5 Practices for Starting Off On the Right Foot When a Change is Unwanted


Unwanted changes knock us off guard. You know, the tsunami of anger, shock, denial, and fear that accompanies a dreaded announcement of a change in our relationship to something. At that moment, there are surging hormones that toss you into the physical and emotional effects of fright or flight.


When unchecked, the emotional surge can cause us to act out, say things we regret, and be off-putting to those relationships we want to maintain.


So, how can you start off on the right foot when the end isn't your choice?

1) SLOW DOWN YOUR IMMEDIATE REACTION TO HORMONAL SURGES.

Slow your chemical reactions down to prevent acting out, feel less stress, anxiety, and fear. Here are a few ways to physically slow down:

  • Breathe.

  • Go outside, do something physical.

  • Remove yourself from the situation.

2) COLLECT YOUR THOUGHTS TO REDUCE THE FEELING OF OVERWHELM. Overwhelm is a barrage of negative emotions.

  • Acknowledge, accept and normalize what you're going through.

  • Reverse how you're thinking. Knowing the way you are thinking about the situation is feeding overwhelm. So when you find yourself having these self-defeating thoughts, please take note and stop them.

  • Create little distractions that will take your mind off the situation at hand. For example, what do you have to do right now, an hour from now, two hours from now?

  • Know the intensity of what you're feeling will not last forever.

3) FOCUS ON THE PRESENT

It's natural to worry and feel uncertain. But what you're worried about hasn't happened yet. So, when you find yourself examining what if, you're exacerbating the fright or flight hormones.

Instead, pay attention to what is happening at the moment will help your brain refocus and reduce anxiety and fear.

4) FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL

You have no control over what others do. But you do have control over your behaviors and how you react to your feelings. Recognizing this will increase your coping abilities and boost your self-esteem.

5) CHOOSE HOW YOU WANT TO FEEL AND BEHAVE.

Your feelings shape your thoughts: they direct your behaviors and how you see the world. Thus, your feelings attract your reality.

You can choose how you want to feel about the situation. I'm not suggesting you consent to an unwanted situation. But instead of feeling out of control in it, would you prefer to feel calm? Do you want to feel like a victim or instead feel victorious? Once you decide how you want to feel, it's easier to chart a course to get there.

It's challenging to come to terms when an unwanted change has been thrust upon you. However, when you are self-aware and at the moment practice regulating your emotions and thoughts, you'll increase your resilience, feel better, find creative solutions to the challenge ahead. As a result, you'll have less ruination and better outcomes.