How to Deal with Uncertainty

What Can You Control

By Rod Macdonald, Certified Coach Practitioner and Tonic’s Resident Coach

Q: “With so much uncertainty in the world today, I find myself feeling a bit overwhelmed with my thoughts. Sometimes it interferes with my sleep and I feel tense most of the time. Is there anything you can suggest?”-Crystal

A: Crystal, there are a lot of people feeling the way you are, especially now, because of what is going on in the world. Even when a person isn’t directly affected, it can still have a negative effect. If you feel like you can’t manage your feelings, you may want to speak to your family physician about support from a psychologist or counselor. If you are feeling like you are in a crisis, then there are crisis hotlines available in your area that you can find by performing an internet search. If you feel that your feelings are manageable, keep reading.

When we start to feel overwhelmed about a situation, it can help to ask yourself these questions:

  • What can you control? There are things in your life that you can control, and things that you cannot control. Focus more time and energy on the things you can control.
  • What makes you feel good? It might be exercise, meditation, talking to a friend, or something else. If it isn’t unhealthy, do more of what makes you feel good.
  • Who can you lean on? Whether it is a friend, family member, co-worker, or a coach, talking through your feelings will almost always reduce stress.
  • What do you need to stop doing? This might include excessive alcohol, junk food, watching the news, or even just too much social media. When you reduce the information that enters your brain, you will feel less stress because your brain can handle things more easily.
  • Have you been breathing deeply and laughing? Deep breathing and laughter stimulate the vagus nerve, which lowers the heart rate and may reduce stress in other areas of the body including the muscles and gut.

All stressful situations will pass, so your focus can be on how you ride the waves of the current situation. Focus on what you can control, do more of what feels good and less of what doesn’t. Before you know it, you will feel less overwhelmed and feel more grounded and empowered.


Combining over 30 years in the field of self-development, Rod is the CEO of the Certified Coaches Federation, one of the largest coach education companies in the world, and a speaker, coach and author. For more information on the Certified Coaches Federation, visit

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