- Mental Health»
Learning to See Change Positively
The Nature of Reality
It's a basic human instinct to try to avoid change as much as possible. We like things (mostly) to be organized, consistent and reliable. Change is an inevitable part of life, however, and it's impossible to predict, plan for or be prepared for all possible scenarios at once. Sometimes you get laid off from work. Sometimes you're faced with an unexpected illness or injury. Sometimes the people you would have bet your life on would stick around forever leave. Regardless of what form change comes in for you, how you adapt, learn and grow from it will determine your underlying character and eventually shape you into the version of you that you are meant to be.
Change Is Opportunity:
I'm well aware how frightening and out-of-control change can feel - especially when it catches you off-guard. It's like being blindsided by a tornado. No matter how many scenarios you've calculated in your head, standing in the face of the storm as it's happening rarely goes according to plan. Change leaves us on-edge, and it gives us an extra bit of bite in our life. Not all change is bad. While it may seem frightening in the beginning, in hindsight we're often able to look back at how far we've come - and how grateful we are now for the opportunities that seemed so frightening and uncomfortable then.
Instead of curling up into the fetal position whenever something new and scary shows up, try to shift your perception. Even the smallest adjustment can leave you feeling more confident in the upcoming moments and give you courage and resolve that is often necessary to move forward.
The Dangers of Anxiety:
Anxiety is far more than a simple change of thought. It's a real, complicated condition that goes beyond the mental stress and can affect your body physically as well. Stress has been linked to many other health problems that can become more serious if left untreated. Unnecessary stress drains your energy, your mental focus, your clarity and your overall health. It leaves you feeling tired and lethargic and can significantly reduce the quality of your everyday life.
As difficult as it may seem, it's best to try to approach life with an easy-going demeanor. Getting yourself worked up over what may prove to be nothing at all only sends you in a continual cycle of stress, reaction and exhaustion - none of which can help you adequately cope with unexpected situations or face the challenge of change with grace or dignity.
Have a Plan:
Preparing for any or all events is not only impossible, it's borderline unhealthy. If you spend your whole life worrying, you're never going to be able to enjoy the moments that are flying by while you're too busy wrapped up in the "maybes" to notice.
If fate, chance or anything similar actually does exist, getting prepared for one specific event or fear almost guarantees that you're going to be slapped with another one - and that the one you spent so much time dreading never happens at all.
Not preparing for any and all possibilities specifically doesn't meant that you have to face whatever happens unprepared and be blindsided every time something goes awry. Instead of thinking specifically about any given possibility, train your mind to be a bit more generalized. A more general plan of action will allow you to respond to many events at the same time - and greatly reduces your overall stress in the process. If you're worried about financial matters, do what you can to have a back-up plan in case something happens with your stream of income. Know where you can go should you need help, and have a "worst-case-scenario" backup plan in place that you can discus with your spouse and/or family. When unexpected things do crop up, you can feel secure in the knowledge that you've done all you can to accept the situation for what it is, and it may prevent you from jumping into panic mode when you're caught unprepared.
Instead of seeing change as a foreboding unknown looming in the distance, try to see things for how they truly are. Adapting and adjusting to change is a difficult process, and no one is claiming that it's easy to cope. Change is what brings about growth, however, and if you allow change to gradually influence your life, you may be surprised at the positive and amazing results that can come about when you open your mind and allow change to happen. While you may not be able to stop all change from happening and you certainly can't control it, you can learn to cope with it effectively and allow for positive new experiences in the life that you call your own.