Why is uncertainty so stressful?

Stress caused by uncertainty can be paralyzing. The information we are getting about the coronavirus seems to be changing by the hour — creating unprecedented uncertainty. There is a good reason your nerves are jangle, or you are feeling unsettled or anxious. Uncertainty is perceived as unsafe and potentially painful. Whether the situation is predictably positive or predictably negative, your brain prefers something familiar to something unfamiliar. Under stress, our brains depend on instinct rather than rational thought because the part of the brain responsible for critical thinking is busy dealing with the psychological reaction to stress. This reaction not only impedes productivity, but it can also create a paralyzing loop of anxiety. We can’t alleviate all stress, and we wouldn’t want to even if we could. Some stress is natural and necessary; it is what gives us the zing of energy to get things done. The zing is the result of the hormone cortisol flooding the system when the body detects danger or stress. Cortisol quickens reactions, increases pulse and blood pressure, and even thickens the blood (to prevent bleeding to death in case of injury). Trouble comes when that zing becomes a constant thrum, continually triggering the cortisol response rather than allowing it to ebb and flow as we need it. High cortisol levels reduce productivity and limit critical thought. Our hardwired reaction to feeling unsafe is to protect ourselves and avoid pain. One of th...
Source: Embrace Your Heart Wellness Initiative - Category: Cardiology Authors: Tags: Stress Management uncertainty Source Type: blogs

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