intolerance of uncertainty

Intolerance of uncertainty is experienced as a situation in which we impoverish our lives while trying to avoid environments where there is a possibility of experiencing uncertainty, outbursts of anger, a great deal of tension and trouble, and where there is a possibility of uncertainty. Although this state of strain is quite understandable, one of the steps that helps us cope is to intervene in our feelings and ideas that feed intolerance.

More than once, our brain is in search of clarity in order to make sense of what is going on. In fact, he tries to define events by categorizing them in the process of making sense. He makes generalizations. So much so that anything random that it cannot categorize and provide clarity to is a danger signal for our brain. Because it evokes obscurity. Many unknown things, on the other hand, are new and cause uneasiness because they cannot fall into a random category.

The state of fearing the innovations and uncertainties in our lives is actually quite functional evolutionarily. Because the message of fear is to be in a state of alert for possible dangers. When we perceive a higher probability of threat in new and unknown situations than in situations we know and are used to, we become more alert to protect ourselves. One-on-one, in the presence of a new person joining our tribe, we are more wary of that individual than our current acquaintances. Therefore, in such cases, rush is experienced as a protective feeling that serves to take precautions when used functionally.

However, in addition to all this functionality, the term intolerance to ambiguity emerges precisely when the balances here are distorted. In this state of uncertainty, if the thoughts that cross our minds, especially if they include negative opinions and disaster scenarios, we may experience many emotions such as tension, trouble, anger, sadness and helplessness, and we may find it difficult to cope with these feelings. In addition to the uncertainty of the event, the negative intentions that cross our minds and the heavy feelings we feel make it difficult to tolerate this uncertainty. For this reason, we may experience outbursts of anger, a great deal of tension and trouble in situations where there is uncertainty, and we may impoverish our lives while trying to avoid environments where there is a possibility of uncertainty.

While this strain is quite understandable, one of the steps that helps us cope is to intervene in our feelings and intentions that fuel intolerance.

We can benefit from relaxing activities, breathing, relaxation and faithful place training to soothe intense feelings. On the other hand, we can try to turn our negative ideas that are in our minds and reinforce our heavy feelings into realistic and functional ideas. We can try to stay in the grays instead of “thinking in black or white”, which is one of our cognitive distortions, which allows us to evaluate events as completely positive or completely negative. Instead of disaster scenarios or fairy tales, we can nurture ideas that realistically contain all possibilities, that consist of a synthesis of concrete proofs and anti-evidence, and that we see as having a functional benefit on our thinking and our feelings and behaviors.

If we are right-handed and want to strengthen our left arm as much as our right arm, what we would do would be to exercise our left arm as much as our right arm. In other words, we used to expose our left arm to loads to increase the weight lifting capacity of our left arm, right? Right here, that’s one of the things we can do to improve our capacity to tolerate the unknown. In this technique, we aim to consciously expose ourselves to uncertain situations and improve our coping skills. It is precisely in these exposures that we can increase our tolerance. We strengthen our ability to make unrealistic convictions that feed our negative feelings more realistic, to soothe feelings, or to stay away from the heavy negative feelings we sometimes feel. By acknowledging the presence of the feeling, we can allow space for it to come and go like a crashing wave.

When we look at the cluster outside our control area, we may have noticed that we try to control the situations that we cannot control in our lifetime. A few of the valuable questions we can ask ourselves in this situation are, “What is the use of trying to control situations that I can’t control? What could be the disadvantages?”.

Out of Control

Feelings, intentions and behavior of others

Feelings, ideas and wishes that come to our minds

bodily responses



Within the Control Area

Our conversations

Our behavior

Our choices and decisions

Which idea do we believe or not?