Fear is by far the most powerful emotion that humans experience. When faced with the prospect of change, people often feel scared, worried, or anxious. These feelings are natural. We all experience them, and it's not necessarily a bad thing.
But fear and anxiety can keep people from living the life they want or cause them to find that their quality of life is compromised. For example, some people are scared of trying new things, even when strong evidence support making a change. Others are afraid to make mistakes, so they stick to what they have always done, even when it no longer serves them. And still others feel like an outsider, assuming that they are the only ones who struggle with these feelings.
Change is inevitable (as we all learned over the last few years during the pandemic) and positive change requires facing your fears and trusting that the outcome will be worth being uncomfortable. Whether you've just moved to a new city, or you're facing a big decision in your life, try to keep an open mind and face your fears head-on. By facing your fears, you'll only grow stronger.
Keep these tips in mind for surviving any change:
- Accept change and understand that it is inevitable. Many people fight the overwhelming fact that change is part of life. They try to hide from change or force it to go away. But change is inevitable, so it is essential to accept it and embrace it. The reality is that you have a far better chance of success if you use your energy to embrace change rather than fight against it. To accept change, expect it even when things are going well. If you live in expectation of it, any change can be an opportunity for growth.
- Prepare yourself for unfamiliar situations. Change tends to happen when you're not looking for it. When unexpected problems arise, you can use them as opportunities. For example, a layoff can open up new doors; although that doesn't mean those changes are any less painful when they occur.
- Make sense of what you require to deal with the change. When you face an unexpected change, it can be difficult. It can be downright scary. But you can find peace in identifying the tools that work for you specifically in times of change. Read books on the subject, talk to people who have faced similar situations, and seek help from professionals like those at Dr. Sambunaris & Associates. Knowledge is power and can help you meet the unknown with faith.
- Localize your change. With so much going on in the world today, even the best of plans can go sideways in an instant. Survival is more challenging now than ever before. Rather than make a grand plan, why not break your change down into manageable chunks? That way, if you run into problems, you can refocus on those smaller goals. Smaller, manageable chunks not only reduce stress but also keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
- Put your health first. It's easy to neglect your wellbeing when in the thick of change. Put yourself first! Find things you enjoy, whether exercising, listening to soothing music, or exploring a new hobby. Having a healthy outlet for stress will not only help you survive but will also relieve your anxiety, allowing you to think more clearly.
There is no denying that change is a part of life, but by embracing the changes and having a plan, you can make them more manageable. If you find that that your stress in times of change is excessive or unmanageable, it may be a medical disorder such as anxiety or depression that is keeping you from reaching your personal goals. Remember that a chemical imbalance in the brain looks different for everyone; getting a diagnostic evaluation is oftentimes the first step in moving confidently to embrace change in your life!
Angelo Sambunaris, M.D.