By Sid Madge, founder of Meee
Considering how ubiquitous change is in our lives (new seasons, jobs, homes, school, wrinkles, terms & conditions), it’s surprising how many people have a problem with change – you’d think we’d be used to it. But many of us are less than comfortable with change, so here a few pointers for coping:
Change requires us to do, think or be different in some way. This often means mistakes, failures and slip-ups along the way. It’s rare that we move seamlessly from one position to the other without some stumbles. Learning to ride a bike is a change – a change from walking to a new form of transport – and learning to ride a bike doesn’t just happen miraculously. It’s a journey of anxiety, questionable balance and a few scrapes. Everyone fails their way to riding a bike.
We all know this and yet when we become adults, we dread failure. It is seen as a weakness or something that must be hidden or fudged. And that is rubbish! Failure is the only way to succeed at anything, including successful change. Take a minute to think about how many times you have embarked on change and created unrealistically high expectations for yourself. Stop expecting immediate perfection and instead settle for consistent effort.
Embrace positive habits
What do you love? What makes you happy? Is it meeting up with friends, listening to really loud music or singing at the top of your voice in the car on the way to work? Do you love taking some time out and reading a good thriller? Or do you just enjoy some family time at the end of a challenging week? Whatever it is, do more of it.
Change can be disconcerting. It can feel like your whole life is being shaken, so deliberately hang on to the positive habits that already make you feel happy and safe. If you don’t have any of those, make them. Take a minute to think back to a time in your life when you felt especially peaceful or happy. What exactly were you doing? Have you stopped doing that? If so, why?
Another great habit to get into is taking a few minutes to think about the three things that you are most grateful for in your life. Relish those things in the midst of change.
The Natural Health Service
Change, even positive change or change that we are excited about, can cause disruption and elevated stress. Cortisol is the body’s main stress hormone and too much of it can cause havoc to our health and mental wellbeing. Cortisol also creates negative feedback loops which means that the more cortisol we create in the body the worse we feel, which in turn creates even more cortisol in a downward spiral.
It’s so important to break that downward spiral as quickly as possible and one great way is to get near nature – a park will do. Pay attention to the sounds and smells and simply enjoy some quiet time and the fresh air. Being outside in or around nature has restorative powers that allow us to get back on an even keel, so we can more forward constructively with the change.
Social psychologist Amy Cuddy demonstrated that changing what your body is doing can massively reduce cortisol levels. You don’t need to go overboard – no need to pound the pavement at 5am. Just move your body. Put on a favourite song and dance around your living room for a minute or two.
Take care of the basics
If you want to emerge from change fighting fit and raring to go, then you need to take care of the basics. That means eating healthy food, getting enough micro-nutrients, sleeping well and drinking plenty of water.
Make eating well easy for yourself. Take a few minutes to plan your meals for the week and make sure there is plenty fresh fruit and vegetables in the house. Also consider a social media detox for a day or so. You might be surprised at how much better you feel.