Coping With Uncertainty During COVID-19

Thoughts on how HSPs can cope with uncertainty in the midst of COVID-19.

Posted Jul 20, 2020

I do not have to tell HSPs that we are now mired in personal and global uncertainty, because we hate uncertainty. We always process decisions deeply (e.g., struggle), and it’s hardest when there are so many uncertainties and future influences that we can think of all too well but cannot control.

Right now, almost everything requires our depth of processing. How much risk to take? Should I enter into this activity, situation, store, visit with a friend—or stay safe? What about my mask—is it right or do I need a better one? How will this affect me financially? What should I do about that part of it? What information should I trust? What supplements or foods should I increase now? Should I avoid grandchildren, elderly parents, or friends who want to get together and say it will be safe? Should I get that overdue medical exam or check out this health problem, or not? Should I send my desperately restless, hungry-for-learning-and-friends child back to school? When there is a vaccine, how safe will it be? Floating over it all: How long will this go on? Will I or someone I love get it? Will I/they be permanently damaged by it? Will I/they die from it?

I have written before about making decisions if you are an HSP, but so much of what I wrote does not apply here, such as looking for how you could undo your decision if it turns out to be wrong, or appreciate that a wrong decision will not be bad in the long run. With COVID-19, you cannot undo most decisions if wrong, and I don’t have to tell you that a single wrong one could be very bad. Eeks.

Here is my admittedly feeble advice. First, view this tsunami of uncertainty as an opportunity to develop your skill and tolerance. If we HSPs struggle with uncertainty, face into it, become an expert at riding it out. Use what you know as of now, apply some intuition about the situation, and act.

Next step: Listen to that old guy Buddha. Change is the essence of the relative. Everything around us is impermanent and so are we. If you cling to now, or to the pre-COVID past, you are going to be unhappy. Stay as safe as you can, of course, but be a Buddha about it too.

Accept that the human brain also changes, daily. Sometimes being Buddha-like is totally impossible. Clinging to your best moods, happy self, or wise ego will not work. No matter how much you try to train yourself, you will not be at your best every day. That does not mean you should not do all you can to stay peaceful—meditate, spend time with nature, avoid over-stimulation, stay rested, get the social contact and support you need, but above all, remember that no feeling lasts forever. Be patient and kind to yourself when you can’t regulate your feelings.

Buddha, Christ, Lao Tzu, Rumi, and many others said that the solution to the changing nature of everything is to open to the unchanging, which is beyond all names or descriptors, yet hidden in everything like the sap in the trees, and with the right instruction easily found within you also, as your underlying, unchanging state of consciousness-by-itself. Your experience of the “kingdom of God is within you,” if you like.

Define what for you is unchanging. (Hint, this is probably ultimately a spiritual answer!) Stay with your unchanging as much as you can. That will not be always. But knowing it is there and touching base with it when you think to will really help.

By the way, I am pretty sure we HSPs and those close to us will account for a high number of those who do not catch the virus! We come with instincts (think of them: D.O.E.S.) perfectly designed for surviving this kind of threat.