How to embrace change in 2020Posted on: 09 March 2020 by Lynda Shaw
Change can be stressful and unsettling but Dr Lynda Shaw has tips on how to embrace new situations and rediscover the positives in your life.
Changes like a relationship breakdown, redundancy or serious illness can generate stress, fear and seriously impact your well-being. Your first feelings may be of shock, anger, or anxiety, or it may trigger ‘flight or fight’ reactions, but change is an opportunity to embrace and grow beyond what feels comfortable, build resilience and experience new things that we might otherwise never have done. Change is going to happen whether you like it or not, so it is not enough to just survive change, we need to use it to thrive. Here are some tips on how to embrace big changes in your life:
Are you approaching it with a ‘can’t do’ fixed mindset? We are inclined to choose options with a familiar and known outcome. Push yourself to consider other options and do your research. Avoid having a narrowing or shrinking fixed mindset, aim for a growth mindset. The brain is fantastically adaptable, and the chances are you can do it. It’s an opportunity to move into your learning zone. Be nimble.
Control your emotions, so they don’t control you
It is completely fine to feel emotions like anger, anxiety, fear or sadness and it is important to sometimes just sit with those emotions. But your mood can influence your decisions and interactions so there is also a point when you should acknowledge them and try to move past them.
A positive mindset
can be the deal-breaker between you doing something or not. The outcomes are predictably in favour of someone who is often positive rather than someone who is usually negative. Being positive and facing change is the best way to learn and move on.
Be your best friend and praise yourself
Whilst it is important to enjoy non-toxic, supportive relationships with your partner, friends, colleagues and family, having your own strong inner support system is important during times of change. Talk to yourself in the same way you would speak to and coach a friend. Dismiss constant negative internal chatter and replace it with gratitude and an occasional self-pat on the back for trying your best.
Some say reach for the stars and push yourself over and beyond. Others advise you to have reasonable, achievable expectations to avoid deep disappointment. Either way, learn that its ok to fail and learn how to fail well by picking yourself up and trying again using different tactics.
Take your time
Demands for change can trigger our fight or flight instincts, cause stress and debilitate our decision making. Follow your gut feeling is not just a metaphor; our brain and gut are connected by an extensive network of neurons and are in constant communication. It’s harder though to make good decisions when stressed as we are less reflective and more impulsive. Try to take a little time to make hard decisions so allow yourself time to reflect before you respond and to summon your strength in case it is needed.
Are you stuck in making familiar, habitual choices?
Doing something unfamiliar and unhabitual can be harder and time-consuming but helps you to make new important neural connections. Taking a leap of faith can feel scary so we often delay starting or we convince ourselves that we don’t have the knowledge, money, etc. to pull it off. Try to just take a first step and choose your most productive time of day to do it. A first step may just lead to a life-changing path for the better.
Schedule in creative/ innovative time
This way you have the space to think and reassess what is your calling, what are your passions, what you need and what is important to you. We need time and space to create lightbulb moments.
Good health is crucial to giving you strength
Make sure you are sleeping enough and eating well. Obstacles can seem insurmountable when you are overtired and you will feel less motivated, have trouble concentrating and be less productive.
Watch out for feeling overwhelmed by stress during times of change
Stress alters practically every part of our body including brain functions such as memory and cognitive ability. In times of change and stress, allocate time for stress combating exercise such as yoga, meditation, walking, or going to the gym. There is also nothing better than some down time in a nice bath, listening to your favourite soothing music or just having a cuddle with someone you love.
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