Anxiety is fear and fear is often stemmed by uncertainty and change. But change is inevitable and we are living through a period right now where every day comes with a hefty dose of uncertainty. We don’t know what’s changing from one day to the next. However, change is the law of life; you’re either moving forward or backward and which direction you go in is entirely up to you. Learning how to embrace change and accept fear can help you propel forward towards overcoming your anxiety.
Three Types of Fear You Experience
All fears can be separated into three types:
- Healthy Fears (Things set up for your survival)
- Real Fears (Things that can actually happen)
- Illogical Fears (things that are debilitating, limiting)
For anxiety warriors, many of our fears fall within the third category – illogical fears. The difference between real fears and illogical fears is that, with real fears, you can make appropriate changes to address it. With illogical fears, they control your life.
Importance of Embracing Change and Accepting Fear
When fear is controlling your life, you are not living to your fullest. You miss out on opportunities that could bring an abundance of happiness and health. But the fear keeps you from going after such opportunities. The fear is limiting.
Unfortunately, fear, regardless of how illogical it may be, feels very real making it easy to retreat and hide under the covers until a new day. However, this makes it near impossible to overcome anxiety because you are allowing your limiting fear to control you. When fear takes over, your goals get put on the backburner, making it difficult to live the life you deserve.
Why Change is Terrifying
This may have you wondering why change is so scary when you want it so bad. For most people, the idea of a change often involves a potential risk or loss. Perhaps you fear judgement or rejection, the loss of a job, your home, finances, or loved ones. These are all normal fears that become debilitating when they are associated with illogical fears.
For example, it is entirely healthy to fear losing your job but when your fear is actually making it more likely to happen, we have a problem.
How to Embrace Change With Your Thoughts
The best thing you can do when faced with change, uncertainty and fear is to flip the script from scary to beneficial. In reality, the fearful outcome you’re scared of is almost always highly unlikely to happen. So, it’s important to shift your thoughts from, “Oh my god, this is scary,” to “Okay, this is my anxiety and it’s an illogical fear.” But this is easier said than done, so I break down some tips in the latest episode on our mental health podcast:
Remember, Change is an Invitation to Opportunity
When faced with a change, it’s almost always an invitation to an opportunity. Look deeper into what is triggering your anxiety to see how you can take this anxious moment to grow as a person or to strength your mental health.
For example, if restaurants trigger my anxiety and fear of change (as they certainly do), it’s a calling for myself to grow and evolve as a person so I can go and enjoy dinner with my friends and loved ones.
Change is always a calling to:
- Learn new things
- Develop new qualities, such as courage, persistence and flexibility
- Master new skills
- Look deeper within yourself to reveal the underlying cause
So, change can never be a bad thing. If you look at this list, it can only result in you becoming a better person if you embrace it. On the contrary, if you continue to let fear of change control you, you remain in the same place you are right now.
What to Do When Faced with a Change
There are times when change is unavoidable. Perhaps your job is changing locations or you’re suddenly working from home instead of on-location; this change is unavoidable. But that’s not to say that anxiety and fear associated with unavoidable change is an easier to deal with. While I break down the tips for embracing change in our mental health podcast, here are some quick steps you can implement to ease the fear:
Try to be more flexible. Instead of expecting everything to go this exact way and every every detail of every minute meticulously planned out, be open to changes and adjustments as they come.
Pay Attention to Your Perception
How you view whatever change you’re experiencing is key to how you respond to the situation. If you take the situation and immediately change it to doom, your mind and anxiety will follow in suit. For example, if you are suddenly working from home and have already decided it’s going to be unbearable, you bet it certainly is.
So, pay attention to your perception and how you see things. When you notice your perception being unhelpful or harmful, flip your dialogue – working from home will be a different experience, but I am up for the challenge.
Practice Gratitude Relaxation Techniques
I’ve said it a million times before and I’ll say it again, practicing gratitude is crucial for learning how to embrace change and overcome anxiety. When you have gratitude in your life, you’re able to look at any situation you find yourself in and see the light.
To put it into perspective, if you’re out of a job due to this pandemic (a horrible situation where it is OKAY to be stressed out), gratitude will help you focus on the positive instead of worrying about the things you can’t control. Some things you may be grateful for in this situation include being able to sleep in, being able to enjoy a nice warm breakfast, spending more time with your kids, downsizing, or finally having the time to clear out your storage to sell things for extra money.
Change is scary and gratitude won’t take away the reality of the situation, but worry won’t make it any better either.
Set a Worry Time
With anxiety, you can find yourself stuck in a cycle of repetitive thoughts and worries. This is exhausting. So, set a time each day for you to worry. When your anxious thoughts come in outside of that time, backlog it until your set worry time.
This relaxation technique is great for learning how to embrace change and for retraining your brain as it allows you to spend 15-20 minutes each day worrying instead of all day. You’ll also notice that many of the worries that would have consumed you in that moment are completely forgotten about by the time your “worry time” arrives.
Change is scary. Fear of change is real and many of the changes we’re going through right now are scary. But with every change comes an opportunity to evolve. If you’ve been laid off, perhaps this is your calling to explore other skills you have or to develop some new ones. You have a choice and you are responsible for your quality of life. You can’t control change. You can only control how you react to it and hopefully, listening to our mental health podcast will help with that.
Learning how to embrace change is not a quick fix. It takes time and dedication, and it is okay if it’s difficult to do. As the saying goes, “Nothing worth having comes easy“. However, if you are experiencing a crisis and having a hard time navigating through this uncertain time, please reach out to a profession. Better Help offers great online counseling for anxiety, depression, family matters, relationships and anything else you need. Help is there and sometimes, change is a calling for you to ask for it.
This blog post is sponsored by BetterHelp, but all opinions are my own. I may receive compensation from BetterHelp or other sources if you purchase products or services through the links provided on this page.
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