Our perception of the world may be that it’s a scary place, and many times it is. The uncertainty of the future feels overwhelming if we don’t cope with these feelings in healthy ways. Let’s take a look at what can make the future seem frightening and how to handle it.
1. Go on a News Vacation
When something scary happens around the world, such as a terrorist attack or a violent murder, it’s broadcast almost instantly. The internet, streaming services, television, smartphone apps and radio can deliver the news to our doorstep 24/7. If we don’t shut off the media valves from time to time, the future can start to look frightening.
A simple way to cope is to shut down the news flow periodically.1 You don’t always have to be in touch with what’s going on. You deserve a break, so either take some time throughout your day to give yourself a “news vacation” or avoid the news completely for a whole weekend—or longer.
2. Don’t Focus on What You Can’t Change
There are real events that make us feel that the world is a scary place. Tragedies and catastrophes can stir up feelings of powerlessness. When we feel powerless, we worry. Thoughts like “What if that happened to me?” can pop into our heads. While some worry can motivate us to act on things we can control, worrying about things we can’t control makes us feel more scared.
Be selective and critical when picking what you decide is scary. Avoid thinking about things that you can’t control. Concentrate more on the things you can control. This empowerment boosts your confidence as you successfully change the things you can, while ignoring those you can’t.
3. Practice Mindfulness
On a more personal level, the future may seem scary when you’re having difficulty finding a job or picking the right college. Since you feel like you’re on unstable footing, the future feels overwhelming.
It’s okay to question the next stage of life, but not to be consumed by that uncertainty. Spend time reflecting. Mindfulness gives you a clearer head and an increased ability to make sound decisions.
4. Think Positively
Your thoughts about the future aren’t reality—they are simply your thoughts.2 Thinking that the future is scary is only going to make you feel fearful now. The reality of the future may be much different. Since you don’t know what the future will bring, think positive and hope for the best. It saves you from wasting energy on worry and fear now, and now is only moment we have.
5. Reach Out for Help
If frightening thoughts are dominating your thinking and you’re finding it hard to control your feelings, reach out for help. Talk to a therapist or counselor about what you’re experiencing. A trained professional can help you identify healthier ways of thinking and behaving to help reduce stress and anxiety.