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Six steps to help officers deal with uncertainty at their job

May 18, 2023  By Stan Popovich

Almost everyone in law enforcement deals with the fear of uncertainty at their job. The prospect of not knowing if something good or bad will happen can produce a lot of fear and anxiety. As a result, officers may need help and/or advice on how to deal with the fear of the unknown when it comes to their job.

1. Take it one day at a time.Instead of worrying about how you will get through the rest of the week or the coming months, try to focus on today. Each day can provide us with different opportunities to learn new things, and that includes learning how to deal with your problems. When the time comes, hopefully you will have learned the skills to deal with any situation.

2. Take a break. Take a deep breath and try to find something to do to get your mind off your anxieties and stresses. You could take a walk, listen to some music, read the newspaper, watch television, play on a computer, or do an activity that will give you a fresh perspective on things. This will distract you from your current worries.

3. Challenge your negative thinking with positive statements and realistic thinking.When encountering thoughts that make you fearful or depressed, challenge those thoughts by asking yourself questions that will maintain objectivity and common sense. Focus on the reality of your situation and not on your thoughts.


It is impossible to predict every detail of any potential scenario.

4. Worrying can make the problem worse.All the worrying in the world will not make a difference. All you can do is do your best each day, hope for the best, and when something does happen, take it in stride. If you still have trouble dealing with the fear of the future, then talking to a counsellor or clergyman can be of great help.

5. No one can predict the future with 100 per cent certainty. Even if the thing that you fear does happen, there are circumstances and factors that you can’t predict which can be used to your advantage. It is impossible to predict every detail of any potential scenario. The key is to rely on your law enforcement training and do the best that you can in resolving any situation.

6. Get some help.Sometimes, it helps to be able to talk to someone about your stressful situations. Talking to a trusted friend, counsellor or clergyman can give you additional advice and insights on how to deal with your current problem. In time, you will be better able to deal with the fear of the unknown.

Stan Popovich is the author of the popular managing fear book, “A Layman’s Guide to Managing Fear”. For more information about Stan’s book and to get free mental health advice, visit Stan’s website at

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