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Ground Zero: The Stress that Comes from Change

Stressed WomanMuch has been written about the most stressful events in life. In fact, two doctors from the University of Washington’s medical school created a weighted scale for measuring stress in terms of 43 “life events.” Change in residence ranked number 32; however, multiple events may also impact a residential change, including death of a spouse, retirement, a family member’s health change, change in financial status, change to a different line of work, change in schools, and more.

What’s the common thread on that list? In a word, change.

Change has two parts: 1) the physical event and 2) the emotional transition. A transition is the emotional reaction to change that happens as people move from their current situation to some future state.

How to Help Deal with Change

Seneca had it right – “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” With that in mind, people must move emotionally from the comfortable, well-known condition of their current emotional state to a new beginning. Depending on the magnitude of the change for each person, this can be a small tremor –or– it can be a full-fledged earthquake. Understanding the situation and one’s attitude has much to do with the success of a transition.

The person living through change may experience a grieving process, in which they give up the old and eventually embrace the new. But there are things that can be done to streamline the process. If people know the who, what, why and how, and marry this with good communication and a feedback loop, the transition has a better chance for success. Planning for the “knowns,” while managing the “unknowns,” can help make moving and transitioning a much less stressful event.

Here are some things to consider as you transition from one chapter to the next:

  • Don’t cheat yourself out of your future by living in the past. It’s time to move on and tell a new story.
  • Let go of your fear of the unknown. Sometimes you can’t predict what’s on the next page, but you can take calculated steps to help ensure fewer surprises occur. Anticipate what you can. And manage your expectations where you can’t.
  • Remember that your journey is unfolding with the real and present opportunity to make the best of it.
  • Understand that procrastination is a weight that one carries with them. You may not realize it at the time, but it is. In fact, stacks of anything are unmade decisions staring at you in the face. When you continually look at these piles, it can cause decision fatigue. A good approach to lifting this weight off your shoulder is to “eat the frog.” Mark Twain famously said that if the first thing you do in the morning is eat a live frog, you can go through the rest of the day knowing the worst is behind you.

If you want to learn more about these principles, we are here for you. Contact us today to start the conversation.