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audio meditations

Coping with Uncertainty Meditation

When you're feeling anxious or afraid about the future, this mindfulness meditation can help you find peace in the present moment.

  1. Coping With Uncertainty HelpGuide 8:56

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When we’re facing uncertainty, it can trigger feelings of anxiety, fear, and stress. But no matter how much time we spend worrying or strategizing, we can't predict the future or control what happens. That's where mindfulness comes in. It can help us reconnect to the present moment, interrupt the worries and worst case scenarios running through our minds, and become more comfortable with uncertainty.

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Transcript

Hello, my name is Chris Saranchock. Welcome to a HelpGuide meditation on coping with uncertainty and the anxiety it can bring.

Let’s start by finding a comfortable position. Sitting upright, with your spine straight and tall. Arms resting at your sides or gently folded in your lap. Make sure your chest is open, so your breathing is free and unrestricted.

(pause to give them time to adjust)

Then when you’re ready – close your eyes.

Turn your attention to your breath. Noticing its rhythm… how your chest and belly rise and fall as you breathe in and out. Not trying to control it. Just allowing yourself to breathe naturally.

Feel the coolness as you inhale through the nostrils… and the warmth of the breath as you exhale through your mouth…

Just keep breathing… in… and out…

(give at least a full minute for breathing)

As you continue to breathe, expand your awareness to your whole body.

When we’re feeling uncertain, it tends to trigger feelings of anxiety, fear, and stress. And these emotions aren’t just experienced in your mind… they’re felt in the body. But if you’re not paying attention, you may not even notice them.

So take a moment to check in with your body.

Do you feel any tension or tightness? Maybe in your jaw? Your neck? Your shoulders?

On each exhale, see if you can relax those areas.

Unclench your jaw. Let your face and neck soften. Drop your shoulders.

Just let gravity take over. Allowing your body to become heavy and to sink deeper into your chair or cushion.

Now turn your attention once again to your breath. Not trying to force anything. Just noticing it and how it feels. Letting it ground you in the present moment.

(time to breathe)

As you’re breathing, you may find that your mind drifts away from the present to things you’re worried about in the future. To uncertainties and “what ifs”…

When that happens, that’s okay. Just acknowledge them without judging or analyzing… and then let them go… gently bringing your attention back to your breath.

(time to breathe)

Sometimes, the thoughts or emotions that arise may be really strong. You get caught up and start to spin out into anxiety.

When that happens—when feelings of powerlessness or anxiety over life’s uncertainties pull you away from your breath—that’s okay too.

It’s in those moments right after we’ve been distracted that the most important mindfulness work happens. That’s when we practice letting go. We release whatever has taken us away and we guide our attention back to the breath.

(short time to breathe)

You may find it helpful to visualize your uncertainties as a cloud. Accept them as a temporary part of your sky. And then imagine them drift away.

Gently bringing your attention back to the breath… and the present moment. Letting yourself rest in the rhythm of the breath.

(give several minutes to breathe)

This practice of letting go is something you can bring to your everyday life. When you start to feel anxious about the future, remind yourself that you’re not a fortune teller. None of us have a crystal ball.

We can’t control life’s uncertainties, no matter how much time we spend worrying or strategizing. So whenever you find yourself trying to predict the unpredictable, do your best to switch your attention back to what’s happening right now.

When you’re fully connected to the present, you can interrupt the fears and worries running through your mind.

The key is to live in the moment. Live in the breath.

And now, when you’re ready. Gently open your eyes.

Last updated: October 24, 2022