Sunday, 24 September 2017

Dealing With Change

Change is inevitable. It could be anything from changing your mind to changing your entire life and it is completely unavoidable. We live in a constantly changing world that goes through multiple transitions every day and the most important thing is to embrace it. Sometimes change is the last thing that you want in your life, however change doesn't always work on our desired schedule, and a major transition is what is needed to develop and move on in life. 

Changing your place of residence can be one of the toughest transitions that you might ever have to go through. The longer you have lived somewhere, the harder that move can be. We can become creatures of habit and so a move may indicate introducing new habits, also, the not knowing what’s around the corner and thinking to yourself "will it all be successful?"

Think back to your thoughts… What was the main factor that lead to your desire to move? This is important as this indicates your ‘intention’ or goal. Intentions and goals can help us to succeed and achieve great things if we focus in the right way. There are two types of people who focus on goals. Those that are interested and those that are committed. Interested people are interested in change for a long time, in fact they talk about change in an interesting manner. Being interested in something can result in the change being an external goal. For example, I’m interested in moving over there, yes over there and make a point of creating a picture of how interesting that could be. Interesting people are only half conditioned to go for a goal. Committed people focus only on that goal and create an internal experience of how it's going to be living there. Their ambitions, aims and beliefs are so powerful its like their change is happening now. People with committed visions of change are inclined to make progressive moves faster than the interested people. 

My wife and I have moved several times in our lives and enjoyed every experience. Moving helped us to view life from new perspectives. Now we are making the move to Spain. We briefly discussed this in the past and suddenly the right time to move came up and we decided to make a committed decision. If something is right and meant to be, we may experience that ‘wind in our sails’ feeling. Very quickly our plan came together and the right opportunities presented themselves, giving us the feeling that we knew we were on the right path. What was important in our plan was to keep it simple and to stick to it in the face of opposition, manipulation or judgement. Mark Twain the poet wrote, "In ten years time you will look back in our lives and judge not the things you have done but what you wished you had done".

If your goal is important to you then its important you listen to your intention and dismiss negative judgment. Moving is something that you will remember for years and although it can be a stressful time, the change in your life should be celebrated. The tasks and organisation that you undertake in preparation for a move, help to improve your problem solving skills and the move itself is the beginning of a new chapter in your life. One good way of looking at the change of moving is to list it amongst the achievements in your life and see it not in a stressful light but instead as a chance to reorganise, experience new things and start a new adventure. 

There are many types of change that can cause stress, from change in relationships to sitting at a crossroads needing to make a decision. One of the most important things to do is reevaluate the stress. View stress as a challenge, not as a threat. When you view stress as a threat and allow it too much space in your life, you will begin to give the stress more importance than the task itself. Look at stress as a challenge to overcome, know that you can rise above it and this will diminish its control of you. When you are going through a change in your life, stress is the last thing that you want looming over you, so don't let it take control. Just beyond stress and anxiety is bliss. 

Another way to reduce the impact of stress is to appreciate the benefits of change. Changes in your life are not there to complicate matters, they are there to challenge you, encourage you and allow for your growth. Staying in the same routine your whole life can be detrimental to your cognitive growth and change is needed to allow for your own development. Look back to the times where you successfully dealt with change, use the knowledge that you have managed to get through all of this before and this will give you strength do go through another transition. 

It is perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed if the change that you are facing is something that you have not dealt with in the past, or if there is too much change happening all at once. This is the perfect time to seek support, talk to friends and family about the changes you are about to face or are currently going through, because chances are they have gone through something similar or know methods of coping with the transition that you may not have thought of. Consider the people that are close to you as your support network and do not hesitate to ask them for advise or support with your transition. Even an online community of people going through experiences that are similar to yours can give you an emotional boost as well as some practical tips. 

To be able to talk to others about the changes that you are going through, you need to acknowledge your own feelings. Don't try to avoid your emotions, listen to them. By thinking about the way that you feel, you are able to become less resistant to change and feel more comfortable with the idea of change. Often changes bring on feelings of anxiety, and it is perfectly normal to feel this way, but you cannot suppress your emotions during this time. It is best to identify the feelings and accept that the change is going to have an impact on your life, and then finally work through the feelings to reach a more positive and relaxed view of the transition. If you are struggling to identify the feelings that you are having then keep a journal of everything that you are going through and eventually you will begin to see a pattern that can highlight the most dominant emotion through this experience. 

During times of change be kind to yourself. A number of clients experience change as if the here and now are going to be presented throughout the rest of their lives. That’s not possible as new change always comes in. Try to evaluate the changes you’re going through as though you are viewing them from a third party’s view. This often clarify’s sense. One particular client of mine was an alcoholic and a drug addict. He came to see me and said "I want to change", he was not just interested in his goal, he was committed. Within three months he was free of addiction and alcohol, a few months later he went on to write me a magical testimonial still free of addiction. The method was partially working towards releasing the affect of addiction, but more importantly dealing with and discussing his life issues which lead to his situation. For him it was taking back control, he lost this in his previous relationships, his job and his mojo. We worked to get his life back and by letting go of past experiences and beliefs, he changed into the man he knew he could be. With these steps and support the addiction soon disappeared. 

For more personal changes, for example, relationships, loss, moving etc, keeping a diary is a very effective method for coping with change. When you write down what has changed in your life and what you are finding difficult, you will begin to notice positive solutions for the things that you are worrying about, as well as help you cope with the change by visualising everything that is going on and documenting it. Keeping a diary is also a great way of keeping memories because when you go through a large change it can be very overwhelming and some things can be forgotten, by writing everything down it documents every detail of the experience and allows for you to look back at the change in a more positive and sentimental manner. 

Through all of this change you may need to keep reminding yourself that you do have control. When things begin to get overwhelming the best thing to do is take a break and reevaluate. During a transition this is difficult to do because change is normally something that is out of our hands, however there are always parts that you can control, even the smallest thing can help with coping with the change. One of the ways to take control of the change is to prepare for it. Getting things in order before a planned major transition is one of the best ways to guarantee that all of it will work out when the time comes to undergo the change. For more personal changes, such as relationships or loss, preparation is very difficult and sometimes not a possibility, however being able to control certain parts of the change will always be a good method for coping. This does not mean that you need to try to take control of the whole situation but this does lead back to acknowledging your feelings and taking time to understand how you truly feel about the situation. When you can fully understand how you feel, you can begin to take back control of your own emotions. You may not be able to control the situations that have bought on the change in your life, but most of the time you can control how you respond to it. 

When a transition in life becomes very stressful or overwhelming it is sometimes difficult to relax or feel positive. If the change is out of your control, accept that it is out of your control and spend some time focusing on the positive aspects of that change. View the transition as an opportunity to learn and grow, rather then as a setback. This will distract your mind from the negatives of the situation and help you celebrate the positives, no matter how small. When a change is difficult to go through, the positive aspects of the situation might not be obvious to begin with, however it is worth seeking them out. Focusing on the positives will also help to relax the mind as well as avoid the stress of a drastic change. 

Without change, our lives would be in an endless loop of the same routines. You may not always be seeking change, but when it does appear you should embrace it, because no one's life ever stands completely still. The world is constantly evolving, and you change with it. Material possessions come and go, friends enter your life and leave, careers involve turning points, no one ever gets through life without some type of change. If you worry about all of the changes that are happening around you, you begin to lose your ability to enjoy the moments and experience them in their entirety. Constantly worrying doesn't make you feel more confident or give you the ability to predict the future changes in your life. Change is simply inevitable, so when it happens don't fight it, embrace it.

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