By Michelle Rawlings, MSAN Mental Health Contributor
Change is important in our lives and is always occurring. Everyday we can find ourselves look at change. Whether it is big or small it happens. It happens when we hit major milestone or when we approach a new stage in our life. It happens whether we are the pursuer or someone else is and it creates movement in those lives around them. Change can happen from a single smile to a major career move. Whatever the case, our lives are a combination of cause and effects. It is how you prepare to handle change that makes all the difference.
Personally I’m not a fan of change; let me be more specific, I am not a fan of unexpected change. However, since I cannot predict the future it is bound to happen but not all change is bad, unexpected or not. I really feel that it is how you look at the change. Do you embrace it or do you run and fight it? What if you are looking for a change? How do you handle it? Where do you start?
Here are a few tips on how to encounter and pursue change with a positive mind set.
- If you are looking to make a change start out with a plan. These are the changes that you are actually in control of so make them count!
- Sometimes there are roadblocks to our path to change that are out of our control. For these instances we need to have patience and a plan. Start with small ideas as to how to approach the barrier. If your first idea is not as successful as you hoped, don’t give up just keep trying new ideas.
- Don’t procrastinate. If you know that a change will make you happy and add meaning to your life plan ahead and go for it.
- Look for the positives. Sometimes when we are looking to make a change it is because we are not happy or when we are looking for something more in our lives. Some even list out all the negatives and reasons why a change needs to happen. This can be helpful in some situations; however, I suggest something a little different. Make a list of what makes you happy, the people you enjoy spending time with, and the activities that you enjoy. Make a list of similar ideas that you might want to try out and then find time to do more of that and surround yourself with positive influences and those who support your change.
- Make a list of new ideas to try that you feel could be beneficial to change your current situation. Even if your ideas may sound a little out there write them down. Sometimes doing something out of the norm can have a positive impact. Want to change a behavior? Instead of doing the opposite, try something completely different. It reminds me of when someone says, “don’t thing about the word summer” but then you find all you can think about is summer and all the feelings and memories associated with that time of year. Why put yourself through that? Especially if what you are trying to change is something you have attempted many times before unsuccessfully.
- Finally, take a look at your past. What changes have occurred for you successfully? What did that look like and why was it successful for you? Use your past successes as a blueprint. It doesn’t have to be exactly the same, you can pick and choose parts from all parts of your life to help you create and handle change. Whatever it is don’t be a repeat offender! If it didn’t work in the past what makes you think it is going to work in the future. Be open to looking at successes and go from there.
Change can be frightening and beautiful all at the same time. What could have been a negative experience may actually be a blessing in disguise. It all depends on how you approach and handle change.