Dealing with Change

Topics: Heather Bussing, HRExaminer, by Heather Bussing

Change is stressful. Even really good change.

Change is stressful. Even really good change.

Change is stressful. Even really good change.

Here’s a list of stressful life events that includes some really great things like graduation and outstanding achievements. But even little changes can be stressful.

Change at work is always stressful. Whether it’s a new policy, implementing new software or systems, new duties, or new co-workers, it’s easy to get caught up in the change itself and lose perspective.

Here are some of the things I’ve learned, and some of the tools that have helped me deal with change.

  1. Don’t Fight Change. Change happens every minute of every day. It would be easier if it didn’t. Maybe. But avoiding change is almost always more stressful than learning to roll with it. Fighting change is a waste of energy.
  2. Choose Your Change. Just because everything changes, doesn’t mean you have to go along with every change. Before you invest the time and energy in a new project, software program, process, job, or relationship, make sure it’s something you want.
  3. Accept Change. Whether you chose the change or not, begin where you’re at. Today. With the situation at hand. Acceptance does not mean you have to like it, you approve, or that you are even mildly okay with what’s happening. But it’s what’s happening. So you have to start there. Let go of the coulda, woulda, shouldas. Look back at what to do differently when you are through dealing with this change. When you’re in it, you can’t see it clearly anyway.
  4. Lose the Drama. Drama is exhausting. Drama is about getting attention. Change just happens. It may not even be about you.
  5. Have Mixed Feelings. We have mixed feelings about most things, most of the time. Our culture and our brains like to label everything as either good or bad, black or white. But when we do that, we leave out all the other colors, feelings, and possibilities for insight. Things are not inherently good or bad. They just are. The way we view things is entirely dependent on whether what is happening is what we want. But when we can put that down, there’s a chance to see more clearly. Then whole new options begin to open up.
  6. Wait to Respond. You can’t really change other people, places, or things. But you can change the way you react to them. In order to do that, you have to take care of yourself. Take a break. Get some rest, or exercise, or advice, or chocolate. Don’t make decisions when you are angry, overwhelmed, tired, or distraught.
  7. Be Curious. Being able to ask questions, explore, and try out new ideas is the key to dealing with change. It’s almost never what you think it is at first. Or at least, it doesn’t have to be.

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