I used to absolutely fear and dread any form of change. I can remember when I was a 10 year old sobbing every night during the summer holidays. Because my approaching last year at juniors meant they were going to mix up the two top classes. Resulting in my best friend and I no longer being in the same class. The uncertainty, loss and sense of insecurity were overriding and so scary to me at the time.
As a youngster and continuing in to my early forties I’d slip into panic and fear at largely any form of change.
Which is why I now understand why my ex husband and I stayed in our marriage for so long. We were clinging on to the wreckage by our finger nails. Refusing to accept that we were no longer in harmony, wanting and valuing the same things. It was so painful to separate. Yet incredibly liberating once we’d passed through the grief stage and moved on to acceptance.
Early Childhood Patterning
So why is it we tend to avoid change at any cost? Why do we prefer to stay stuck in the same boring job or unsatisfying relationships and friendships that have worn their course. Or kept on with the gym trainer, or coach who had passed their effectiveness.
Primarily it’s because as human beings our survival mechanism is habit, Habit gives us the comfort of feeling safe with what we know. As small children we flourish with structure, regular patterns that provide a sense of security. If change isn’t handed well, when we are young. As adults we fail to develop the tools to cope and adjust to change.
Psychologists have found that those children who survive and adapt to change are those who understand the reason for the change. This is best achieved when the new plan, and the benefits are communicated by the adult, so that the child feels a part of the process. If a child has been brought up to go along with change without the opportunity to question or understand the reasoning why, that’s when fear and panic take a hold.
This is because in the face of uncertainty, our brain activity is heightened. The brain is constantly working to make sense of situations, and will tend towards familiar patterns first. The problem arises with many change situations, when there are numerous gaps in the patterning and no definite facts to fill the void. Consequently this leads to over thinking and fabrication of potential outcomes. We can spend hours of wasted time focusing on the dreadful and scary things that may never happen.
The brain is programmed to fill the voids by imagining the worst possible scenario, which results in reinforcing resistance to the change.
Covid-19 and the Pattern Interrupt
The Covid- 19 pandemic has forced us to make major adjustments to our ‘normal’. It’s literally stopped us in our tracks as to how we work, how we parent, how we socialise and how we adjust to an ever changing situation.
For many it has destabilised and divided our loyalty and friendships. I know of numerous people who have let go of long established friendships that were no longer cemented by the same shared values.
The pandemic has created what we refer to as hypnotherapists giant pattern interrupt. Covid-19 has taken the world by surprise. Alongside has come grief, anger, disbelief, and a sense of injustice. For those stuck with the sense of feeling scared of the new, they feel deeply uncomfortable, fearful and can’t wait to jump right back to how it was. On the flip side for many it has created an opportunity to reset our normal patterns and routines.
When we look at how we have individually responded to the pandemic and what has been enforced on us those who have learnt to be comfortable with change have adapted best to the fluctuating Covid-19 landscape.
Naturalist Darwin is reported to have said “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change”. I believe this to be true. You only have to look how so many businesses have adapted and taken their businesses on line. Or how some hospitality businesses have reinvented themselves and adapted to the physical distancing stipulations. Those more adaptable and creative thinkers have gone on to thrive.
Hypnotherapy Gives you Tools to Embrace Change
In my hypnotherapy mindset coaching practice I help give clients the tools to take an active part in their personal change process. Below I have identified some actions you make like to consider to move you towards feeling in control of change.
Opportunity –Can you see change as an opportunity? A great coaching mantra that really helped me get excited to embrace change is when I was introduced to Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, who is quoted as saying “change is the only constant in life.” You just can’t argue with that can you?
How can you see change as an opportunity? I remember our CEO’s response to key members of the organisation when they handed in their notice. Once she had acknowledged their value to the organisation and they’d left her office. She would rub her hands with glee and say “One door closes and another door opens. What fresh ideas and expertise can we welcome with the new appointee?”
Mindset- You can learn to control your mindset and perception of the changing situation. Remember fear kicks in when you feel it is of your control you have no choices, and feel disempowered. You can start by breaking down your fear- by understanding the fear acronym:
Breathe -You can harness those galloping thoughts that focus on the worst possible scenario by reining them. Simply by breathing fully and deeply acts as an instant response to your flight, fight or freeze reaction and calms down your fear and panic. When we are fearful the body goes into a state of defence. Our pulse and heart rate goes up, we release the stress hormone cortisol and panic set in.
Invest in your value-Focus on those things that are a definite given. Begin with the small things. Control how much news or negativity and scare mongering you expose yourself to on social media or people you speak to. How can you spend more time on those things and people that give you satisfaction. Focus on how you can help yourself and others to give you a sense of feeling valued and purposeful. What it is in your life that no longer brings you joy and pleasure? What’s getting in your way and stopping you from moving on to a new job or a new partner even a new hairdresser?
What else is possible? If you can only see a brick wall or the negative side to the situation flip the coin and “ask what else is possible”? Notice where you are feeling discomfort when you do this?
Get help -If you struggle to adapt to change hypnotherapy helps you to identify any unresolved incidents you are holding on to from your past. Situations where you felt you were not in control or where you were left feeling uncertain and insecure. Did you have an opportunity to unpick or express your opinion? The hypnotherapy sessions guide you through a process to accepting a more positive attitude and accepting the potential of the change .
From someone who was once traumatised by change I have grown to embrace it and see it as an exciting new prospect to go on and create new options to enhance my life. Yes, I still can be resistant to certain situations. With the tools I have I can recognise why and where my sticking points are being triggered.