September is a big month for change: back to school, different job, no job, unfamiliar people, new location, ending relationships, shifting priorities. Many of us are facing one or more of these, and boy, is it stressful.
Of the life events listed in the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory, 80% are related to change, while the top ten are all big life changes. What can we do to better navigate upheavals, large and small? How do we take care of ourselves during times of stress?
1) Optimism – When you find yourself wishing things were different, turn your thoughts to the present. Find something that you CAN accept about your new situation. Remember your thoughts create your reality. If you only see the negative, you’re opening the door to the creation of a self-fulfilling prophecy.
2) Don’t Take your Thoughts as Fact – Separate your reactions to circumstances from reality. We will drive ourselves crazy making assumptions, trying to predict the future, and analyzing. Simplify your focus down to what you know, and don’t give the crazy racing thoughts in your head any more power.
3) Focus on the End Result – How do you want this situation to turn out? Define that goal in your mind. Write it down. Visualize it happening. Here’s where a self-fulfilling prophecy will work in your favor.
4) Know your Core Values – Knowing yourself and what is most centrally important to you builds confidence to deal with whatever comes your way. When you clearly define what you need to be happy, you build self-reliance and resilience.
5) Accept Change – It’s inevitable. Realizing this makes it a little less frightening. Instead of lamenting what you cannot control, focus on what you can. Try not to dwell on the “what ifs.”
Finally, remember Home and Comfort is Within You.
Podcast, Life Habits, Mentoring with Karl Vredenburg, July 12, 2013, Dealing with Change, with Mandy Kloppers. LH82.