The psychology of Change - or how to become more resilient
Updated: Mar 13
All of life will present changes to us. We ebb and flow with work and relationships, differing mental states and health along with physical changes. At times we will know if a change is going to happen, but more often than not it hits us with surprise. Perhaps it’s a wonderfully surprising event, or some out-of-the-blue disappointment.
Lots of people put a lot of energy into avoiding changes, but it will catch up with them at some point in the future. If you are unable to cope with the change however, even a minor amount of additional stress can make it feel overwhelming. You may struggle and feel like that you have no control over life.
Being able to cope with change in our case is called resilience. Although your upbringing or biological inheritance can affect your resilience ability, the amount you have is not static. It can be added to or removed from. When you actively practice different ways of behaving or thinking you can however boost your ability to deal with these life changes. There are a couple of key points where you can concentrate on for maximum benefit however - we’ll look at these in detail.
Your personal level of control
It can be overwhelming to fixate on events that we have no control over, or with people with fixed opinions and / or attitudes. You can turn this around however by not concentrating on blaming others, but instead looking at aspects that you have control over. For example ‘What can I do to take more responsibility for this situation’? When you are empowering yourself to work towards positive changes, you’re less able to fixate on feeling stuck in those situations.
After a loss, practice self-care
In life often it’s the transitions that are most difficult to resolve. This can be anything from a loss of a relationship or job, to the loss of a loved one. If you are in a position where you are dealing with a transition, it’s important not to push away or disregard any grief that you may feel. The loss needs to be acknowledged, and when you do it’s easier to find some learning from the experience. Support is always available from your peer group, friends or professional counsellors and therapists - if you feel like you require extra support.
Check your though patterns - or CBT whilst you CTP!
It’s easy to cut corners when in a transition - your view of the world may be polarised into black and white views, or you can assume that the worst will befall everyone at every stage. If you take the time to asses your thought patterns you can be able to nudge these in the correct direction - towards resilience. If you are unable to find ways to slow down your ‘monkey mind’ (as the buddhists call it) you may want to look at mindfulness or meditation. Positive thoughts can also be placed front and centre - make a list of when you have been resilient at times in your life, and see what traits and experiences you used to get through these difficult times. When you focus on your strengths instead of your weaknesses you are more empowered to see off challenges in the future.