6 Ways To Weather Change And Still Feel Sane
Everyone has one friend or family member who tells the same jokes and stories over and over again. It’s the same episode we've seen just in different rooms and multiple dinner parties. Regardless of if they are entertaining or mildly bearable, it speaks to the palate about the life experiences this person has obtained. At some point, the same story gets old and it would seem this person stopped observing, packaged up what they knew about the world and turned it in. Now they never really change their opinion or ideals about anything and stick to what they know.
Yet, with the way the world spins throughout a calendar year, how can we just stay the same? It almost seems that, without change, we actually might all go crazy. Or we might all become really bored of each other, and who knows where we go from there. While change in your life, a relationship or your career may create a battle for you, part of maintaining your sanity through what might seem like a stressful transition is the act of completely embracing it with open arms. Change is inevitable in every aspect of our lives. The bottom line about people is that some embrace it and some do not. If change hits you negatively or unexpectedly, there are ways you can cope and still maintain your sanity.
Here are 6 ideologies to assist you in keeping your mind fresh and weathering change in your life:
- Don’t Be a Prisoner of Complacency
Change can be disruptive. Humans are creatures of habit with natural repetitive patterns. Some of these fall into bad habits. However, others are good habits. Drinking alcohol every night of the week after work is probably a bad habit. Working out at the gym 3-4 times a week and eating bananas is a rewarding and healthy habit. When change injects itself into our lives and the natural order of habits has to adapt, our natural mentality would want to think this is temporary.
Take when it rains outside for an example. It throws off your list of to-do items, so you end up having to deal with the unexpected. You were going to work out, but now you don’t want to leave and it’s cold, so you order a pizza. The rain won’t last forever, but what if it did? What if you were planning for the short-term and refused to acknowledge the long-term? Change can sometimes feel like a temporary alternate lifestyle and you get through it based on the philosophy of ‘winging it.’ Change can seem like the waters are rough and you may develop a mentality that you will wait out the storm for the calm, but the storm has already come and gone. This is the new weather and world you are living in. Before you go crazy on pizza and never leaving your place again, remember you can wear a rain jacket. Since this is a metaphor, it’s easier to understand, but being locked in habitual complacency can make it take longer for you to figure it out. Don’t let yourself be a prisoner.
- Rehearse Your Logic
A change at work with new procedures can really flare up emotions for you and your coworkers. Some people enjoy the old ways, other people want change. But no matter what side of the fence you might be on, the other will have to adapt. This can cause stress. Some employees may not be as speedy to pick up on new systems and some employees may be underdeveloped to take over responsibilities they are not ready for.
In these situations, it is important to compartmentalize your emotions with your logic. Rehearse the logic of what is happening around you and try to emotionally separate yourself for a moment. Observe your feelings, but don’t let them control you. If you are switched to another department, relieved of one job duty and given a different assignment, ask yourself why. Kicking the can loudly and grumbling won’t solve any problems and it will cause you to be upset. If you are upset, you won’t think clearly, and you have to stay sane enough to perform well within your organization.
TIP: The secret to weathering change as it comes at you is 90% mental. Reflection, self-awareness, and knowing what is happening to you when you are in the thick of it will help you overcome stressors more than anything else. Being able to separate yourself and gain clarity is the most important thing for you to stay stress-free and relaxed.
In American Football, 90% of the game is mental and only 10% is physical, as the common lore goes within that sports medium. Players can develop themselves mentally at high capacities, but they only have so much control over their bodies with what the physical nature and chemical balance of their genetic makeup provide them. Change will be exciting and liberating if you can recognize what is happening mentally.
You don’t have to be a chameleon, but becoming accustomed to the newness of what is happening will help you, and increase your mind’s sharpness. In hostile natural environments, some animals shed fur. We humans get haircuts and choose new styles. Some animals develop shells, claws or other physical characteristics to deal with environmental changes. We have the ability to learn from our mistakes and be educated. Adapting to change doesn’t have to make you lose your mind or change who you are as a person. Always remember who you are. Adapting is learning and being open both mentally and physically to what you are not used to.
We are all humans and capable of adaptation. Staying sane is finding your place within the environment and becoming comfortable. If you feel out of place, you won’t for long. If you lose a loved one or your relationship doesn’t end well, you will develop skills by spending more time on your own. This is one of the natural traits we as humans possess. And, sometimes, it is the hardest natural process to allow ourselves to go through. When we try too hard, we forget that a little autopilot and experimentation doesn’t hurt.
This extends the reach of adaptability. Some situations or change scenarios are more intense than others. Moving to a new town, dealing with a loved one’s death, getting laid off from a job you love, or even having to fire someone you actually care about because business is business are all major stressors. The key to resilience is elasticity. No matter what changes in your life occur, you have your spirit, your mind and your body. Recognizing situations where you might be vulnerable allows you to protect yourself.
Identifying situations where you need to be open for learning something new can help you step beyond the border of your comfort zone. Again, mentally knowing what is happening in the moment in which change occurs will enhance your ability to naturally cope with positive results. Elasticity is being flexible, and it will make you more accustomed to spur of the moment changes. As said before, many changes invoke a powerful emotional response, but go back to #2 and remember to compartmentalize. You won’t go crazy, you won’t run with your thoughts and you will be very sane.
- Remember Your Goals
Change may seem disappointing at times. If you keep close tallies on your career path or the road life has sent you down, there are moments of change that will cause you to question what the hell is happening. Remember why you are where you are. As long as you keep reaching for your goals, you should never lose your mind over something you can’t control. Some of the worst things that have ever happened ended up being a path to one of the best things.
Remember when that scientist’s fruit went moldy and then we discovered penicillin and how it killed bacteria? That scenario may have occurred a long time ago, but the positive point is, you never know. A lot of people feel like they get stuck in careers they never thought they would. Some people form habitual emotions and actually feel comfortable hating their jobs. It’s not a healthy way to live. Other people live their life enthralled in their work. You have choices. You can embrace what you are doing as a stone within the road on which you are traveling. No path is a yellow brick road to the emerald city. And even that journey had some unexpected setbacks.
- You Have to Want to Keep Learning
When our friends or family members keep telling us that same story about the guy who did the thing on that bus in that one city a long time ago and we already know how it ends, just be polite.
But remember, you have to want more than a short-story book of moments and a small grocery list of sayings. If you processed reports or paperwork at your office of employment the same way for a 100 years, would you be able to keep up with other offices in the same market? Enabling yourself to positively weather change while keeping sane means you have to at least want to learn and grow day-to-day, year-to-year. This is a mental choice you make and if you open yourself to learning and growing, then adaptability, resilience, and reaching goals will be easier. You will evolve with the world and you still get to be you, with clarity.
Jon Hauer is a freelance writer and digital designer originally from Minnesota now based in Del Rey, CA. He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication Studies from the University of St. Thomas and graduated from Pepperdine University in 2015 with a Master’s of Fine Arts Degree in Writing. He has worked in the tourism/hospitality industry for years and writes professionally on a number of topics including travel, business, marketing, tourism, home services, art, sports, entertainment, news, etc.