How to Deal with Change in a Healthy Way

How to deal with change in a healthy way

In this post, I’m going to attempt the most difficult thing possible; avoiding making a bunch of dad jokes about coins and pocket change. So, things are changing. Always in flux and how humans deal with that kind of change can make or break our careers, relationships, and even mental health. So I’m gonna spit some hard facts. You have to learn how to deal with change, because change ain’t gonna stop happening.

Change is an inevitable part of life, and yet, it often invokes feelings of uncertainty, anxiety, and resistance. While comfort zones offer familiarity and a sense of security, true personal growth and transformation occur when we step outside of these zones. Embracing change is about not only facing the unknown but also overcoming the fear that holds us back.

So let’s talk about why change is essential for our growth, strategies to conquer fear, and the transformative power of getting out of those comfort zones.

Recognize Growth Comes from Change

As uncomfortable as change is, it’s necessary and I will give you a very simple illustration why. If things did not change, you would still be eating baby food. That’s right, blended up peas. Delicious. Change is necessary, and it’s the catalyst that propels us toward new experiences, opportunities, and horizons. It opens doors to learning, adaptability, and personal evolution. Without change, we remain stagnant, limited by our own routines and habits. Embracing change is akin to opening the door to self-discovery and growth.

Of course, change comes with risk and the discomfort of moving into unfamiliar spaces. But that’s part of adulting. We are always moving into new, and unfamiliar spaces. Fear is one of the most significant barriers to embracing change. The fear of the unknown, failure, and discomfort can paralyze us and prevent us from taking the necessary steps toward growth. To conquer fear, it’s crucial to acknowledge it rather than suppress it. Understand that fear is a natural response to stepping into uncharted territory, but it doesn’t have to dictate your choices.

Do you remember your first job, first relationship, first pregnancy, first financial hardship, first reorganization at work? All of that is terrifying as hell. But it is life, and those things do not stop happening. As long as you have a pulse change will continue to occur. So the healthy perspective is to recognize your growth comes from it.

Be Aware of Your Emotional Response to Change

We evolved powerful emotions for our individual and group survival. Love helps us protect each other, empathy helps us to take care of others in our group, stress helps us prepare to fight to survive. Fear is also a powerful emotive force which notifies our brain, “no! danger! abort! abort!” Thankfully sabretooth tigers aren’t roaming around much anymore, but the emotions we developed to help protect us from those kinds of dangers are still present in our DNA.

While these emotions can be very helpful when regulated, they can be downright destructive if they’re not kept in check. Love can turn into possessiveness, empathy can fracture our own emotional wellness by taking on the emotional burdens of others, and of course stress can destroy your health. Likewise, fear can be crippling. It can keep us from growing into spaces we need to grow, taking good risks, and embracing new change. This is also part of emotional intelligence. Recognizing your emotions are sending you a signal, but that signal is not necessarily the truth of things! It’s just a feeling. It should be taken, evaluated and assigned a weight, but not in lieu of facts and data.

So just because that innate survival sense kicks in when the landscape changes does not mean actual (life threatening) danger is present. It’s just your brain doing its job to keep you alive. Remind yourself, “hey, there’s no sabretooth tigers here. It’s just a new program they want to implement at work.”

Recognize Change comes with Great Opportunities

As the world around us evolves, so do the opportunities for growth, innovation, and progress. Change brings with it a shifting of perspectives, a rearrangement of possibilities, and a fresh canvas upon which we can paint our aspirations. In organizations there are people who are quite comfortable and happy with the status quo, and they will often fight change with everything they have to remain in their comfort blanket.

Changes often level the playing field and give people who take the initiative of being an early adopter of institutional change to catapult ahead of the grouchy status quo people. I have seen time and time again in organizations where the people who were once valuable and essential to an organization’s success go by the wayside because they refuse to get on board with organizational changes occurring. They feel victimized when they should instead recognize change is nothing personal. But organizations do not rate an employee’s value on what they’ve done in the past. It’s rated on the value they are currently providing. And the people who refuse to get on board with changes very rapidly fall out of favor with decision-makers.

That’s not to say all organizational changes are good, but you will have a much better time raising concerns to management if you are viewed as a team player supporting leadership choices rather than someone resisting change. The point is, change is an opportunity to propel your learning and status in a group. I found this fairly remarkable quote recently which sums up the difference between the people who are willing to learn versus those who already consider themselves as knowing.

“In times of change learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”

~Eric Hoffer

Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

Staying within your comfort zone might provide temporary security, but it limits your potential for growth. True transformation happens when you challenge yourself, step into unfamiliar territory, and confront your fears head-on. You hate getting up at 5 am to exercise? Good. Do it anyway. You get nervous cold calling or talking to prospective clients? Great! Do it anyway. Don’t want to give a talk in front of the company because you’re petrified of public speaking? Awesome. Have fun giving that talk!

Breaking free from comfort zones fosters resilience, adaptability, and confidence. Each time you embrace change, you prove to yourself that you are capable of navigating the uncertainties of life. So make a commitment to transform yourself into someone who embraces discomfort! Not only will it transform you into a much better and resilient person, the competition is a whole lot less crowded in this space!

Remember, change is inevitable. Learn to survive and thrive or get left behind. Those are your two choices. Or a slightly better way to put it.

“Get busy living. Or get busy dying.”

~Red, The Shawshank Redemption~

Photo credit by Manja Vitolic on Unsplash

Erik Murrah

Author, nerd, chess player, artist, business owner, runner, mediocre philosopher, outdoorsman. Creator of the Arise Tribe.

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