Intolerance of Uncertainty

The COVID-19 crisis is characterized by a lot of uncertainty. There's a lot of things we don't know and can't predict. How long will the lockdown last, and in what form? Have I had the virus? What if I become sick? What will life look like in half a year? There are many questions, but not many answers.

This taps into something that research has described as people's (in-)tolerance of uncertainty. One of our volunteers is Marcelo Malbec, a clinical psychologist from Chile who studies this concept. He wrote this document, explaining how it works, and how you might cope with this situation.

Worry and stress management

Uncertainty brings about worry and stress. Fortunately, it's something that psychologists have been studying and treating effectively for decades. At the start of the corona crisis, psychologists Hardeep Kaur and Matthew Whalley teamed up to create a psychological toolkit, with information about what worrying is, and what you can do to cope when it's getting out of control. You can find this helpful document on the website, and it's available in over 20 languages!

Another way to address negative thoughts and feelings, is by identifying any cognitive distortions that you might be unaware of. We all fall prey to those every now and then. Do you maybe sometimes tend to see the negative side of events or find yourself focused on all the possible negative outcomes, disregarding the positive ones? You might be experiencing the results of a negative mental filter. Do you ever tell yourself "I should have just...", or think that others "Ought to ..."? Using a lot of "should-statements" might mean you are overly critical of yourself or other people. These kinds of cognitive distortions create a lot of tension and negativity and becoming aware of them is the first step towards solving them.

Social connection while social distancing

Relationship therapist Esther Perel writes wonderful blogs, makes podcasts and uploads videos on YouTube on relationships, both at work and at home, and has been addressing how the COVID-19 crisis might influence those and what you can do to prevent the situation from getting between you and your loved ones. Check out her website for tips, information and inspiration.