images-3As I discussed in my last post, change is inevitable and often uncomfortable, but it doesn’t have to derail you. The key to navigating change is to make an internal shift: Let go of how things used to be and adjust to the way things are now. This shift opens the doors for something new to begin and allows change to transform, rather than unnerve you.

Here are 6 tips to help you navigate change with grace, beauty and ease:

1. Embrace Change

While you can’t control change, you can control your response to change. You have two choices: Resist or Embrace it. Resistance is futile. It accomplishes nothing positive and doesn’t stop change from happening. Plus, resistance wears you out, blocks transformation, increases unhappiness and discontentment and usually makes the situation worse, not better. Plus, resistance creates more problems because we may drink too much, binge eat or find other ways to avoid our moment-to-moment experience.

Conversely, embracing change lets life flow and allows change to transform you. When you embrace change you open the doors of acceptance, up your opportunity quotient and empower life to take you in the direction you need to go. As Joseph Campbell says:

We must be willing to let go of the life we have so we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.

Keep the faith. Giving up control is difficult, but there is something greater than you imagined waiting for you.

 

2. Grow

Once you embrace, acknowledge and accept change you can start to allow it to help you grow. To nurture the growth process, ask yourself: What am I learning from this experience? What lessons is life trying to teach me? How can I use this experience to become a better person? To nurture the change process, recognize that change is helping you to grow stronger. Then ask for guidance and thank the change process for helping you transform.

 

3. Lighten-up

There are numerous ways to lighten up. First don’t take yourself so seriously. As Michael Singer explains: “You’re sitting on a planet spinning around in the middle of absolutely nowhere.” Stop constantly trying to figure everything out.

Smile, you’ll release feel good chemicals called endorphins that will make you happier and less stressed. Take a break and have some fun. Play with your kids or the dog. Bake cookies. Watch a silly movie or stand-up comedy. Walk in the woods or jump in a lake. Buy a ridiculous hat or sunglasses and wear them to remind yourself to lighten up.

Lighten your load. While it’s tempting to take on more to speed up or distract yourself from the change process, doing more is counterproductive and wears you out. Take something off your plate, and just say NO. Do you really have to volunteer for the PTA, Meals on Wheels and coaching soccer?

 

 4. Center Yourself

A wheel symbolizes change because the universe works more like a circle than a line. Life constantly repeats itself over and over again bringing fresh opportunities. Good days follow bad days, which follow weird days that lead back to good days. Once you recognize the pattern you can break free. You can stop clinging to the outside of the wheel and getting dizzy and move to the center.

There are numerous ways to get centered and calm your mind. The simplest is to take a few deep breaths and release your thoughts. That’s right, just stop thinking for a couple of seconds, then rinse and repeat throughout the day whenever you notice your ruminating and driving yourself crazy with worry.

Another powerful centering technique is visualization. When you’re feeling stressed close your eyes and imagine yourself in a beautiful place feeling happy, healthy, safe and loved. Affirmations can also be very helpful for centering. Silently repeating a mantra such as “everything’s going to be alright” or “I am enough” immediately centers you. What ever technique you use, take time each day to focus your mind and heart on how you can find purpose and add value to the world.

 

5. Take Care of Your Self

You’ll weather change better if you take care of yourself. Exercise daily. Get enough rest and sleep. Eat sensibly and go easy on sugar, caffeine and alcohol. Don’t Diet. While you may be tempted to count calories or restrict your eating because it gives you a false sense of control when everything feels out of control, DON’T. Dieting increases stress and the lack of calories will make you feel tired and run down.

 

6. Practice Self-compassion

When change nocks be your own best friend. That’s the essence of self-compassion. When you’re suffering from the effects of change figure out what you need physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally and relationally to feel better. Make a list of all the ways you’d like take care of yourself. Then when you feel stressed out look at your list and chose something that will help you feel better.

Ditch the belief that everyone else matters more than you. Stop putting everyone else first. Listen to Buddha:

“You yourself as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.”

Opt out of the judgment game. While it’s tempting to seek blame, beat yourself up and have a pity party those old behaviors are destructive. Forgive and forget. Stop complaining. Put your hand on your heart and tell yourself: Everybody suffers, it’s part of life, may I be kind to myself, may I give myself what I need

As my teacher and mentor Kristin Neff explains:

“Self-compassion has the power to radically transform our mental and emotional reality… By changing the way we relate to our own imperfection and pain we can actually change our experience of living.  When we wrap our suffering in the cocoon of compassion something new emerges. Something wonderful, exquisite, beautiful.”

Need help navigating change? Let’s connect and explore how I can help you create a life you love filled with purpose and meaning. To book a free consult click HERE.

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