Positive Change

At this time of year, stress appears to creep up faster than the New Year! Much like the festive season, stress is a recurring life event that comes to join us throughout the year. Stress is often linked to changes in life, and last year held no shortage of change – you may have experienced stress in the workplace or academic setting, within relationships, or due to the continually-changing COVID landscape.

The Way we View Change

Change is defined as the ‘act or process through which something becomes different’. The dictionary definition places no indication on whether change is a helpful or unhelpful situation, yet change is generally associated with negative events such as losing a job or the passing of a loved one. However, change is not always a bad thing. It can have many different impacts, including opening up new opportunities for us to explore. In fact, the way a change impacts will be dependent upon the way we view the change itself.

Naturally, change can evoke strong emotional reactions within us, such as feelings of anxiety or fear, but this can help motivate us to take action to change other things in our life. For example, getting fired may be an anxiety-provoking event, but it may motivate us to change our career path and explore what else is out there for us. That is not in any way to diminish the hardship that some changes can bring, but opportunity and growth are often present too.

Making Changes

When considering making change yourself, balanced thinking is a critical component - we do not need to become a perfect human overnight. When making changes, it is important to give yourself a break and don’t try to change everything at once – think about the change in the context of your current lifestyle. If you are going through a stressful period with lots of change, such as starting a new job, be mindful of letting that be your focus. If you are feeling overwhelmed at beginning a new role, maybe you don’t also want to change your gym or go-too takeaway for dinner too. Small changes are still changes, and they still help us to move closer to achieving our goals. Alternatively, it may be that change is what you are needing to regain a sense of control and empowerment within your life.