Since the beginning of time, the universe has been in constant flux, always changing. It is not too grandiose to say that the survival of the planet and all its creatures is dependent on the capacity to adjust, to accommodate and to adapt to change. Why then does the idea of change strike so much fear into most people’s hearts?
First, bodies automatically control much of the capacity to change. Physiological components like neural pathways and muscle memory are associated with the way animals and humans learn. Because the learning process alters physical structures in the brain over time, relearning or altering these structures also takes time.
Emotionally, the response to life is often based on an unconscious adjustment to control basic impulses. Socially, people learn that rewards and punishments are based on making the ‘right’ choices. The capacity to change then is centered on the ability to relearn, risk, repeat, refocus and rebound.
How does this translate into practice when facing job transfers, relationships ending, empty nesting, family changes or other major life adjustments? A few helpful tips for handling change include:
1. Acting “As If”:
Put the change or event in the future, act ‘as if’ it has happened, acting with a good frame of mind, confident and secure.
2. Getting Excited:
Talk about the change as a challenge, a puzzle to be solved or an adventure to explore.
3. Taking a Mini-Break:
To regain perspective and balance, hit the pause button and take a mini-break. If a weekend getaway is unrealistic, try a mental break with deep breathing or meditation. Even enjoy a movie without distraction or take a walk outside. The idea is to break the negative cycle and refocus on the big picture.