Change is inevitable – everybody knows that. Still, most people seem to resist change even if it’s positive. In today’s world, nothing stays the same for very long, so those who are unable to effectively “ride the waves” will likely find themselves drowning. Here are ten powerful tips to help you overcome the fear of change.
“To change is to be vulnerable. And to be vulnerable is to be alive.” Alexis DeVeaux
1. Jump in and stay engaged
It’s easy to stay on the sidelines, whether you are at work or at home! The key is to become engaged with the situations at hand, rather than opt for distancing yourself. At work that could mean actually paying attention and participating in meetings. At home it could mean turning off the television and conversing with your family. Staying on the outside often leads to resentment and a sense of powerlessness. Ask questions, listen and participate.
2. Be prepared for a reaction
A common perspective would have you believe that in order to be stable you should be stoic, emotionless. At work, it shows perspective and leadership. At home it is supposed to show strength and stability. But the truth is you are human and have human emotions. Not only that – everyone else around you also has feelings and emotions. Don’t be surprised to experience sadness, joy, anger, laughter, crying, confusion, discomfort, excitement, etc – it’s normal!
3. Identify and express your emotions
Unacknowledged and unexpressed emotion causes stress and will make the change process painful. As a result, stay away from bottling things up. You must be able to express yourself in a reasonable manner, so that things don’t get pent up and start building unhealthy levels of stress.
4. Regularly monitor your attitude
Do two things. First, be aware of your feelings. Second, don’t blame your feelings on other people or situations. In other words, no other person, group or set of circumstances can control your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes – only you can. And in order to do that, understand what your feelings are, and though it’s okay to “feel”, it is up to you what your attitude will be.
5. Maintain flexibility and go with the flow
There is a phrase that says, “Pick your battles carefully”. Remember that resistance and opposition only prolong the process. Don’t try to fight the current beyond what the situation calls for when there is change in the air.
6. Hold on to something familiar.
Stick with your normal routine as much as possible including your sleep, diet, social activities and exercise.
7. Enlist the support of others.
This is an excellent time to rely on friends, co-workers and family. You may benefit from their experiences.
8. Manage the big change in small steps.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
9. Find the good in the change.
There is usually something that can be learned from the changes we experience that will help us to continue to grow.
10.Know that it will end.
“This too shall pass.” Remind yourself of a change you survived in the past, and remember, you can make it through this one, too!
Dr. Linaman is a psychologist and executive coach providing counseling and professional development services to individuals, couples, work teams and organizations.
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