouted in magazines, but it’s something that you should be paying attention to - big time. You need to consider how self-care is going to give you a break from the everyday stresses in life. You need to put your mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing first - and put yourself first more often than you don't. 
  • Aim To: Contribute
What do you offer in life? Who are you helping and how are you making a difference? These are questions that you should really be considering. Your life is going to have meaning, but it’s only going to have meaning if you know how to make a positive impact on other people. Donate the things that you don't use, and love your friends and family hard. You can be a person that puts themselves first and still be compassionate to the difficulties that others are having. It’s entirely possible to make sure that you are giving and loving, and still want to do things for yourself. 
  • Aim To: Enjoy Life
Are you going to get out there and get an education? If you haven't thought about it, perhaps start to make a list of pros and cons about going back to school. You may be one of the lucky ones who knows what they want to do in life from the moment that they are in school, but if not there’s nothing stopping you working it out now and going and doing it. You’re not a failure for not knowing what you want from life at the age of 18. Instead, you need to think about what you want to do with yourself, and then go and do it. The safest, best way to enjoy your life is to know what you want and go and do it. It’s the best way to feel fulfilled.

// this contributed post was written for this charming life.