Coping With Change
This post was originally published on Elaine Rogers’ blog
“If you believe you can or cannot do something, you are probably right” – Henry Ford
All change is stressful: whether positive change such as moving house, getting married, starting a new job or having a baby, or negative such as experiencing a bereavement, being made redundant or getting divorced. This is because change, whether positive or negative, involves uncertainty and altering your routine.
Where there is life, there is change. We change through action, learning, and commitment. Transitions are periods of risk and possibility. They are a period of danger and opportunity. The danger is that we will be unable to cope with the transition and will be scarred by the experience. The opportunity is for personal growth.
“The only sane response to change is to find the opportunity in it” – Jeff Jarvis
Too much of a good thing is not a good thing. Too much change causes chaos; too much security keeps us stuck. When managed properly, security (material, emotional, physical) provides stability, and change provides growth potential.
There are 4 basic phases when we embark on any change process:
- Shock or Fear – feelings of helplessness, powerlessness, low morale, and resistance
- Denial – a natural coping mechanism and buys us time to process information
- Anger/ Ineffectiveness – a reluctance to adapt to change; we may under-perform in different areas of life. Can lead to blaming others rather than seeing the situation for what it is.
- Letting Go/ Moving On – we begin to come to terms with the changes, let go of the past and look forward to the future. This final stage brings positive feelings and is the catalyst for personal growth.
Creating change doesn’t guarantee that we will get what we want. Our success depends on how clear we are about our motivation for change. Not any action will move us forward. Only appropriate action will. Even a dead fish floats downstream after all! Maybe the way forward happens to be upstream. Oh! There’s that Fear again! We want to take the easy way, don’t we? We want safe and cosy, don’t we? Well then, we have to stay where we are, but if we do, we then have no right to complain about it!
To embrace the change process, we must learn to differentiate between cause and effect. Any attempt to merely change effects (our actions) will not address the root of the cause (our thoughts). In order to be sure that we benefit from change, we need to take the time to honestly explore why we want to make the change. We need to gain a clear sense of who we are, what we are about, and what our values are. Once we achieve self-knowledge and a clear sense of purpose, we can move out of our comfort zone towards growth, achievement, and increased self-awareness.
We should observe to become aware, be aware to understand, understand in order to develop, and then develop towards self-actualisation (Kurt Goldstein’s definition: “The motive to realise all of one’s potentialities”.)
Coping strategies when going through a Change process of any kind:
Stress takes energy. Rather than sucumming to stress and excess usage of energy, take special care of your body and:
- Accept that change is inevitable
- Accept that all change provides opportunities for growth
- Get plenty of exercise
- Get plenty of rest
- Watch your diet – eat, and eat well (little and often)
- Watch your thoughts, when you think a negative thought – turn it around and gain something positive
Try some affirmations:
Affirmations (Something declared to be true; a positive statement or assertion) help to program our unconscious, so it seeks out from the universe for all that you affirm:
“I am living the life I desire”
“I feel healthy and will never smoke again”
“I am the perfect weight and shape, I love my body”
“Money comes to me frequently and easily”
“The universe will provide me with all that I need and desire”
“I am whole and perfect, strong and powerful, loving and happy”
“I am grateful for all that I have and appreciate those who support me”
By repeating affirmations regularily, we are asserting these thoughts to become our reality. Try it out. Another way to positively move through change is to constantly smile when you can, and have a good belly laugh every day, especially if at yourself!
Moral of the story? Be proactive in the change process and make sure it works to your advantage. Thoughts?