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Waiting Well: Tips for Navigating Painful Uncertainty



Waiting for uncertain news can be a source of anxiety and distraction. This paper explores the experience of waiting for news that is both uncertain and unchangeable and provides tips for waiting well under these circumstances. During difficult waiting periods people can mitigate anxiety, reduce disruptive rumination, and minimize later harm by (1) distracting themselves from their uncertainty, (2) managing their expectations, (3) looking for the silver lining in all outcomes, (4) keeping perspective regarding the news, and (5) planning ahead for the objective and psychological consequences of bad news.