Change. This little word can strike fear into the heart and bring mid-life to mind, or equate a breath of fresh air and a new life. Which is it to you? Like it or loathe it, you cannot avoid it, for change is all about us. Whether its global or local, due to climate, campaigns, or decision-makers, this phenomenon is inevitable.
This fear has an official name – Metathesiaphobia. So why are so many people scared of change, or at the very least resistant to it? In today’s shrinking, globalized world it is something almost impossible to avoid, so why not look for the positives? As I face another of my personal redirections, I take a look at how best to handle it.
By definition, “change” may mean to make or become different, to take or use another instead of or refer to an act or process through which something becomes different. Just the other day, a friend lamented the transition from “proper” written English, to the version we see particularly on social media today. Historians will soon point out that our mother tongue has always been in a state of flux, however, or we should all be speaking a very different tongue.
As a writer I love words, so the thesaurus is my best friend. It was with relief that I saw a long list of positive alternatives to the word change; some personal favourites, as a fan of change, include advance, diversity, innovation, revolution, transformation and refinement. Not surprisingly on the short list of antonyms are things not usually on my to-do list – sameness, similarity, stagnation and uniformity!
I’m a woman of an age that is expected to deal with change, not just physically but in lifestyle and perhaps even career. However, look back over my several decades of life and you’ll see the world and the way we live has changed immeasurably and more recently at remarkable speed. Even in my children’s time, a telephone, once in a large red box on a street corner has now moved into almost everyone’s pocket. For better or worse it seems change is always all around us.
So faced with some kind of transformation in our lives, how best should we handle it? Given that running away or taking a duvet day is rarely a good way of dealing with anything, here are a few tactics which may help you get through, and maybe even enjoy, the transition ahead.
1. Acknowledge it is happening. Denial won’t help. So the sooner you get your head around that this thing is going to or has happened, the quicker you can get onto the next step.
2. Communicate. – Knowledge can be a powerful thing they say, so get the necessary facts so that you can plan on a basis of fact, not fiction or supposition. Get support from reliable friends or colleagues.
3. Keep regular routines – stress, even the good type, can eat away at your health and well-being. So make sure you maintain any regular routines, get exercise and fresh air, eat a healthy diet and ensure you get enough quality sleep.
4. Ask yourself “what’s the worst can happen?” Things may not be as bad as feared.
5. Avoid social media!! If things are looking grim it may be tempting to look for some remote, ego-soothing likes and comments, but you may regret that public outpouring in the future.
6. Look for the positives (and try not to dwell on any negatives) There are bound to be at least some opportunities and benefits which may come your way.
7. Get involved; be a driver, not a passenger. It may go against your grain to be part of the revolution, but its always easier to influence from within.
8. Humour is a great medicine – look for it either in your situation or as a distraction to cheer you up when the going gets tough.
For those that are creatures of habit and struggle to embrace the path less trodden, the internet is burgeoning with innumerable life coaches and self-help expertise to aid your passage. But at the end of the day it is something only you can deal with and the sooner you get on with it, the better you will feel about your situation.
Once you have wrestled with that devil once, you will feel stronger, more confident and more ready to face anything similar when it inevitably comes along again. Do I hear you groan, “never again”? Well, maybe not, but it could all be part of Life’s Rich Tapestry. Why not heed Sheryl Crow? A change could do you good!