Why is Change so Difficult and What Can You do About it?

by Raina Jain
Mental Health Magazine

Even before a change occurs we get so apprehensive that it does not allow us to live the present moment mindfully.

We tend to resist change although we are aware of the possible consequences. Why? Because we follow the status-quo, meaning we follow the same path we always have that gratifies us for a tremendous period of time. There is a whole lot of miscellany of emotions running wild within us. And predominantly, when change transpires our brain requires to put in a lot of effort to think so we instead react out of instinct or habit.

Changing a habit or implanting a new behaviour takes more effort and undivided attention. I went to the U. K to pursue my masters. I had developed deeper connections with different people from different countries only to realise that I won’t bump into them ever again. These people were home away from home. It was one of the hardest phases of my life.  However, I, after graduating returned back to my homeland only to get a cultural shock. It took me three months to adapt myself to the changes and more than six months to accept that it is inevitable. Initially waking up in the morning was a struggle. Life to me seemed purposeless. I had no idea of what I was going to do with my life. Every day seemed to be a life without any goals and vision.

My schedule had become mundane. Mornings would begin at nine. I didn’t enjoy eating breakfast and would merely swallow it to fill my stomach. Most of my time would be spent sitting on the sofa staring into nothingness. Lunch didn’t seem exciting either. I would eat and catch a nap. Dinner would be passive too. To pass time I would browse on the web for hours and then slip back into bed.

Life for me had become meaningless. Eating and sleeping were apart for the sake of survival. A survival that lacked the zeal and enthusiasm to do something. I also noticed that my mental and emotional health had taken a steep turn. I had turned into an insomniac because of the disturbed sleep. Thousands of thoughts would clutch my neurons and keep me unnecessarily active even at night. My mind was not in control. My internal bickering was pervaded with a whole heap of contemplation incessantly tossed by all possible directions. I was more focused on trying to avoid pain than to look for happiness.

Hence, I became conscious of how change is physiologically uncomfortable and it’s excruciating to over-ride conventional habits. And that, in turn, led to avoiding change or not accepting the reality. It also meant that I lost focus and disrupt commitments which led to relapsing to previous behaviours and habits. We as humans are very cautious in changes around us – and we want to get back to the familiar zone as soon as we can.

Two reasons why we primarily find change challenging is because-

1)     We are petrified for we are moving towards an uncertain future we are not equipped for.

2)     We feel miserable as we are leaving something behind and we believe that we will never find something like this ever again.

Now that we have understood why change is difficult, let us first learn to accept that how much ever we may want to keep things constant, ‘Change is the only thing that Is constant’- Heraclitus

In my personal experience what I have realised is that change becomes attainable when we have an undeniable reason to do. Rather than looking for something extrinsic to get motivated, change becomes easy when there is something deeper driving us to do so.

Therefore, it is absolutely okay to take a few weeks to sink into the emotional kinks of ourselves and know that this phase is all about understanding why it happened and what now? Don’t dwell too much into the fact that it happened. It is okay to be in that space for some time but not stay there forever.

Know that you are moving onto better opportunities. Further on, the most significant thing with change is ‘TO ACCEPT’ that change has already taken place. When we have some sort of clarity we allow our mind to stay open to different opportunities that life has to offer you, since. We become cynical about the entire process of change and we feel out of control and get stressed out.

Let’s take change as a Learning Opportunity

Everything happens for a reason; so this is a good enough reason for us to take it as a learning opportunity. This is the phase for us to explore various ideas. Ask yourself, what knowledge can you assemble from what is happening to you right now? How do you feel from within? How does your body feel? What are your emotions telling you? Explore your strengths and passion and consume this time into developing your strengths. A technique called ‘A state of flow’ is one of the most mindful practices, meaning being in the zone where you entirely immerse yourself into performing an activity that you are passionate about. It generates happiness hormones, the sense of satisfaction and a feeling of energized focus with complete involvement.

Letting go

Change is difficult because we are not ready to let go, and this is one of the most difficult act in our lives. Let go of whatever that is holding you back because its time we realise that life is much more than pondering too much into one thought. Only when you release the emotional baggage will you unleash your potential. The moment you realise that you have the proficiency and competence to grow beyond your own limits, nothing will stop you.

Develop a growth mindset

Mostly, reflect on previous changes that took place in your life. One of the characteristics of an individual with a growth mindset is to take on new challenges without any hesitancy because they are sure that they will at least move a step further rather than being in the same place forever. One thing we need to identify here is that we have a choice: a choice that will either hold you back and won’t let you achieve your full potential or a choice that will allow you to stretch yourself, expand your abilities, bounce back from setbacks and develop the mindset that CHANGE IS THE INDISPENSABLE INGREDIENT IN THE RECIPE OF LIFE and that adapting to it is our greatest asset.

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1 comment

Nafiur Rahman January 14, 2019 - 3:49 pm

Such a beautifully written article. This speaks to me in so different ways. It’s like someone peaked into my soul and wrote what they saw down on paper. Mesmerizing.

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