How do you respond when change doesn't seem like it will be positive for you?
Daily news reports continue to tell us about changes in the economy, employment, and politics. Sometimes it's good news; other times it isn't. Change can be good when you can see the benefits and feel in control. However, it can be overwhelming and contribute to feelings of being out of control when the impact is negative.
Here are some things we know about change.
When you have a choice about a change you are going through, it usually generates positive feelings. This is especially true when you clearly see benefits from the change. Unfortunately, this may not be true for some changes you face.
Many people I have talked to over the last couple of years needed to find appropriate work, reinvent themselves, and in some cases even scale back their lifestyle. Situations that threaten your work, family, and/or home can create depression, anxiety, and fear. These feelings tend to slow down your effort to move forward because they make it difficult to be motivated, consider options, and make good decisions. While this is understandable, it does not have to be this way.
Kathryn Britton, a coach and contributing writer for the Positive Psychology News Daily (http://pos-psych.com), reminds readers that making changes often means changing habits. This requires a keen self-awareness, effort, and perseverance. It takes many repetitions of a new behavior to stop behaviors that have become automatic.
You can begin to make change positive by asking yourself and answering the following 5 questions:
- Do you believe you can make the change? If your answer is "no," try to find a different way of looking at the situation. For instance, what part of the change might be possible for you? Do you know someone who has successfully made the change? Are you willing to find out what was helpful to him or her?
- What behavior can you change that will make reaching your next goal easier? This is especially helpful if you are feeling anxious or depressed. For instance, Positive Psychology research indicates that exercise decreases stress, anxiety and sadness. Calmness opens up neural pathways making it easier to focus and learn new things. Daily meditation helps you have more control over your thoughts which reduces negative emotions and increases self-control. This can make it easier to stop addictive behaviors such as smoking.
- What has changed about your situation or your environment that might make it easier to change a habit? For instance, if your work location changes, you might not be driving by a coffee shop to get your coffee. If nothing has changed in your situation, you may need to create an artificial change to build your confidence. What kind of change can you create? Do you need to make another change first to build your confidence? Maybe you can create a change by not purchasing unhealthy food. This makes it easier for you to follow a healthy eating plan.
- How can you use your strengths at work and in your personal life? Martin Seligman, a leading researcher in Positive Psychology, believes it is sometimes necessary to work hard to manage a weakness to prevent failure. However, it does not help you reach excellence. Only using your strengths make reaching excellence possible. Which of your strengths can you rely on to make change positive for you?
- How can you be hopeful about your future? Remember, hope is a realistic assessment of a situation. When you are hopeful, you choose to focus on the chance there will be a positive outcome and on the small steps needed to be successful. For instance, instead of focusing on the problem, are you willing to see solutions? Yes, the problem needs to be identified. Then you need to focus on looking for solutions. "I am out of work" identifies the problem. "These are steps I will take while I am looking for employment" focuses on solutions.
Furthermore, making change positive is often easier with social support. Be sure to be in contact with people who are supportive of you and show you respect. Having a friend or group to check in with helps establish accountability.
In summary, it is possible to make change positive for yourself. What you believe about the change will affect the choices you make because it affects your mindset. If you believe something is possible, it is easier to have hope and think of small steps you can take.
Look for behaviors you can change to make reaching your goals easier. Creating a change, if none is there, makes it easier to change a habit. During change, being hopeful is highly correlated with productivity and well being.
Which of the 5 questions will you use to make sure the changes you are going through are positive? Leave your comments below.
Until next time,