Finding Emotional Support in Unstable Times

Finding Emotional Support in Unstable Times

When things go as planned, we feel in control. However, more often than not, life throws us unexpected curveballs, which can leave us anxious, stressed, or panic stricken. Now, maybe more than ever before, the world is facing new levels of crisis. In turn, this can lead to major feelings of overwhelm. One thing in life is sure: uncertainty exists. It’s a given that finding emotional support in unstable times is essential to mental well-being.

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According to the National Institute of Health, uncertainty is the most common trigger for anxiety. The NIH recognizes that “uncertainty about a possible future threat disrupts our ability to avoid or mitigate its negative impact, resulting in anxiety.”

Uncertainty is a “lack of sureness about someone or something.” Its impacts can range from simply not having a lot of immediate security to a cascade of overwhelming general anxiety that leaves us unable to cope on the regular. The lack of stability during hard times diminishes how effectively we can prepare for and navigate the future, perpetuating the cycle of anxiety in our lives.

The Impact of Current Affairs

The American Psychological Association’s Stress in America survey uncovered other common ways that uncertainty increases stress levels. They found that the current state of affairs disheartens most adults in America. Economic strain, government and political divisiveness, resource availability, historic inflation levels, the age of social media, and the constant news cycle of traumatic events negatively impact individuals. A new mental health crisis affecting the healthcare industry has also emerged.

The past few years have given us no shortage of reasons for disquiet. We all react differently to uncertainty. Building resilience to unpredictability can help you navigate the unknown more confidently and peacefully.

Accepting that we will face uncertainty can help prevent us from feeling stressed when things don’t go as planned. Research shows that those with a higher threshold for uncertainty may be more resilient and less prone to negativity or anxiety. That gives us good reason to increase our ability to handle unpredictability.

Finding Emotional Support in Unstable Times

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Due to the new Department of Transportation (DOT) policy, Emotional Support Animals are NO longer allowed to fly in airplane cabins for free. However, Psychiatric Service Dogs are eligible.

Top 10 Tips for Coping with Uncertainty

Since we can’t avoid the unexpected altogether, these simple steps can help you better face the unpredictability of life.

1. Don't Be Too Hard on Yourself

Some people are better at handling uncertainty than others, so don’t feel bad if your tolerance for unpredictability is lower than someone else’s. Remember that it may take some time before the stressful situation resolves, so be patient with yourself. 

2. Reflect on Past Experiences

You have made it through challenging and stressful events in the past—and survived! That alone can help to reassure you this situation will soon pass. yourself credit. Think about how you handled those situations and whether you can apply lessons learned to future challenges.

Finding Emotional Support in Unstable Times

3. Try Something New

In calmer moments, try something new that gets you out of your comfort zone and develops new skills. It could be implementing a new boundary in a relationship or trying a new hobby. Doing so will help you gain experience and improve your skill set. You will also learn some valuable lessons that you can implement the next time that life veers off course

4. Limit Exposure to News Outlets

Compulsively checking the news reports doesn’t serve you well. Constantly being bombarded by bad news can be triggering and lead to further anxiety. Put a limit on how often and at what time of day you check in on the news. Avoid the new outlets during specific times, such as before bedtime. Becoming wound up right before rest can prevent you from sleeping well.

5. Don't Dwell On the Difficulty

Sometimes we can feel like when it rains, it pours. As soon as something goes wrong in the slightest, we tend to think about the worst-case scenario. This is especially true for those who have experienced trauma. It can be a hard habit to break, but taking negative thoughts captive is really important. Stop the cycle cynicism by finding three or four things to express gratitude for. Even when circumstances are looking grim, there are always blessings to be seen. I like to keep a mason jar filled with tiny strips of handwritten notes, each expressing something positive. When I start to feel out of control, I pull one out and take 5 minutes to reflect on it. 

Finding Emotional Support in Unstable Times

6. Take Your Own Advice

We’re often gentler with others than we are with ourselves. Considering how you’d advise a friend in the same situation can provide a huge perspective shift! What would you tell them if a loved one came to you with this concern? Seeing your situation from an outside perspective can give you fresh ideas on how to approach it.

7. Practice Self-Care

Don’t allow anxiety to sabotage your healthy habits. Make an effort to eat well (including staying hydrated), exercise, and get plenty of sleep. Many people discover stress relief through activities, including yoga, meditation, deep breathing, painting, writing, playing music, or whatever else brings joy!

8. Seek Support From a Trusted Source

Many people isolate themselves when experiencing anxiety. However, social support is essential; therefore, seek help from your loved ones. This can look any number of ways, depending upon your situation. It doesn’t matter HOW you choose to reach out. You could call, text, email, drop by, or plan a get togther. No matter how it unfolds, talking to others about what you’re dealing with can make a massive difference. 

Finding Emotional Support in Unstable Times

9. Focus on Things You Can Control

Even simple things such as weekly meal planning or prepping your clothes for the next day can help on a hectic week. Set up routines to give your days some comfort and structure.

10. Get Assistance

If you have tried all of the above and are still having trouble managing, you may need assistance. A Psychologist can help you develop healthy ways to cope with stress. Likewise, an Emotional Support Animal or Psychiatric Service Animal can also provide the support you need. 

What's Next?

The struggles of everyday life can take a substantial toll on your mental health and wellness. Feeling stress and anxiety is universal, but the impact and intensity of these feelings have an extensive range. We all process experiences and negative emotions differently, which means there is no one solution. Thankfully, there are many different treatments options to fit individual needs! Often times, folks find remarkable improvement through the assistance of a companion animal or Psychiatric Service Animal. These animals are more than just pets. They often offer a lifeline to those coping with mental health disabilities (no matter the root cause), enabling them to continue participating in daily life.

The therapeutic effects of Emotional Support Animals have proven to considerably improve their owners’ physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Studies conclude that over 74% of animal owners report an improvement in their psychiatric health because of interactions with their furry companions. Evidence also supports the benefits of ESAs for those with chronic illness. The research records lower anxiety, depression, loneliness, and stress.

Finding Emotional Support in Unstable Times

Unfortunately, some physicians are hesitant to suggest them to their patients, leaving struggling people feeling stuck. Most may not realize they qualify to have a Service Animal or Emotional Support Animal and that help is available outside of their standard medical network. 

You may have never considered how beneficial an animal can be for your mental wellness. Assistance Animals are a source of comfort that is complementary to any wellness plan. Can you imagine having immediate help to ground you as you experience feelings of hopelessness, sadness, anxiety, irrational fears, racing thoughts, or even difficulty sleeping?!

It is easy to determine if you qualify for an Emotional Support Animal or Psychiatric Service Animal. American Service Pets makes it easy to complete the process legitimately. Along with our extensive library of blog articles, we also provide comprehensive training resources delivered right to your digital device.

ESA or PSA Certification?

The benefits of an Emotional Support Animal certification and a Psychiatric Service Dog certification are drastically different. Fortunately for you, American Service Pets’ network of active board certified doctors can help you find the right path to certification. To find out whether you need an ESA or PSD letter, take our easy, three-step Pet Owner Survey!


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Attention: Due to the new Department of Transportation (DOT) policy, Emotional Support Animals are NO longer allowed to fly in airplane cabins for free. However, Psychiatric Service Dogs are eligible. Click here to see if you qualify.