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  • Jacqui Snooks

Managing Worry in an Uncertain World

In times of uncertainty, it is important to remember there are strategies we can use to help manage our worries. One of those is to break down our concerns into ‘real problem’ worries and ‘hypothetical’ worries. ‘Real problem worries’ are about actual problems affecting you right now, whereas ‘hypothetical worries’are about things that do not currently exist, but which might happen in the future.

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‘Real problem worries’ usually concern needs such as helping getting the children to school when you are sick, or having enough food in the fridge when times are tough. ‘Hypothetical worries’ are about things which do not currently exist, but which may occur in the future.

The pandemic has given us cause to catastrophise perhaps more than we are used to. For example, you may be young and healthy, but find yourself worrying about ending up in hospital on a ventilator. Alternatively, you may find yourself worrying about losing your job and ending up destitute despite evidence to the contrary.

People who are bothered by worry often experience it as uncontrollable, time consuming, and sometimes believe that it is beneficial to engage in worry when it occurs. Experimenting with postponing your worries – deliberately setting aside some time in your day to do nothing but worry and limiting the time you spend worrying – is a helpful way of exploring your relationship with worry.

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It is also helpful to remember that, when the future is uncertain, we can take control of small aspects of our daily lives. We can take care of ourselves with regards to diet, exercise, and managing small, achievable goals which align with our values. Taking control can also include decisions around vaccinations, hygiene management and mask

wearing. As well as this, you might take the time to learn mindfulness skills, find an online exercise class or explore a new, creative project. Taking control of the things we can control can be very reassuring.

But certainly, if you are feeling overwhelmed, and trying new tips on your own doesn’t quite work, maybe it’s time to reach out to a trained professional to help work through some of your concerns?

Jacqui Snooks is a registered counsellor and psychotherapist and director of Haven Counselling and Psychotherapy in Mornington. For more information please visit:

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