The only constant thing in life is change (Heraclitus)
We all face change every moment of our life, whether it is a simple change or a major one. The way we respond to change is dependent on several factors including:
- The nature/kind of change and whether it makes sense to us or not
- Our emotional state
- Our beliefs about, perception of, and attitude towards change
- Presence or absence of a support system
- The impact the change will have on us
- Our spiritual state
- Coping strategies
- Etc. etc.
The global situation we are all living through has brought significant changes in the way we view/know ourselves, others, and the cosmos, and our relationship to these. This situation has showed the uncertainty of our life. Most of us had plans that embraced the entire year, but those plans have been remarkably affected by this uncertainty. And the game is not over yet.
The reopening of the lockdown in many countries is causing yet another wave of change. We cannot continue doing things the way we used to prior to the epidemic. There are major adjustments that need to be made. There is a new but rapidly changing reality that we have to contend with, we are unsure of what is going to happen next.
Most people want to recover and have their lives back. This is human nature, we have a need to be in control, and to make sense of what happens in our life. When these factors are lacking, we are thrown into disarray, and we feel uprooted from our foundation.
Some people are experiencing high levels of anxiety to go out – what will happen? Shall I be infected? Will I be able to do what I need to do? Wearing masks is a new norm, shall I get used to this lifestyle? This is causing remarkable irritability and crankiness, already evident in many locations. The stress levels are high. The other day, out of my studio window, I witnessed a verbal “fight” between two motorists. One had briefly stopped to allow a passenger to get off the car, and the other was behind him. It took the outgoing passenger less than a minute to get off, but the one behind him started hurling tough words at the driver in front of him. The one who was shouted at retaliated, and the shouting match became a real drama. It attracted the attention of several people, and everyone was shouting their opinion out loud. As I observed this event, I closed my window and sat to reflect, and this inspired me to write this article.
It is undeniable that there is so much uncertainty, but anxiety, fear, and aggression do not help improve the situation. Following are a few tips that could help to deal with this reality.
- Manage expectations: Most of our disappointments come from the expectations we place on ourselves, others, and life. We need to be realistic in our expectations, and also readjust them time and again
- Do what is in your power to do – there are things we can change, others we cannot. It is important to understand what we can do, and do it. Once we have done our very best, we leave the rest to the Higher Power
- Watch against falling back to addictive patterns and behaviors as a coping mechanism or self-medication. This only makes things worse
- Watch your thoughts – our thoughts give rise to how we feel, and this propels behavior, which ultimately defines our character and destiny. Mind what you think. A thought that you think over and over again becomes a belief, and this determines your attitude towards everything
- Focus on the positive things in your life, and express gratitude even for the most banal thing. You cannot be grateful and depressed at the same time
- Reach out to others – whenever we offer a hand to another person, we feel much better. Giving boosts our overall sense of wellbeing, and we help someone in need
- Replace stress hormones (adrenaline, cortisol, glucagon, prolactin,…) with good hormones (dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, endorphins…) through gratitude, mindfulness, doing fun activities, connecting with others in a healthy way, exercising, bonding, etc.
- Meditate– Russell Simmons reckons that meditation introduces us to the part of ourselves that has been missing – we cannot underestimate our potential! Meditation helps us to be in touch with this and also to focus on the present moment.
These are a few tips on how to deal with change. Remember that change is a normal part of life. We however need to remember that we are extremely resilient as human beings, and adaptive to what happens. Having an open mind will help us grow out of this experience, and make us better and not bitter.
Practice living life with an attitude of gratitude and embrace change as an opportunity for continuous renewal and growth.
Please share your views and experiences below – you just never know who you can inspire!