Anxiety

Uncertain Future

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An uncertain future negatively affects the quality of the present because when things are up in the air painful existential anxiety is produced. For many of us, not knowing how the situation is going to turn out is more distressing than knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt that some unwanted result will come to pass, which is of course insane when considered from a logical perspective but not so insane when we realize that to us what matters most is whether our subjective experience is clouded by anxiety or anchored by certainty.

It doesn’t matter so much to the psyche whether a certain future is perceived to be positive or negative, wanted or unwanted, at least in the sense that in either of these cases there’s little anxiety to deal with. So what we have to remember is that the presence of anxiety is not in and of itself an indicator that the future will be bad and unwanted just as the absence of anxiety is not in and of itself and indicator that the future will be good and wanted.

This insight can help us enjoy the present a little more when it’s being negatively affected by an uncertain future. We can name our discomfort for what it is, which is existential anxiety. We can consciously remind ourselves that our anxiety is actually a proof that things might turn out well, and just as importantly we can remind ourselves that at least for right now we’re still okay.

Greetings I'm Michael, the owner of Evolution Counseling and the author of all the articles on this site. I got my master's degree from Seattle University in community mental heath counseling and have committed myself to advancing my knowledge of psychology and my own theoretical system ever since. The content here represents my personal evolution of thought. I've also become a big fan of photography and I take all the pictures you'll see at the top of articles. We don't advertise to get traffic so this site's increasing popularity is grassroots, it's based on you and people like you deciding for yourselves that these articles are a good source for psychological insight and that they're worth sharing with others.