A lot of us today are going through levels of change and challenge that we have never experienced before. The world and life is moving at break neck speeds.
We can sit there and watch the social media posts that say:
Change is Growth
Your Biggest Life comes on the other side of change and challenge
And of course well-meaning people around will utter their advice and soothing words.
And on and on it goes...
But the truth is, in the moment, when we are going through it and for a certain time right after that big change in your life, whatever it is - Job, Relationship, Health - your brain, body and overall biochemistry are in stress and survival. It's just the way we are wired.
We are not wired to "Embrace Change" - we are wired to see any change large or small as danger.
We are not wired for "Challenges" - we are wired, pretty much, to see all challenges and any thing that pretty much happens out of our daily norm, as a threat and that could be as small as a traffic jam on our way into work or the loss of a job or relationship.
So, knowing this, understanding how we are wired is a good and first step to understanding one of the very BEST things we can do/practice in the moment and right after life throws us a curveball.
So maybe in the moment, that's not easy as we are literally being emotionally hijacked - all of us are, even the so called unemotional ones among us; we are also all wired emotionally because we all have a part in our brains called the limbic system.
But the next BEST and very good thing we can do, right after experiencing any type of change and challenge, in whatever form that is, is to actually not do anything.
Yes, it's true and you may want to read that a few times; the very BEST thing you can do is to allow yourself to pause and step back from it all. Not easy I know, but highly effective.
Right after experiencing any kind of change and challenge in whatever form, it serves us to shift perspective and begin to see what has happened in a different light and that is pretty much impossible when we do not allow ourselves to pause and step back.
When we are in the thick of it, as they say, and choose to stay there, it's hard to see clearly, we've been tossed around, so often our sense of self is shattered and we can feel disconnected to what matters and what possible next steps would be good for us or this situation.
In stress mode you just are just trying to survive, your brain and body has no interest in thriving or moving forward.
There's a great quote by Victor Frankl - author of the famous book "Man's search for Meaning", that I often refer to for my own life because it makes so much sense:
Between stimulus and response lies a space and in that space lies our power and freedom to choose our responses. In our responses lies our growth and freedom
So I share this quote because it pretty much sums up what I am trying to share here with you today, dear human, likely going through some large or small changes and challenges on this day, in this life and in these times.
Without a bit of space in the form of pause, slowing it down, giving ourselves a bit of time (fill in the blanks here with whatever that looks like for you) we tend to be a bundle of reactions to life and what happens.
Yet, if we can create a bit of space between what has happened in our lives and our response to it, we have a higher likelihood of taking actions, choosing steps, making decisions that feel right for us, or even understanding what "right for us" is. We can do this even after something life shifting and traumatic.
It's not easy, I know, but it is very powerful and I'd like to say, from experience in my own quite long and interesting life, it's vital and I believe in these earth shifting times even more so.
So here is how you might put these words into action in your life if you have recently gone through a change:
1) Intentionally create a bit of space and time for yourself to slow it down and reflect on what just happened to you and how you feel about it. Even if you cannot identify the emotion, it's so powerful and also emotionally intelligent to just practice asking the question. "Wow, what just happened and how do I feel about it all?"
2) Take a little road trip over a weekend by yourself or with a really great friend or partner
3) Even while taking space for yourself plan out a few actions that can keep you in forward motion.
- plan out the day or week before it begins with a few feel better activities, don't just think they are going to happen on their own :)
- give to others, it always shifts our state
- do some research & reflection into what might be next for you
- get to know yourself with some cool self-assessments around strengths and values, it really works!
4) If ever there was a time to begin a morning meditation or mindfulness practice, it's now. Intentionally shifting the state of your brain and body out of survival is so beneficial and yes even the busiest minds can do it.
I'm pretty sure you will find, that by doing this for yourself, you will begin to see more clearly and just feel a bit better. This space and pause helps you begin to see or understand some of the next steps available to you and that is a very very good and powerful thing.
And now here's a picture of a cute dog because that always makes us feel better...
Thinking about you on this day and with the changes and challenges it brings...
Meditation Content Creator
Career and Life Change Specialist