Working, living with family, wherever you go, you’ll find change a constant companion. Remember the old adage, “The only certainty in life is that things will change.” How are you feeling about the changes going on in your life; from empty nest, to early retirement, to changing jobs, to even new grandchildren? How do we embrace change in a way that is healthy and hopeful, not despairing or fearful? How do we gain the wisdom to know which way to go?
What is change?
Change is a part of our lives- as an infant, from crawling to toddling, then off on a run. As we age, we are challenged to make changes in our health, our work, our thinking and our environment. Change is when something is radically different or transformed. Our health is not like it used to be. We are not longer in the education field or we move to a smaller home because our adult children no longer live with us. Those are major changes in our lives. In our society, we operate within systems, “any structure that exhibits order and pattern”, such as family systems, work systems, and health systems. What system has changed for you?
For me, my work system has changed from going to work daily as an educational consultant to working an a life coach/spiritual director in my own business on my own. Working from my home office and meeting one on one with clients is a very different type of system than working in an office. Another change is my health. I recently experienced back pain and am now working at a standing desk. All those little and big changes can impact how we view our day to day living.
How do we embrace change?
Change can feel fearful or adventurous. It might seem advantageous at first to resist change. I was not a fan at first of a stand up computer desk! However, you always have a choice in how you approach change. It may not be an easy choice but one in which your health, well-being and future may depend upon.
When you resist change, the brain goes into a “flight or fight” mode, which is an automatic response for your protection. When you are feeling fearful or anxious, the brain reacts to protect itself and goes into an automatic mode. You are not as free to think creatively and stress hormones are continually released into your physical systems to fight off or flee from what is making you resistant, fearful, anxious, angry or unhappy.
Over time, the stress can create poor health, such as heart disease, migraines, strokes, and obesity. These symptoms lead to a shorten life span. When you are feeling resistant, notice where how those feelings are occurring in your body- stiff shoulders, headache, stomachache, backache. Our bodies are good barometers of the stress hormones that are being released when you are in the flight or fight mode.
To embrace change and analyze your choices, you can use the following questions to meditate upon, process and focus on the changes facing you:
1) What is my part in the change that is occurring?
If the change is happening around you or in your work place, write down or list your feelings about the changes and look at how your efforts can make a positive difference, regardless of the circumstances.
- What losses will you experience from the change?
- What will you gain?
- What efforts will you need to put forth?
- What will you learn?
- What can be the outcome of this change?
For example, I lost sitting down as an option with my painful back. My chiropractor said my back was a result of sitting for lots of years. However, I gained standing up and strengthening my back and body as a result. I needed to design the right height with boxes and 2×4’s with the help of my husband. I discovered that standing isn’t so bad. The outcome of this change to a standing desk is that I am healthier for it.
2) What are the possibilities that the change can bring to my life?
Change can be an opportunity to think big, bold and dream. You and I do have choices and writing down a plan of action will give you ways to make your own personal healthy changes, rather than feeling victimized. Sometimes we need to be ready to try new things, regardless of how we feel. The only failures occur when we don’t move forward.
- Where will the changes take you in the next 3 months? 6 months? 1 year?
- How can it fit into a new vision?
- How do these changes fit into the purposes you have been called to serve?
3) What support structures do I need in my life to encourage my change efforts?
Making changes are hard because the brain likes habits. Find a friend, coach or group of people who will help you be accountable to the changes and dreams you want to make and can keep you positive and healthy.
- Who do you have in your life that will listen to your dreams?
- How can these support structures help you gain clarity and focus?
You can embrace change in any setting and live a more hopeful, healthy life, day by day. Your joy and health depend upon it. I would love to come along side you as you embrace changes in your life. Contact me for a free life coaching success strategy session today. Your journey can be positive, regardless of the overwhelm facing you.
Nancy Booth is a certified life coach. I love creating safe spaces for you as you go through life’s transitions to discover and support your vision for health and well-being in an overwhelming world, explore possibilities for next steps and find hope. I write about taming the overwhelm and finding ways to find life balance, looking for ways to motivate, energize and inspire you! You can sign up to receive my weekly blog or contact me to find out ways you can begin to shed overwhelm and stress. It’s time to explore possibilities of new relationships, better life pacing and gain hope and peace.