by: Maurine Patten
Change – it seems to be all around us. Not only is it affecting your budget, it is also affecting your work environment and possibly your social and personal life. If you are not directly affected, some of your friends are. There are five secrets which will help you manage the current changes our world is going through.
Daily news reports continue to tell of changes in the economy, work force, and politics. 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.
When you have a choice or “say” in the change, it usually generates positive feelings. This is especially true when you clearly see the benefits. Unfortunately, this is not true for many of the changes you may be facing at this time.
Many people I am talking to are needing to find work, reinvent themselves, and scale back their life style, Feelings of anxiety, fear, and depression are common. These feelings make it more difficult to feel motivated, consider options, and make good decisions. While this is understandable, it does not have to be this way.
Kathryn Britton, a coach and regular contributing writer for the Positive Psychology News Daily (pos-psych.com), reminds readers that making changes often requires 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 may be wondering where the best place to begin is. By asking yourself and answering the following five questions, you can make change positive.
1. What do you believe about the change including 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?
2. What behavior can you change that will make reaching another 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.
3. 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 Starbucks 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.
4. 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. Which of your strengths can you rely on to make change positive for you?
5. 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 seek 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.
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.
It is possible to make change positive for yourself. What you believe about the change will affect the choices you make. There are behaviors you can change that make reaching your goals easier. Creating a change, if none is there, makes it easier to change a habit. Using your strengths helps keep you focused and happier. During change, being hopeful is highly correlated with productivity and well being.
Which of the five questions will you use to make sure the changes you are going through are positive?
Maurine Patten, Ed.D, CMC, Maximize Your Possibilities
Mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
To find more articles and information about how to handle change or a transition go to: http://www.pattencoaching.com
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