How to Embrace Change, Let Go and Make the Most Out of Uncertain Times
Currently, we are living in an extremely unpredictable time. It seems as if we are constantly being asked to adjust due to the many challenges we continue to face. Nothing is certain. Not only do we not know what is happening day to day, we don’t know what is happening moment to moment. Everywhere we look we see some new threat, some new information, some new requirement we have to deal with. It is exhausting and a little disconcerting to say the least. Everything seems to be in a constant state of change.
Change can be very challenging to handle. Constancy makes us feel secure. When we know what to expect, we can plan for what is ahead of us. What do we do then, when we don’t know what is coming next and we can’t prepare for what is needed? In other words, how do we embrace change, let go, and still manage to function effectively.
Here are three key tips and strategies that might help you to let go and embrace change:
Pay Attention to Your Perspective
Often when things change, we go into a panic or fearful mindset, looking at all the ways this can negatively impact us. This is when it is important to take a minute to shift our perspective and see if our thinking is helping or hurting the situation. When reacting to uncertainty we often find ourselves thinking in catastrophizing and unproductive ways. In order to combat these patterns here are some things to consider:
- Am I jumping to the worst possible conclusion?
- Am I thinking in extreme (all-or-nothing) terms?
- Am I using words like ‘always’ and ‘never’ and overgeneralizing?
- Am I jumping to conclusions and predicting the future instead of waiting to see what happens?
- Am I focusing on the negative and overlooking the positive?
- Am I listening too much to my negative gut feelings instead of looking at the objective facts?
- Am I possibly misinterpreting the evidence at hand? Am I making any assumptions?
- Is my current perspective an old tape on replay?
- Does my current perspective prevent me from happiness, abundance, and peace?
- What is my current perspective costing me? What have I missed out on?
Once you have determined how your thinking is affecting your perspective, you want to reframe your thought process to create a productive and positive response. Some of the best ways to do this are by igniting your curiosity, focusing on the benefits of the situation, and remembering with change there is always new opportunities for learning and growth. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What might this look like if I were seeing this situation for the first time?
- What skills do I possess that can help me get what I want out of this situation?
- What can I learn from this experience? How can I grow from this challenge?
- If I were twice as strong and twice as confident, what decision would I make?
Our perspective determines our response and contributes to our happiness and positive outlook when things seem uncertain. So just taking a minute to understand and choose our perspective can make all the difference.
Determine Your Response:
You may not be able to control anything that is happening around you, but you can have control over your response to it. Often when we experience change, we find ourselves in a state of reaction – an immediate, instinctive, knee-jerk emotional experience that occurs before we have a chance to process what is happening. This is when we feel most out of control. When we instead have a moment to make a conscious choice about our circumstances, we begin to regain control by having a thought-out response to whatever challenges confront us.
When we react to something we panic, then we proceed. When we respond to something we pause, process, plan, and then proceed. This simple distinction can help us embrace the challenges change brings. To begin responding instead of reacting you can follow this simple PLAN.
When experiencing the stress that change brings implement the PLAN acronym to form a positive response:
P – Pause – Take a minute to breath and notice your reaction.
L – Label Your Reaction – Name what you are feeling.
A – Ask Yourself Why – What scares you about this change?
N – New Response – What matters most in this situation? What opportunity is available to me? How can I respond in a productive way?
Often when change occurs, we have a desire to resist it or retreat from it, but if we actually think about moving towards it, opportunities can open up for us in ways we never imagined. Therefore, when we are presented with change, we need to take a moment to emotionally regulate ourselves so we can drop into our inner wisdom and respond in a way that helps us seize the opportunities available.
Lastly, now that you have examined your approach and made a conscious choice of how to handle the ever-changing landscape, it is time to surrender. One of the most important things we need to realize is that there are so many things that are out of our control. Once we have done everything that is in our control, we have to let go and trust that we will get through whatever comes our way. When we resist change it only makes it harder. Surrender is very powerful. By accepting what is, embracing new opportunities, and going with the natural flow of things, we begin to have the space and wherewithal to enjoy the good in our lives. We begin to realize all that change makes POSSIBLE.
Use the POSSIBLE acronym to learn how to surrender:
P – Practice patience with whatever is occurring
O – Open your mind to having a positive outcome
S – Suspend Judgement
S – Say yes as much as you can
I – Intercept resistance by opening your heart
B – Be open to the present Moment
L –Look for moments of silence and solace
E- Embrace the unknown