You don’t need to be a mountaineer to be familiar with uncertainty. We all deal with it in our professional and personal lives, especially during these times of pandemics, wars, economic turmoil, and a never-ending negative news cycle.

It’s human nature to dislike uncertainty—and actually prefer something bad (but certain) to happen. Case in point: a 2016 University of London study1 published in Nature found participants displayed less stress when they knew a bad outcome was coming (in this case, an electric shock) than when they were uncertain whether or not the shock would come. In test after test, the researchers found that any element of unpredictability significantly increased people’s discomfort.

The higher the uncertainty, the more energy our brain spends trying to resolve it2, and thus the more stress we feel.

Another study on uncertainty found that when securities traders were under stress, their thinking tended to become slow and impaired. The more urgent the response needed, the greater the impairment.

When we face the unknown, we become more risk-averse and slower in taking action. This is not sustainable. Clearly, we need to develop healthier ways of dealing with uncertainty and managing our discomfort around it.

 


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Harmony Evans is an award-winning author of Harlequin Kimani Romance, African-American romance, and so on. Harmony Evans is an award-winning author for Harlequin Kimani Romance, the leading publisher of African-American romance. Her 2nd novel, STEALING KISSES, will be released in November 2013. Harmony is a single mom to a beautiful, too-smart-for-her-own-good daughter, who makes her grateful for life daily. Her hobbies include cooking, baking, knitting, reading, and of course, napping and also review some of the best-selling and popular brands and services in the market and also write comprehensive blogs.

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