Navigating Change During Harrowing Times

June 6th, 2012

Often time’s people tell me that change is hard. Its gut wrenching and difficult. I smile and nod with compassion. I too can remember the sleepless night of feeling insecure when roles and jobs were shifting like sand beneath my feet. There have been times where extreme financial and serious health issues threatened my family. Pain and anxiety of those situations are not lost on me or anyone who is willing to be truly honest about how change has affected them in the past.

However, I know the truth about change. Any change. Positive or negative. Change is only as difficult as we make it. It’s all about our perception and reaction to that perceived threat to the status quo or norm of our lives. How we handle change and the challenges that come with it are the true reflection of ones character.

How we behave when times are good is usually quite different than in times of challenge. During the good periods there’s joy, celebration and exuberance. Everything is going your way. People are rolling in positive and filled with hope.

However, for most people, when the challenges hit we shift. Why? If we were congruent human beings why would we handle it differently? And is it really fair to expect that we can and will?

As human beings we are wired for survival. When our baseline needs of love, security and acceptance are “perceived” to be threatened, we go into survival mode. Hence some of the less than pretty behaviors witnessed.

During times of change, and let’s face it we’re living in a time of profound, fast moving change and challenge, it’s important to be aware of how one is reacting. Are you peaceful and steady? Or are you tired and cranky?

Moving into a different response reaction to change will take conscious and deliberate efforts to maintain a strong mental attitude of trust, hope, humor and belief that there is something better coming your way even if you can’t quite see it at the moment.

How do you get there?

  1. Get Outside – An often over looked and highly effective way to bring your mind back down out of worry and anxiety is to get outdoors. Breathe in fresh air and let go of the stress. When you do, you’re mind will work better because it is getting more oxygen and is less constricted.
  2. Find Something, Anything to Laugh about – Each day find one thing to laugh about and I mean really laugh about it. Get delirious! You’ll release more endorphins, which will contribute to a more positive and optimistic mental attitude.
  3. Remember Your Coming Around a Bend – Which means you may be driving along smoothly but there is that bend coming up fast. The bend IS the change. You can’t see on the other side. Closing your eyes and gripping the steering wheel will make you crash. Speeding up will also make you crash. But if you take it slow and easy, following the signs along the way you’ll traverse that harrowing turn with grace and ease.
  4. Find Gratitude and Exercise it Often – The one tried and true way to break your minds grasp on worry and despair is to find gratitude in everything you do everywhere you go no matter what. Even if it’s as simple as “I am grateful for this Starbucks coffee this morning” until you can get to “I am grateful for this change and the new opportunities it is presenting for me in my life.” Be grateful for even the small and seemingly minute things in your life. It will shift your energy and your focus quickly.

Small little steps over time create snowballs.
Snowballs create avalanches. Then it becomes automatic.
When you’re in a positive mental space more opportunity comes to you than when you’re angry, scared or freaked out.

I wish you all grace and ease as you traverse this important time of change and challenge both personally and professionally.

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