How can I cope with my feelings about the future?

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How are you feeling about the future? Here, Kids Help Phone shares tips on how you can cope with uncertainties and help shape what your future may look like.

Thinking about the future can bring up different feelings for people. Wondering about things like relationships, community, health, school, work, family and the environment can be a lot to process. There’s also an abundance of information out there, (e.g. about climate change and what the world/environment may look like in the future, etc.) and it can be hard to make sense of it all. When thinking about the future, some people may experience feelings of:

While all of these emotions and more are normal, it’s common to feel a little uneasy about what could happen next. If you’re struggling with your feelings about the future, here are some things you can do right now to cope:

  • Breathe deep: breathing exercises can help your body relax and your mind focus on one thing at a time. Try taking slow, deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  • Ground yourself: grounding techniques can help you regain control of your mind and body by using your senses to feel more connected to what’s around you right now. Focus on what you can see, touch, hear, taste and/or smell.
  • Fact check: if the news is stressing you out, you can do a little extra digging into the stories, just to make sure what you’re worried about is true and accurate. You can read up on media literacy to help you sort out what’s real and what’s not.
  • Try a digital detox: sometimes, it can help to unplug from your devices and limit your screen time for a while. And if you do use things like social media, consider only interacting with accounts you feel enrich your life.
  • Head outside: try going for a walk or spending time in a green space to (re)connect with nature and the land. (You could even try a sport or other activity while you’re out there to get some feel-good exercise.)
  • Focus on the present: drawing your attention to the here and now and taking things one day, one hour or even one minute at a time can help. Try to focus on what you can control/change and less on what’s out of your hands.
  • Make a list: if you’re feeling overwhelmed, try looking at the different areas of the future that are bugging you. Write these things down in a list, and brainstorm what you can do now to make the future a little less scary. (For example, if you’re concerned about what to do after high school, make a note to talk to the guidance counsellor at your school.)
  • Take action: looking for ways you can give back and make the future brighter can also help to boost your mood. You can check with your school, community group or another local organization to see if they have an initiative you can participate in (or start your own if they don’t!). Activities could include raising money for a cause you’re passionate about, sending letters of support and following leaders online.
  • Talk it out: sharing your feelings with someone you trust (e.g. a friend, Elder, parent/caregiver, counsellor, etc.) can help you release stress and feel heard. The person you talk to may also be able to help you decide on ways to cope with uneasiness and make a plan for the future together.
  • Be kind to yourself: it’s important to show yourself love, kindness and compassion (a.k.a. self-care). You can do this by giving yourself an encouraging word or doing something you enjoy. Take a break to play a game, read a book, try arts and crafts or do anything else that makes you feel good.

Everyone has fears, dreams, hopes and questions about their futures. It’s good to know there are things you can do to cope with how you’re feeling and take care of your mental and emotional health. Remember, you can always talk to a friend, teacher, parent/caregiver, counsellor or anyone else you trust for support.