Change is a natural part of life. And yet, most of us fear change, to one degree or another.
It’s the discomfort we often associate with change that freaks us out. And what is that discomfort exactly?
It may be a little different for everyone, but in general, that discomfort shows up as nervousness, anxiety, a feeling of being “on edge,” irritability, insecurity, and/or in the body as muscle tension, a tight throat or a knot in the stomach.
The bigger the change, the more intense these effects can be. It’s no wonder we often fear or dread change. It’s human nature to instinctively do what we can to avoid discomfort or pain.
But…it doesn’t have to be this way. By initiating small changes in a fun, light-hearted way, you re-train your brain and body to react differently to change. Muster up your sense of adventure and creativity and play with making it a habit to initiate small changes.
- Do you always take the same route to work, or to the grocery store or to pick the kids up from school? Take a new route. Explore an unfamiliar neighborhood or store.
- Have you been sitting staring at the same blank wall in front of your desk in your home office? Re-arrange the furniture so you can gaze out the window.
- Do you always have spaghetti on Sunday and meatloaf on Monday? Do you always order take-out from the same Thai restaurant? Give a new recipe or restaurant a try.
- Have you been secretly longing to learn how to dance? Or surf? Or paint? Or cook? Go for it. Take that class.
When you get too set in your ways, too habituated to your routines, too comfy in your comfort zone, you start tuning out and operating on auto-pilot. (Have you ever driven home only to realize you don’t really remember much of the drive?)
Consciously choosing to do new things will wake you up. Because they’re not familiar, you’ll naturally be more focused and present with the new activities. Being more present will open your eyes and your mind to even more new things and new possibilities. It will stimulate your creativity and spark personal growth.
Doing new things, or simply doing things in a different way, creates new neural pathways in the brain, and over time, de-sensitizes you to the fear of change. It allows you to practice mustering up the courage to do even bigger, bolder new things, and you’ll find you’re better able to roll with and handle the bigger changes we all experience from time to time.
Regularly initiating small changes with a sense of play allows you to transform your experience of change from one of dread and discomfort to one of anticipation, adventure, excitement, and fun.
When was the last time you did something new? Or did something you’ve done a thousand times, but in a new way? I’d love to hear what you think. Share your thoughts and suggestions for initiating small changes, in the comments section below.