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Coping With Uncertainty In Today’s World

Avatar for Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: December 16, 2020
Coping With Uncertainty In Today’s World

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Every afternoon as I sit down with an extra large cup of espresso, I ponder something to write about next on Backdoor Survival.  It is difficult, but not for the reason you might think.  The difficult part is coming up with something new and fresh that has not been written here before.

I say that because in that last three years, I have written over 570 articles.  A lot the articles have been about prepping and self sufficiency but a large number have also been about more touchy-feely topics as I talk about life and getting by during hard – and soon-to-be harder – times.

Man Worried About Money

Today is one of those days as I muse about coping skills as they relate to the fear that can well up as we go about hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.  I don’t know about you, but as hard as I try to stay above it all, there are days when the burden of truth and knowledge is all too much and a teeny tiny bit of fear sets it.

What Do You Fear?

Let’s be honest with ourselves.  Fear is something that every human and most animals will experience at some time or another.  It is that feeling of anxiety we get when the outcome of something threatens our well-being and safety.

There is a reason that the cliché “Be Prepared, Not Scared” is so popular.  Fear, or being scared, is a natural response to an unknown predator, real or imagined, tangible or not.  The good news is that fear can promote survival and thus with our prepping, we move beyond fear to survival.  And isn’t that the goal, after all?

In today’s 21st century world, there is a lot of fear.  It comes in many guises and is almost palpable:

  • Fear of a natural disaster
  • Fear of economic collapse
  • Fear of government surveillance
  • Fear that our precious life savings will be confiscated to pay off the national debt
  • Fear of looters and thugs stealing our stuff and threatening bodily harm
  • Fear of a massive food crisis and starvation
  • Fear of nuclear or chemical contamination
  • Fear of a terrorist attack
  • Fear of unemployment
  • Fear of getting sickness and old age
  • Fear of the next Great Depression

Without question, these are uncertain times and sadly enough, not much has changed in this regard during the past three or four years.  If anything, they have gotten worse as more and more of the power elite anoint themselves with benefits as the rest of us worry about making ends meet and securing the barest amount healthcare at a grossly inflated cost.

So how does one cope?  How does one get by from one day to the next when challenged by uncertainties and concern for the personal welfare of one’s self and one’s family?

I have some ideas about that and wish to offer my own 10 tips for staying sane in a world where there are more questions than answers.

Ten Tips for Conquering Fear in Uncertain Times

1.  Knowledge is king

If something scares you, do your research and learn as much as you can so that you can understand the whys and wherefores.  Be curious and embrace your new found knowledge.  Here is an example:  I used to have a fear of flying in airplanes.  In order to conquer that fear, I studied the aerodynamics of planes so that, in simple terms, I realized that even in turbulent conditions, the aircraft could fly.

2.  Appreciate the moment

Many fears are based on things that you have no control over.  That is not likely to change unless you are connected in some way to a supreme being.  So, instead of fretting about things you can not control, appreciate and embrace those things you can.  Appreciate the moment and your ability to exercise free will.  And whatever you do, don’t look back and browbeat yourself over the past.  What is done is done.  Move on and live in the moment.

3.  Live with a passion

Even those on a limited budget can find something they love to do whether it is gardening, reading, hiking, watching movies or something else.  Whatever your passion, pursue it with gusto and embrace your passion whenever fear strikes you to the bone.  Hobbies can be a wonderful panacea for setting fear aside and taking your mind off the woes of the world.

4.  Communicate with nature

These are tough times for our planet and yet there is still a wondrous beauty in every sunset, in every lake and stream, and in glorious, snow-capped mountains.  Get out there and enjoy the birds singing, the rippling waves, and the smell of fresh air.  You will feel a lot better for the experience.

5.  Surround yourself with love

Coping with day to day drama is a lot easier if you have someone share your concerns and fears. Everyone needs to be hugged and to give a hug in return. Do not discount the miracle of a light touch when it comes to reducing stress.

6.  Get a pet

The great thing about pets, and especially dogs and cats, is that they love you unconditionally.  They sense your frustration and your fear and will cuddle up to you at just the right moment.  They will lick the tears from your face when you are sad and will and provide you with companionship when there is no one around.

7.  Count your blessings

When times are bad and you think they are going to get worse, count your blessings.  Yes, at the time you may think those blessings are few, but if you can come up with five or six – or heck – even one – wrap yourself in it and make that blessing your focus.  Take your blessings and use them as a springboard for optimism going forward.

8.  Exercise and maintain good health

A strong and healthy body goes a long way toward making you feel positive about life, even in the face of dissension and chaos.  One of the best ways to maintain good health is to exercise and maintain the proper weight for your height and build.  Get yourself a pair of athletic shoes or hiking boots and get walking.  Overweight?  Try the Paleo Diet, Dukan Diet, The 4-Hour Body or one of the many other weight loss regimes out there.  Your self-image will improve as you get fit and a great self-image will make facing uncertainties a lot easier.

9.  Enjoy the journey

The uncertainties we face in the 21st century are truly frightening and in many respects we as individuals feel impotent and powerless to affect change.  Instead of succumbing to fear, turn the frightening event or circumstance into an adventure.  Become educated (see #1) then figure out a way to do something – anything – to proactively overcome your anxiety.  Taking even a modicum of control will alleviate fear.  And for heavens sake, as you take control, enjoy the journey!

10.  Hope for the best, prepare for the worst

You knew this was coming, right?

Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.  Hope is  the belief that circumstances in the future will be better.  Recognize that there will be times when hope may seem impossible.  When that happens, consciously work on your personal mindset for without hope, there will be no future.  Even the gloom and doom in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road ended in a message of hope.

The corollary is to be prepared.  Prepare your home and prepared your family.  Assume that you will stay put – or Bug In – if the worst happens.  That said, you still need to have a Bug-Out-Bag ready for each member of your family just in case you have to evacuate and leave the familiar surroundings of your home.

Store some extra food and water.  Gather all of your important documents and make copies or put them on a flash drive for safekeeping. Have an emergency radio and some basic supplies such as a good knife, flashlights, fire starter and extra clothing.  For many, it will also be important to have a Bible.

The Final Word

By being prepared, you take control over an uncertain future.  You will be as ready as humanly possible and if the stuff hits the fan, you will be secure in the knowledge that you have done the very best that you can to survive.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


If you have not done so already, please be sure to like Backdoor Survival on Facebook to be updated every time there is an awesome new article, news byte, or free survival, prepping or homesteading book on Amazon. 

In addition, when you sign up to receive email updates you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

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Cormac McCarthy’s The Road: If you have not seen the movie or read the book, check out Cormac McCormick’s The Road (movie) or The Road (book).  Here is a link to my review:  Lessons from Cormac McCarthy’s THE ROAD.

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17 Responses to “Coping With Uncertainty In Today’s World”

    • I hear you. If you are lucky (like me) you have a spouse or partner to help with the reminders and to share the burden. A hug always helps, too ad dare I say it? A good cry.

  1. yes, that’s the dark side of being a prepper, isn’t it? especially when one is alone. but just saying (or writing) “yeah, guys, i’m scared too” can be a great comfort to your fellow dwellers in reality. i think you do a pretty fine job of finding topics, but if you ever do really come up dry, you can always rerun this article! believe me, there will be many readers who needed just that honesty and down-to-earth advice at that moment. thanks.

  2. For someone who was struggling for a post subject, you done good girl! I enjoyed this advice a lot. Never say ‘I can’t’ until you at least try. I was petrified of chain saws years ago, but after I moved to my current location, I HAD to try. {no one was knocking on my door asking to help, lol!} I started small with a little electric jobby, and worked my way up. Now I am very cautious, but confident in my ability to drop trees and cut them up for firewood. Baby steps! I DO need to work on #8….UGH!

    • Now you see, #8 is really one of the easiest for me. Just goes to show you that we each have different strengths and weaknesses. Makes things interesting sometimes 🙂

  3. And just remember…its all God’s play or drama. We are all here for just a little while– regardless what happens in the future. Our role is just to do the best we can and leave the rest in God’s hands.

  4. Yeah, I hear what you’re saying… my daughter’s credit card is maxed out… she’s still trying to get a nursing degree before TSHTF and needs the credit card to pay for school tuition! Recently, she had car problems and since I could no longer live in my car because of the heat (100 degrees!) I came to her place to join forces, helping her with her expenses. It’s hard to imagine things getting worse, but that, of course, is in the forecaste! : (

    How do we cope? We meditate and pray. We also excercise a lot– weights and cardio– and are real careful about what we eat. And, of course, prepare, prepare, prepare!

  5. I simply do what I can for others by volunteering to things I CAN do…. Otherwise I carry on life the best way I know how….

  6. Good advice, Gaye.
    Fear is the enemy that has the power to destroy our lives. Overcoming fear is not just important for our future survival, but it is vital if we want to enjoy life – right now!
    Fear takes many forms: Mistakes we’ve made in the past make us fearful of repeating them. But we can’t change the past.
    We can prepare for the future, but we really can’t predict it. Fear of the future can take away the pleasure that is available to us in the present.
    Fear creates stress, the greatest contributor to most fatal illnesses.
    Knowledge is power. The more you know, the less fearful you will be.
    Gain knowledge, prepare for the future, and then…STOP WORRYING and enjoy life in this moment while you can!
    The past is a memory, the future a dream. Every moment is a gift – that’s why it’s called the present.

    • Paul – Giving up the worrying is so very difficult for me personally and the stress never really goes away 100%. Still, I totally agree that every moment is a gift – a gift that is a “use or lose” proposition. And so I cope and do my best to overcome hopelessness and stay focused on a positive future – if not for this generation, then the next.

      Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

  7. It is all easy to say but the truth, none of this is really going to help. We the people are helpless as to what governments are doing to the people of the world. When it all comes down, you will comply, if you fight, you will be taken or you take the path, “I will not be taken alive”!! If you fight the MSM will brand you the enemy. Live with it, you MUST draw that line in the sand and do not let the government cross that line. Join the 3%. Live free or die.

    • N.H motto…..:+). The govt. , I think , doesn’t care how brave we are. They just as soon eliminate us like a bothersome bug, then praise us for our courage. I’m not trying to be a gloomy gus, it’s just how I see it We are so out of their realm……and we are so sheepish.

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