Cope with Uncertainty when Making Decisions

Even the simplest decision has some level of uncertainty. That’s what makes it a decision. So it is no surprise that most of us spend time searching for certainty before we need to decide something. We may Google information, poll friends, or make pro/con list, hoping that we find the “correct” answer.  


Interestingly, searching for one “correct” answer to a decision may not help us feel more confident to decide. Instead, it can help to pause and acknowledge that sometimes it is difficult to make decision when things are uncertain. Often the “correct” answer is really just the one that we are most comfortable with or is best for us with the information that we have 

In today’s Wellness Wednesday, we try a strategy to help us cope with uncertainty when making decisions. 


Try this: 

As a class, group, or family:  

  • Start by discussing the Acknowledge-Validate-Permit strategy. In this strategy, you will first notice and acknowledge what you are feeling, then validate the feeling by telling yourself why the emotion makes sense, and finally permit and allow yourself to feel what you are feeling.  
  • Here are some examples of the Acknowledge-Validate-Permit strategy in action:  
  • “I notice that I am feeling worried as I try to make this decision. It makes sense to feel worried because I have limited information. It is OK to feel worried about this decision.” 
  • “I feel anxious right now about making this choice. It makes sense that I feel anxious because there is no right answer. I am allowed to feel anxious about this choice.”  
  • “I can tell that I feel overwhelmed by the options for this decision. It makes sense to feel overwhelmed because there is so much uncertainty. Feeling overwhelmed about this decision is valid.” 
  • Next, think about a time when making a decision made you feel anxious, overwhelmed, worried, frustrated, etc.  Share some examples with each other.  
  • Together, choose one of the examples and try the Acknowledge-Validate-Permit strategy 
  • Finally, when you do make the decision, be sure to take three big breaths and remind yourself: “I am making the best decision I can with the information I have available. There is no right answer. I can cope with this.”  


Ask yourself, there is no wrong answer 

How do you think this strategy could work in your life?  What would change in your decision-making process 


Connecting to our faith 

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7) 


Further Learning:  

  • Adult Book: Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman Ph.D and Joan Declaire 
  • Children’s Book: “The Choices I Make” by Michael Gordon 


Employees of LDCSB check out WorkLifeHealth from EAP Provider Morneau Sheppell 



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