Whether it’s breaking up with an ex, grieving for a loved one, being made redundant or moving to a new location, change is never far away. Even good change such as having a baby or getting a new job can be stressful and unsettling. Navigating your way through change can be uncomfortable but it is possible to manage it in ways to make it feel less scary.
Acknowledge your feelings
Don’t run away from the emotions which come up. Listen to them. It is ok to feel worried and fearful. Try to identify and name your feelings and explore why they are arising. It is beneficial to write them down or speak them out loud. For example, “I am feeling anxious and overwhelmed because I am moving to a new city next week.”
Replace expectations with plans
When you form expectations based on something which may or may not happen, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. You can influence your tomorrow, but you can’t be sure of the outcome. Instead of expecting the future to give you something specific, focus on what you’ll do to create what you want to experience. Write down what you can do to minimise the impact of the change. If you’re starting a new job, what practical things can you do to ease yourself in? You could find out about the organisation, could you meet someone you know who works there, for example.
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new” Socrates
Create a mental script
Listen internally to what is being said by you about the change you are facing. Is it true? Or is it your primitive brain trying to protect you and keep you safe? If the change is something outside your control, then it may be hard to accept the situation. However, you can work towards acceptance by replacing your unconscious thoughts with a mental script. You could say “I have enough, I am enough.” Or “Life is a journey”.
Know you can control your attitude and actions
Change may turn your world upside down, but you still have control over how your respond to the situation. You may feel like approaching the situation in an angry way or taking your feelings out on others. You could choose to view the change as an opportunity for new possibilities and approach it with a sense of anticipation and excitement. Some people find it beneficial to write a list of what you can control, to help to reduce anxiety and feel happier. Capture all the positives by flipping the negatives around.
Talk to others with similar experiences
Talking to someone who has ‘been there’ can make a significant difference to how you feel about the change you are facing. Ask for advice on what you can do to get through the change well. There may be a support group online which you can connect to. If you struggle to find someone to talk to, consider getting some professional help to enable you to function well during this period of change.
“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” Benjamin Franklin
Utilise stress reduction techniques
Relaxation can help decrease stress and increase emotional health. Techniques such as meditation, deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation can help you to relax and cope with stress more effectively. Physical exercise helps the brain by increasing the flow of blood, which delivers vital oxygen and glucose to the brain while carrying away waste products. Research shows that exercise can help keep your mind sharp, promotes feelings of alertness and well-being and wards off depression and anxiety.
So change is inevitable, but with some practical steps you can mitigate the damage it may cause and build your resilience at the same time.
Jackie Meek lives in Oxfordshire and is a qualified life coach with a passion to see mums move from surviving to thriving. Her coaching sessions are calm and inspiring, giving her mum clients the time to stop and think clearly about how they want to bring about change and to help them to find balance as they juggle of family and work. Jackie runs a group coaching programme called Bird Table Mums https://www.futurepathlifecoaching.co.uk/bird-table-mums/ and works with mums on a 1:1 basis either face to face or online. You can connect with Jackie on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/futurepathlifecoaching and Instagram https://www.instagram.com/meek54540/