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During times of change, we tend to get bogged down by our thoughts and focus on the negative. In doing this, we miss out on important lessons and areas of growth so instead of doing this, a great exercise is to practise gratitude and learn to appreciate change.

Winston Churchill once said, “to improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” 

For those of us who absolutely hate change and avoid it, we’ve now reached a point where we have to embrace it. Our work environments, home environments and social environments have changed and there’s no avoiding it. So how can we stop viewing change negatively and start appreciating it? We can start by understanding what change is and how it affects us psychologically.

The impact of change

The first thing to note is that not all change we experience is going to be significant. For example, you may change the brand of butter you typically buy. While this is still considered “change,” it’s not going to have a significant impact on your psychology. On the other hand, you may change schools or get a new job and this is the type of change that is more drastic and impactful.

Even though the type of change can impact on our psychology differently (as illustrated above) the other thing to consider is that some people simply just cope better with change than others.  This may be because of your personality type or just because you’re more flexible to change than others. 

Defence mechanisms

Defence mechanisms are an unhealthy means of coping with change. In order to process change, people typically react in distinctly different ways. Not all mechanisms are healthy. An example of a defence mechanism is to “escape” the change – in this case, you may completely ignore and avoid all changes as far as possible.  

Coping mechanisms

Another way people react or cope with change is to completely accept that things are going to be different and pick up new habits as coping mechanisms. Coping mechanisms are positive, healthy ways of dealing with change.

Have you noticed yourself exercising a lot more recently? Well, exercise is a common coping mechanism for dealing with change. It’s a healthy way to help our bodies and mind to adjust to new circumstances. 

For others, it may mean that we’re reaching out to friends and family for someone to chat to about our changes so that we can process them. Sometimes we need external support to process the changes around us. 

Have a look at some other defence mechanisms and coping mechanisms here. 

Learning to appreciate change

The best way that we can appreciate change is to personally reflect on the positives that have come out of change. Below we’ll dive into some of the things that you can reflect on personally so that you can start to recognise and appreciate what these changes have brought to you. 

No comfort zone

The greatest thing about living in your comfort zone is that life is so predictable. It’s far easier to make decisions in an environment that you’re used to but imagine what you could do if you were pushed out of your comfort zone and into a world of unknowns?

One of the greatest things about change is that it pushes us into new environments and often helps us learn something new about ourselves. We move into a space that our brain isn’t used to and often, this can expose us to things we would never have tried.

Most recently, our home environments have merged into our work environments. In the beginning, it may have been difficult to focus on work with your toddler on your lap but perhaps since then, this time has highlighted the joy and importance of family as we’ve learned to adapt to working from home. 

Flexibility

​The more change we experience, the more flexible we become in times of change. Change is constant, it’s something we’ll always experience throughout our lives. We can appreciate change in times like this because it forces us to change because they teach us to bounce back and adapt faster during change that we will inevitably experience later on in life.

There are people who have a tendency to naturally adapt more easily to change, while others are more set in their ways. If you find yourself saying “I hate change” often and the idea of change genuinely concerns you, you might choose to be grateful during seasons of change because you’re learning to become more flexible and adaptable. 

Progress

Sometimes change is necessary to get you out of a state of routine and to force progress. I mean, think about all the things you’ve learnt during lockdown. Even simple things like working on your schoolwork in your room alone and learning self-discipline or learning how to use Google Classroom and similar tools are pushing you to develop new skills and to strengthen your existing ones. 

“Change can teach us to adapt and help us develop resilience, but only if we understand our own capacity for growth and learning.” -Rick Newman

Opportunity

Change makes us invent new ideas, new ways of doing things and discover new things about ourselves that we may not have known otherwise. ​We can appreciate that change can help spark ideas or create opportunities that wouldn’t have existed in the past.

Think about how many people have been able to make businesses out of making face masks and selling them or creating perspex screens for businesses. Most recently, I’ve seen someone selling trolley covers for the handles that are washable – the genus of thing that hasn’t existed in the past. We’ve seen so many people come up with creative ideas and ways of doing things during this season and for this, we can be grateful. 

How have you grown and developed during this season of change?

Reflect on this personally by writing down how change has brought about progress, opportunity or flexibility by taking you out of your comfort zone. How can you appreciate the change you’ve experienced? If you’d like to share this with us, we’d love to hear about it. You can tag us on Facebook, direct message us on Instagram or comment on a YouTube video to share how change has personally helped you grow.

This article was originally published on 21 Jul 2020

About the author
Mekayla Preiss

I am a Copywriter and Content Creator for AdvantageLearn.com. I enjoy getting creative and have a passion for people and crafting compelling content, I hope to inspire the next generation of learners and changemakers.

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