Combatting the Worry of Not Knowing – Five Tips

Doubting? Worried? Not Certain? All are nature’s way of telling us to think carefully. But like many of nature’s way thinking can overwhelm.

Rilke quote about not knowing.

This post was inspired by a fellow blogger Janet who writes about her son’s OCD.  You can read the blog post that inspired me here. It talks about healthy versus unhealthy doubts. I found the following thoughts  most helpful:

In his book When in Doubt, Make Belief, author Jeff Bell discusses healthy (intellect-based) doubt vs. unhealthy (fear-based) doubt…. he talks about the five questions he asks himself to help determine the source of his doubt:

  1. Does this doubt evoke far more anxiety than either curiosity or prudent caution?
  2. Does this doubt pose a series of increasingly distressing “what if” questions?
  3. Does this doubt rely on logic-defying and/or black-and-white assumptions?
  4. Does this doubt prompt a strong urge to act — or avoid acting — in a fashion others might perceive as excessive, in order to reduce the anxiety it creates?
  5. Would you be embarrassed or frightened to explain your “what if” questions to a police officer or work supervisor?

If you answer “yes” to these questions, there’s a strong chance you are dealing with unhealthy doubt.

In thinking about doubt I also found this quote by Walt Whitman, “I like the scientific spirit—the holding off, the being sure but not too sure, the willingness to surrender ideas when the evidence is against them: this is ultimately fine—it always keeps the way beyond open—always gives life, thought, affection, the whole man, a chance to try over again after a mistake—after a wrong guess.

And then there was this more pungent one by Bertram Russell applicable today, but  written many years ago, “The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.”

We need certainty in our every day lives.  Imagine trying to walk across a floor that was always shifting from solid to quicksand. We would be immobilized. And that of course is what happens when doubt controls us. What to do?.

Emotional Fitness Training Tips

Emotional Fitness Tip One: Do a quick rating of what is worth worrying about.  That is essential the purpose of  Jeff Bell’s questions. However, I think the most important question to be asked involves safety.  This can be quickly rated on a three-point scale: one = no danger; two =no life-threatening danger; three = lots of danger to life or limb.

Emotional Fitness Tip Two:  When danger to life or limb is not present, take action.  Fear wants you to run away. Do anything but. By taking another action you are doing something and doing almost but avoiding what is feared  a combats fear and worry.

Emotional Fitness Tip Three:  Practice and think  good enough, avoid perfectionsism. 

Emotional Fitness Tip Four: Use Sloganeering to silence worrying’s voice.

A Poster Coach about Calming Self Talk

Emotional Fitness Tip Five: Beef up your other self-soothing skills. And yes think about buying my eBook, Self-soothing to Create Calm in Your Life. 


All children will benefit from efforts to improve their critical thinking.

Love that your pre-schooler believes in Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Tinkerbell.  I didn’t as I remember how betrayed I felt when I finally discovered not one was in fact a living, breathing entity. What to do:

Don’t worry about taking away the fun. Just label it as a “Fun Idea” or “A Myth.” Your kids will enjoy the fun just as much, but you will be preparing for the day, they start to wonder more.

Also use books, and toys and media to start labeling stuff as “Play” or “Make Believe”.


Please rate this material. Doing so helps me. This is what your stars will mean to me. No stars – Not helpful. One star – Reinforced my knowledge. Two Stars – New information. Three stars – New useful information; Four stars – Very good. Five stars – Excellent. Also if you did not find it helpful, tell me what might have made it more useful.

Finally remember sharing is caring. and an act of kindness. Share this post if you found it useful.

Thank you and work at staying strong until next time.  I work on doing that all the time.


This post relates to WordPress’s Daily Prompt  Express Yourself Do you love to dance, sing, write, sculpt, paint, or debate? What’s your favorite way to express yourself, creatively?

My answer: Writing, blogging, sharing knowledge. Creativity is an Emotional Fitness Exercise.


These links are for those not familiar with Emotional Intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness.

Emotional Intelligence (
The five components of Emotional Intelligence (
Twelve Easy Emotional Fitness Exercises (



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