We looked in our last group at how we deal with change, the general knee jerk reaction is that we don’t like it and it tends to bring a great deal of fear. However we broke down some of how we process change and it began to look less scary. We thought about how much of our fear is imagined and the anticipation of what may happen rather than an actual reality, so what can happen is that we look into the future, imagine the worst case scenario, believe that as a reality and subsequently change will feel very frightening. So we talked about what do we have control of in change? People answered that we can control our thoughts and emotions, attitudes and we can choose how we respond. We also looked at whether we are rigid in our thinking and expectations, or are we able to be flexible and have expectancy and a more open attitude to accepting that things will change rather than fighting against it-in fact some changes may be for the better. Sometimes it feels like the worst thing has happened but in time we see that it opened the way to something better. Susan Jeffers in ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’ says that ultimately all our fears boil down to the one fear which is ‘I won’t be able to handle it’. The truth is that sometimes the worst thing does happen, and mostly, people do manage it. Maybe you can think of a time when you feared the worst, and when it happened you surprised yourself and got through, and discovered amazing things about yourself and others who maybe supported you at that time. Sometimes it can help to remember how we have previously navigated and adapted to change, and to accept that change happens in lots of different ways throughout our life.
Some changes are gradual and we can prepare whilst others can be horribly sudden and blindside us, but in hindsight it may have been better not to have known in advance. Some changes incur losses whilst other changes bring positives.
Learning to cope with stress can help us get through change and even recognising that stress in and of itself isn’t wholly bad as it gives us energy and drive to get through a challenging situation.