Fear of the unknown can stop you from doing so many things that鈥檒l help you lead a happy and healthy life, like being vulnerable with your partner, moving somewhere new, or making a leap to change your career path. In any unsettling instance, understanding how to harness the powerful emotion of your uncertainty can be key to pushing forward. Lauren Appio, a licensed psychologist, gave us five surefire strategies you can use each time the unknown leaves you feeling stuck.

1. Let yourself be a beginner. Taking some pressure off yourself first is a good way to ease any anxiety you might have. 鈥淕ive yourself permission to not know everything about how to approach something so you don鈥檛 feel like you need to be an expert or have everything figured out,鈥 Appio suggests. 鈥淲hen you allow yourself to be a beginner, you鈥檒l restore your sense of play, curiosity, and adventure, which usually help you keep moving forward.鈥 How true!

2. Play the story out. 鈥淲hen we鈥檙e uncertain about something, we usually get stuck at the worst part of the story about some feared outcome, and replay that over and over for ourselves,鈥 Appio explains. 鈥淚t鈥檚 usually the part of the story where we are disappointed or humiliated by something we couldn鈥檛 anticipate.鈥 To push past this common pitfall, Appio encourages her clients to play out the worst-case scenarios and imagine themselves coping well. 鈥淭his usually reminds people of their capacity for handling difficult situations, and that the most stressful part of the feared scenario is usually temporary.鈥

3. Focus on what you know to be true. Whether you鈥檙e feeling fearful of a job interview, moving to a new place, or something else, Appio says that it鈥檚 key to focus on the things you know to be true. 鈥淲hen things are uncertain, remembering what you are certain about can be grounding,鈥 she notes. 鈥淲hen things feel completely beyond my control, my personal mantra is, 鈥榃hatever I face, I will face it.鈥欌 Again, her mantra and known truths remind her of times she鈥檚 powered through difficult situations in the past. 鈥淚t鈥檚 powerful because I know I can rely on those same skills and abilities in the future,鈥 she says.

4. Practice gratitude. Noting what you鈥檙e thankful for, such as having the courage or opportunity to grow in important areas in your life, can be key when it comes to squelching scary feelings about the unknown. 鈥淚n a recent TED Talk, psychologist Susan Davis noted that 鈥楧iscomfort is the price of admission for a meaningful life鈥,鈥 Appio points out. 鈥淚f your uncertainty is linked to doing something you care about, like building relationships, trying new things, or advancing your career, channel her wisdom to tap into your gratitude.鈥

5. Engage in Opposite Action. According to Appio, doing something you鈥檙e afraid of can help reduce the intensity of your fear 鈥 and replace it with a positive outcome. 鈥淥pposite Action is a DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) emotion regulation skill that can be used to create new feelings when your current emotion doesn鈥檛 feel particularly helpful,鈥 Appio explains. 鈥淔ear is one of the primary emotions underlying uncertainty, and our inclination is to avoid what we are afraid of (for good reason). But, if you determine that avoidance is not a helpful tactic, you can decide to do the thing that scares you instead.鈥 For example, if you鈥檙e afraid to open up to your boss about what鈥檚 making you feel uncertain and your instinct is to turn away from the problem, you should aim to do the opposite and get a meeting on their calendar to talk about it instead. Use this strategy each time you鈥檙e uncomfortable and you鈥檒l successfully push yourself out of your comfort zone.

How to do you deal with feelings of uncertainty? Tell us on Twitter @BritandCo.

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