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How to Navigate Change Positively | Martine Cullum | Cozy Author www.martinecullumwrites.com


How to Navigate Change Positively.


Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, once wrote, “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” I’d like to add a third inevitability ~ change.


Adjusting to any change, even the positive transformations we choose for ourselves can be difficult to navigate. You might decide to take a new job, which will challenge you; although you know you will be out of your comfort zone for a time. When things are beyond our control, sudden change can leave us spinning somewhat making it feel harder to adapt. If something negative happens to us we can often feel like the rug has been pulled out beneath our feet. Whilst we might like to at times, we cannot avoid change, but we can react positively; regaining control and improving our resilience to negative events.  


 

Why does the brain not like change?


Why are people so resistant to change if it is not only inevitable but frequent? The answer rests in the neuroscience of our grey matter. The unconscious middle and lower brain forms patterns. Although no two days are the same, elements of our days are expected. We anticipate that those commonly around us will be in a certain place, at a similar time and for them to behave in particular ways.


These neural pathways are the reason why humans don’t like change. These pathways are formed and continually strengthen over time through repetition - effectively we continue to see the world how we have told our brains to do so. When familiarity is removed, our ‘flight, flight, freeze’ response can make us experience unconscious anxiety, frustration, and even feelings of grief.


Just this simple understanding of how the reactive brain works will help to shift your perspective on change. You can then look to reframe situations and create new neural pathways. Whilst this process doesn’t happen overnight, it can only take a few months to steadily become accustomed to your new situation. However, this depends upon the change – adjustment can take much longer if we are adapting to a significant negative life event, such as divorce or the loss of a family member.



 

How to navigate change.


Allow yourself to feel.

Much like the stages of grief, you might experience a period of denial, anger or bargaining as you resist change. However, being honest with yourself, will create opportunities, and often personal growth.


When it comes to our emotional well-being, one of the most important things we can do is to listen to our inner voice. Tune in to how we are really feeling. Accepting the way things are is the first step to navigating change and uncertainty because the reality is that you cannot force yourself to feel one way or another. You feel how you feel. Don’t compare yourself to others. This helps you to manage your expectations when it comes to your personal journey of acceptance and adjustment.


When we are feeling nervous, out of depth or completely overwhelmed, it’s important to remind ourselves that everything is temporary to prevent catastrophising and rumination. Talk to yourself as you would a friend, be kind, understanding and compassionate.


Practice Equanimity.

Positive Psychology refers to Equanimity as the “Holy grail of calmness and grace”. This state of psychological balance and stability is our brain’s unique ability to remain calm and composed when faced with a difficult or even traumatic situation. You’ll have met those people in life who seem to have the innate ability to take everything in their stride.


Equanimity undoubtedly helps us to handle life’s curveballs. The good news is as we’re all born with it, we can all cultivate it. The simplest way to practice is to simply pause before you respond to anything. Notice and tune into your breath, just for a few seconds; so, you momentarily take a step back.


Routine.

Familiarity brings comfort, and our daily routines provide us with stability. Even during times of change, there are things we can control; that may be something simple, like the time we wake.


It's important to control elements of your routine that make you feel good for your self-care - exercise, mindfulness, meditation or simply sitting with the sunshine on your face – all can be powerful mood boosters.


 

Reflection.

When we’re navigating a substantial change, time appears to go a little slower. We start to feel frustrated that we aren’t feeling more positive, faster. Due to the human disposition towards negative bias, the chances are that you’ve come a lot further than you believe. If the change wasn’t your choice, remember that abrupt changes can also result in low mood, which can make seeing your progress harder.


Taking a little time to reflect through journaling or committing to a form of gratitude practice helps you to carve out time to stop, reflect and savour all that has been good. Chart your progress by writing down positive events each day to see how far you’ve come on paper.


Undoubtedly, you’ll have experienced hard times in life, that you have already navigated and come out the other side. Don’t reflect for too long on these, but simply recall you’ve been through x or y and are stronger for it.


Connection.

Many of the most meaningful times of our lives are strongly associated with our interactions with others. Our receptive brain seeks connection, as such when we engage, we feel good. Humans value community and the support we receive from those around us.


Sharing that you feel anxious, frightened, or overwhelmed lightens the load. Purposeful conversations with a close friend or possibly a professional, help us to navigate challenging times more easily.


Step outside of your comfort zone.

If you have anxiety, even reading the sentence above can feel daunting, but once you start to do so, your anxiety will likely reduce. After all, you are producing new habitual neural pathways.


You can take greater control by initiating the change. If something isn’t as you’d like it to be, be solutions-focused - welcome apprehension, take a leap of faith, and trust that your bravery will be rewarded.


You never step in the same river twice.

Zen Saying.

 

Whether positive or negative, change cannot be prevented; and in our fast-paced world, it is perhaps more frequent than ever. We may not always welcome life’s transitions, but without it, inertia would consume our lives.


Although it can be difficult to navigate, embracing change can result in personal growth and new opportunities. One door may close, but by remaining positive, another will open.


By using some of the practices above, we can teach our brains to adapt to negative change in a similar way that we adjust to positive transformations. As we recalibrate to our new reality, we will become more resilient to life’s changes, which are completely beyond our control.


 

As a fiction writer, I like to think of life as a series of chapters in an exciting novel with plot twists and turns. When reading a book that you don’t want to put down, you might find yourself thinking, “Just one more chapter; I must see what happens next.”


With equanimity, acceptance, and a little support, you can instil this same outlook to your own autobiography. You might even become more open to change, which in turn will help you to say a big ‘yes’ to life.


 

With a passion for the spiritual world, well-being and simply making the world a nicer place to be, Martine Cullum’s contemporary romance, urban fantasy and cozy crime series, Moons & Runes, portrays a heart-warming story of friendship and positivity. One of the UK’s best fantasy writers, Martine’s spiritual books of friendship are available to order online. Find out more about the Moons & Runes series and The POISE Archives - Visit Martine Cullum’s Amazon store, today. >>   

 

 




 


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