With the chilly days of Autumn sauntering in this past weekend, subtle changes appeared among the wildlife, flowers and trees in my yard. Autumn delights me every year as my cherished among the seasons with its vibrant changes; but not all of life’s changes bring me equal pleasure. In fact, change often invites uneasiness; yet, embracing change without the anxiety seems implausible at best or is it?
Welcome to Mindfulness Monday! Where we learn some easy ways to be more present “in the moment” at our jobs, in our homes, with our families and friends.
Learning to recognize God and what He has for us in each divine moment He offers. We acknowledge the belief that God is with us always.
We confess His presence is available to us, lifting our spirit and helping us with power and grace. Learning the art of “stillness” so we can hear His voice and view ourselves, others and our surroundings through His eyes.
change causes anxiety
As human beings, we naturally gravitate toward routines, making us creatures of habit. Hard-wired for this purpose, our brains seek protection in predictability.
Preferring the status quo over change, the majority of people view change in general, as negative.
Alternatively, many people argue for the positivity of change. Even for those acknowledging the benefit of change, a measure of trepidation prevents them from fully embracing change without the anxiety.
why change causes anxiety
Many factors about change fuels anxious feelings. Intensely personal, anxiety sources range from the simplistic to the complex; we can, however, consider a few primary root causes enabling a starting point.
- Fear of failure. Rooted in pride, a basic fear of failing, wasting time, accomplishing little or looking foolish.
- Loss of control. Change interferes with autonomy because it is imposed by an outside force.
- Excess uncertainty. Change perpetuates unanswered questions; resulting in feeling paralyzed in moving forward.
- Fear of discomfort. Change implies inconvenience, extra effort and even physical or emotional pain.
- Unknown outcomes. Rooted in suspicion, a fear of inadequate information, perceived danger or unpleasant results.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:Ecclesiates 3:1
embracing the benefits of change
Understanding some root causes for change driven anxiety provides insight into more personal reasons of resistance. From this starting point, a shift towards embracing change without the anxiety occurs when you view the benefits of change.
As the seasons transition one into another, year after year, change, a natural part of life visits each one of us, often without warning.
Despite the uneasiness invoked by impending change, viewing the positive advantages of change alters negative mindsets and opens possibilities for personal growth.
incentives for embracing change
Undoubtedly, embracing change creates apprehension and at times resentment. Apprehension in the face of unknown outcomes and resentment over the loss of the status quo. But when viewed through the lens of positive gain, reframing change offers many opportunities.
- Education. Regardless of success, change offers the opportunity for learning new things both about yourself, others and your world.
- Improvement. Apart from change, no personal growth or development occurs.
- Resilience. Change reveals your strengths and capabilities.
- Adaptability. Embracing change builds flexibility towards future change with less fuss.
- Courage. Accepting change puts you face to face with your fears, and pushes you through your fear building courage.
- Gratitude. Welcoming change fosters gratitude for all of life, realizing at times we grow better in the hard places.
- Empathy. Facing the adversity of change improves your connection to others; enabling better understanding and new perspectives as you view them through your own experiences with change.
- Trust. Surrendering to change acknowledges God’s sovereignty in your life and strengthens faith in His good care.
“The only thing that is constant is change.”Heraclitus
how to embrace change without the anxiety
Though completely unavoidable, most people view change as optional. Certainly some changes fall into the elective category, such as losing weight, re-locating or hairstyle alterations. Yet, even these at times become non-negotiables.
Whether your initial reaction to imposed or suggested change results in anger, overwhelm or anxiety, eventually you navigate the necessary adaptation and move on.
But what if embracing change facilitated the arrival at a place of calm acceptance much sooner?
flip the script
While controlling whether or not changes occur in your life is not an option, controlling your thoughts surrounding the change helps you embrace rather than resist the change. Which ironically keeps you in control of how you move through the change instead of feeling like a victim.
My favorite way of combating initial negativity surrounding change; “flip the script” forces me to see a bigger picture and opportunities God has for me.
- I can’t deal with all of these changes.
- I’ve always done it this way; why change now?
- The change will make everything more difficult.
- What if it doesn’t work?
- I have too many unanswered questions.
- I can’t do this.
- This is a turning point in my life; a new opportunity for personal and spiritual growth.
- Learning a new approach to an old problem improves my problem solving skills.
- Things may be more difficult in the beginning, but over time it will become easier.
- If it doesn’t work, I will learn a valuable lesson. Besides what if it succeeds?
- I don’t have to have all my questions answered to move forward.
- I can do all things through Christ; which strengthens me.
“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.”John C. Maxwell
mindfully embracing change
By first creating a mental shift in how you view change, you create a hard stop for thought induced anxiety. Bringing racing thoughts to a stop, plants you in the present moment rather than a fear based future.
Uncertainty fuels reactivity because it feels uncomfortable and the natural tendency toward removing the uncertainty drives your thoughts.
Mindfully embracing change helps you slow down, change perspective and better understand your needs in the situation. Incorporate a time for quietly sitting before the Lord on successive days; have your Bible and a journal nearby.
Creating Space For Change
Find a quiet, undisturbed place; practice mindful deep breathing for five minutes. Inhale for a count of four, exhale for a count of eight. Focus on your breathing. Transition to an awareness of God’s Presence with you.
Avoid dumping your concerns, fears and worries in God’s lap for a quick fix. Simply sit quietly allowing Him to calm your anxious heart and thoughts. Pray through a favorite verse like Isaiah 26:3-4 or Psalm 94:19.
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.Psalm 94:19
End your time by journaling through any emotions or persistant negative thoughts. Close by writing a brief prayer of surrender to the change and trust in God’s good purpose through the change.
the beauty of embracing change
The loveliness of autumn reminds me of the impermanence of life; wildlife, plants, trees undergo constant change. For a brief moment, melancholy eclipses autumn’s vibrancy, as I bid farewell to summer’s beauties in my garden.
Their parting soliloquy whispers, “linger in gratitude for the present moment’s delights, for change bids us come away.”
Savoring all God permits in our lives with thanksgiving in the present moment, prepares us for the release of change without regret. The beauty of embracing change rests not in resenting what will be lost, but in the full surrender of accepting God’s good and perfect purpose in change.