We naturally fear change, and our routines feel safe and comforting. Yet, your relationships, career, mood, and financial situation all change periodically throughout life.
These changes can be stressful, even if the result provides many benefits. For example, getting a promotion might mean a higher salary, but you might not feel capable of handling some of your new responsibilities yet.
From experience, you already know that you’ll eventually get used to all these changes. At first you might be freaking out about how to adapt to your new circumstances, but sooner or later these will become the new status quo.
With the following advice, you can triumph over your fear of change and more confidently accept new challenges while enduring much less stress in the process.
1. Hope For The Best And Prepare For The Worst
It’s great to have a positive mindset. When your mind is more open to positive experiences, they are more likely to enter your reality. It is a far better way to live compared to pessimistically worrying about every possible negative outcome.
However, purely optimistic people may be devastated when a life change doesn’t turn out in their favor. By preparing for the worst possible outcomes, you can train yourself to accept any possibility.
Imagine you attend a job interview and it seems to go well. You are so certain you got the job that you don’t apply for any more. But weeks go by without that employer offering you the position. You’ve wasted time and caused yourself even more stress by not accepting the possibility that they might not hire you.
Pay attention to your level of pessimism surrounding future events. Worry compels you to prepare for losing your job, unpredictable medical expenses, or other inevitabilities. However, too much worry causes unnecessary anxiety over events that don’t even exist.
Ask yourself, “Do I worry about things that never even happen?” If the answer is yes, then perhaps that overactive worry has helped you avoid some uncomfortable situations. However, you are also avoiding opportunities to grow. Be honest with yourself and you will realize when this is true.
Some people give up career opportunities because they worry about performing poorly. Some people avoid opportunities to socialize because they worry about embarrassing themselves.
Both positive and negative future events cause people tremendous anxiety, but no matter what the situation is, you can prepare for it. You might not be able to immediately come up with a solution. But you can prepare emotionally. You can practice accepting the possibility that your situation may change.
Consider every possibility. Imagine accepting and handling the results no matter what. This helps you relax and lower stress no matter what happens.
2. Pay Attention To Upcoming Change
If you are very pessimistic, it will be great for your health to focus on, and be thankful for, all the positive abundance already present in your life. However, some people focus so much on what’s going great in their life, that they may ignore signs of upcoming challenges.
On one hand, this equals less stress. Instead of worrying about future events that may or may not happen, they are more inclined to enjoy the moment. The problem is, if circumstances change suddenly, so might their good mood.
When we get stuck in our daily routines, it can be tempting to ignore signs of upcoming change. But this only leaves you more unprepared when the change actually occurs.
That’s why it’s important to mentally rehearse your reactions to such change. You will not only know what to do, but the actual change won’t be as scary.
Ask yourself, “What if ___ happens? What will I do?” This exercise helps you prepare emotionally and mentally for future events. Also practice accepting the events you experience in your mental rehearsal.
When the future change or challenge occurs, you will be prepared to take appropriate action. You will also feel less stressed out by it because you’ve already practiced accepting the change instead of resisting it.
It can be overwhelming to think about all the details of major changes. Instead, break down the change into smaller, more manageable pieces. Instead of trying to adjust to everything simultaneously, you can take your time to handle each aspect of the change.
Chunking is a way of reframing large projects or challenges to convince yourself that they are actually smaller and more manageable. A huge project may seem impossible. You might feel so stressed out by the scale of it that you refuse to even start.
However, if you can convince yourself to focus on a small piece of the challenge and forget the rest, then the part you’ve chosen to work on should be easier to handle. For example, imagine you want to write a book. If you focus on writing a whole book, you might feel it’s too much work. But if you focus on writing one chapter today, or even just one page, you are more likely to believe you can handle the smaller task.
The same is true for many life changes. Instead of trying to solve every single problem from the beginning, choose one smaller task you believe you can handle. Once you’ve finished that task, the sense of accomplishment should help propel you into solving the next challenge.
4. No Regrets
Life-changing experiences can come with painful memories. Sometimes, there aren’t any good choices. Inevitably, you might be left wondering about what would/could have happened if you made different choices.
This is, ultimately, a waste of mental energy. If you regret changing your life, it can only keep your mind stuck in the past. Instead, open your mind to new opportunities. Focus on the future and the changes that could improve your life.
5. Embrace Change
Take out a piece of paper and write down 10 changes that have improved your life. Take your time if you need to. These could be things such as graduating school, starting a new job, ending a bad relationship, or even buying a new computer.
Were you nervous about these changes?
Were you afraid?
How many of these changes turned out much more positive than you expected?
This exercise can help you appreciate your capacity for enduring change. There are probably some very adverse experiences on your list. Realize how these experiences have helped you to grow. This will help you face future challenges much more confidently. Each time a change challenges you, it allows you an opportunity to tap into your potential.
Change doesn’t need to be feared. What you should really fear is maintaining the same, boring routine and level of consciousness forever. That is only stagnation, not growth. Instead, by embracing change you open yourself up to new possibilities.