Why have I created these tips?
It feels like we are bouncing from one crisis to another at the moment... first Brexit, then COVID, then change of PM (several times in recent years!), the death of the Queen and the start of a new era with King Charles, the great resignation, cost of living crisis, and this doesn't take into account anything extra on a personal level we are dealing with (caring responsibilities, personal loss, career, stress, burnout etc).
We are creatures of habit, we like and thrive on routine. When we experience change of any sort we feel unsettled. This can create trauma for us and is a bit like having a computer with too many tabs open, or everything saved on the desktop. Nothing makes sense and feels overwhelming and we run out of space to be able to think and concentrate- OUR MINDS ARE FULL and we activate our primitive Autonomic nervous system (fight flight freeze) response. Based on our lived experience of change (whether positive and embracing or negative and anxiety provoking) depends on how we react next. Our lived experience shapes our thoughts about the situation and then trigger feelings and emotions. The good news is, everything starts with our thoughts so we can do something about it and change our responses. This helps us to navigate change better.
Here are my top tips to help navigate through change:
1. UNFREEZE: Accept change is happening.
The first step in managing change is to accept it is happening. It is OK to be sad about the Queen dying even if we have never met her. We all have some connection with her over the past 70 years and she has remained our constant. The cost of living is going up. This will be hitting people hard and we are already seeing how this could look in months ahead.
2. CHANGE: Identify what needs changing. We can only control what we can control.
This sounds obvious but we are not able to change these facts. Whenever there is change we need to learn to look inwards and focus on our own 'locus of control' what can we do to help ourselves?
3. We can change ourselves, by changing our thoughts and therefore our behaviours
The thing is how we respond to changes starts with our thoughts about the changes and thoughts are not facts (despite how true they feel). We can learn to challenge our thoughts and rewire the brain to change our thoughts to alternative healthier thoughts, therefore instinctively we choose different behaviours and emotions from them.
A bit like the buying of toilet roll during the pandemic we can change our responses and reduce the stress we feel from the changes and the worry about the unknown.
4. Plan and implement any practical changes we can make.
This is useful when thinking about costs of living. Are there Direct Debits/ Standing Orders that you can cancel. Do you have vouchers you can use? Can you make use of interest free credit cards (not for everyone!). Change is 80% mindset so once we have practical changes out of the way we need to do the work. Practice flipping the thoughts using affirmations. If any of these feel to hard put 'I am learning to...' in front of them.
A few affirmations:
I face every challenge with strength
I am in control of my life and how it unfolds
I accept the things I cant change
The changes I am making are exciting and positive and bring new opportunities
change comes when we need it
I accept change with ease and release fear
5. REFREEZE: Integration
Embed the new changes as habits. Notice when old behaviours sneak in and flip them. The changes then become our new normal responses and we carry on until the next transition where we start the process all over again.
5. Seek Support:
At Inspire You we are helping people to navigate change in a positive way. Because the path well trodden in the brain can be hard to change, we sometimes don't even know when we are thinking the thoughts that are false! By seeking help from professionals we can start to support you in rewiring the brain. Using science backed approaches we support individuals to improve their performances, reduce their stress and manage life's challenges. We can support on an individual level using therapy and coaching or on a company level, helping organisations plan and implement changes to workplace culture. We have a great gadget at the moment which tracks individual's stress and recovery levels (a bit like a smart watch). This allows us to use science and work out what is causing us stress and more importantly when to implement strategies to make changes.
Need some further support? Book a free 15 minute discovery call
or.. check out my therapy and coaching page