Sarah Woodward Hypnotherapy

Change happens. The world around us and our lives within it are forever changing. Day by day things never stay exactly same.

Some changes are good and some are bad. Some are expected and some are not and can come as a shock. Even good changes can be hard to adjust to at times.

Why Is Change So Hard To Deal With?

Why is it that even positive changes can make us feel anxious and stressed out?

The Reason:

Our brains don’t like ANY change whether it’s negative or positive, change is icky and uncomfortable – FACT! 

The way we know this in our day to day lives is we feel stressed. 

But why?

Well, to answer this we need to dive back in time to say….200,000 years ago! This was about the time our human brain last had an upgrade!

Life was incredibly different for our ancestors back then and quite rightly they were on a constant alert for danger.

Our lives are generally speaking, a LOT safer than that of the caveman. Our daily challenges are vastly different to those of our early counterparts, but we DO still have that same primitive part of the brain on constant look out for danger. 

So, rather than being on the lookout for sabre toothed tigers, some of the threats present in our modern lives can be a change in what we perceive as the norm in our relationships, working situation, financial security etc.

Now, we KNOW these aren’t life threatening events but that self preservation part of our brain doesn’t – frankly, it’s not intelligent and it cannot reason. It only responds to the way we’re feeling and if we’re feeling negative and stressed then it’s going to activate the Fight, Flight & Freeze response. 

Quite simply, we go into Survival Mode EVEN though we know consciously that it’s not a life or death situation and it’s not very helpful right now.

Coping with Change SWH



So, How Can I Cope Better With Change?

  1. Acknowledge that change is happening, 

    It’s much easier to acknowledge and accept that changes are taking place, rather than trying to ignore them and be in denial.

  2.  Choose to look for the positives you can draw from the change.

    Let’s use the example of a good change, a promotion at work: Imagine you have successfully interviewed for a promotion at work (Congratulations by the way!). You’re looking forward to the new role and all you can learn, you feel excited and confident with a “Let’s do this” attitude. You’re looking forward to getting started, smiling from ear to ear and doing all you can to get everything in place for a smooth transition. It feels amazing doesn’t it! Now imagine yourself landing that promotion you really wanted but thinking with a negative perspective. Thoughts like “What if I don’t fit in? I’ll mess up, I’m not capable of the job, the other candidates we’re all so much better than me” your feelings then change. In fact they did just now reading the words here on the screen! 

  3. Remember that even positive change can cause stress.

    Stress is just our brains keeping us safe, being on alert for danger and checking in on our feelings. If we concentrate on the positives then that stress will reduce as we settle into the change. If we concentrate on the negatives the stress will continue to build and eventually result in a triggering of the Fight, Flight & Freeze response.

  4. Be Active. 

    Keep to your existing routine as much as possible and try to spend time outside for at least 30 minutes each day. 

  5. Talk it through. 

    Speaking to trusted friends and family can be incredibly helpful when adjusting to change, as long as it’s productive! Getting together to look for solutions is great, getting together to offload and only talk negatively has the opposite effect and just magnifies the issue.

  6.  Seek Help. 

    Choosing to work with a therapist can make a huge difference. If you’ve been inclined to think negatively for a long period of time it can be a difficult habit to break on your own. Working with a therapist can give you the time and space you need to address your feelings in a managed way, preventing your thoughts from zipping off on negative tangents and helping you to find the solutions you need to take your next steps.



Useful Resources

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