One Reason Change is Stressful (and How to Manage It)

Man holding head and screamingChange is stressful. But why is that?

One reason for the stress is because, so often, the response to change is reactionary. Something happens; we react, many times right away.

The thing is — being reactionary is not a power position. It is a defensive action that puts you at a distinct disadvantage and has you feeling as if you are trying to “catch up” with the change.

But do we really have to give an immediate response every time something happens? No, we don’t. We choose to do so, thinking that it may be a good way to minimize whatever is happening. But the reality is that, if we don’t really know what we are doing (especially if the change is something new to us), the instantaneous response is mostly futile, and could potentially cause things to become worse.

What if, instead of reacting, you took a step back to assess the situation and then planned your response? That would feel a lot calmer, and you would be in more control of yourself and the circumstances.

Another great benefit of planning like this is that it helps you be more prepared to make decisions on the fly. You may be thinking, ‘Why would that work when planning and making quick decisions seem like opposites?’

It works because planning allows you to learn more about what you are doing (vs. being reactionary, which is just doing without any learning happening). The more you know, the more comfortable you feel in your work. The more comfortable you are, the more confident you feel in executing, whether it’s planned or not. It’s a cycle that goes upward steadily.

The next time you are feeling your back against the wall because of a change, push back a little to see if you can give yourself some room to strategize. Chances are, it’s there — you just need to slow yourself down enough to check and then devise a plan.

Image courtesy of bark

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