Ambiguity intolerance is the tendency to perceive uncertain situations as threatening.
It makes sense – the unknown is scary. But some people have a harder time dealing with it than others. And these people are more likely to suffer anxiety and depression, especially when faced with a particularly difficult stressor.
Uncertainty and Food
I believe that many disordered eaters suffer from ambiguity intolerance.
Have you ever turned to food to flood your brains with feel-good chemicals in order to avoid feelings of panic? Have you ever done this – even though nothing was wrong in that particular moment?
Fostering a Taste for Uncertainty
If you find yourself threatened by the unknown, fostering a healthier relationship with uncertainty might do wonders to decrease your anxiety.
Who knows, you might even develop a taste for uncertainty. This time next year you could be reading this post while wrestling a shark.
Here are a few tips:
- Focus on this hour, this minute, and this day. It’s only natural to feel overwhelmed by the whole entire future. Bring yourself into the present by focusing on what you can do right now. I know this is easier said than done. But try.
- Do things that scare you. You have to actively do things that scare you. It sucks, but you’ll (most likely) live. Last year, I jumped out of a freaking airplane! It was the worst thing ever.
- Improve a skill. Some people feel anxious because they have an overall feeling of never being good enough. But everyone is good at something. Take something you’re good at and get great at it. Your feelings of pride will spill over into every day life. See my post on pursuing your weird hobbies.
- Achieve a behavioral goal. Set a small behavioral goal for yourself, and achieve it. Like number three above, the good feelings will spill over into your every day life making you feel less anxious in general. You’ll also see that things aren’t so hard when you take them one step at a time. Example: I will go to the gym every Tuesday and Thursday for the next two weeks.
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