Tag: <span>change</span>

4 Useful Ways to Ease the Stress of Change for Women Who Lead

The mass exodus back to normal has heightened stress levels, and it’s important to acknowledge that change can be stressful. If you are someone who gets upset and loses focus when things don’t go as expected or strongly dislikes change, automatically expects the worst, and struggles to adapt, this piece is for you.

 

Do you think we are ready to return to ‘normal’? 

Well, whether we’re fully ready, we have to be prepared and adapt. In the ever-changing landscape of life and work, adaptability is a crucial skill for managers, leaders, and anyone looking to navigate change successfully. Adaptable people tend to be happier and more content as they’re not struggling against the resistance of change, and can skillfully ride the wave.

 

The Brain Behind Change

Our brain hates the unknown that comes with change, and that can show up as anxiety, which is your brain’s way of protecting you from the unfamiliar. However, that can mean saving you from a necessary or required action. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “stress is a response to a threat in a situation. Anxiety is a reaction to the stress.” The threat is that feeling of not knowing and the associated fear of what could happen in the future. Sometimes that fear is rational, and sometimes not. Sometimes it’s about something that will happen in three minutes (getting on a call to close a deal, for example) or in 30 years (having enough money to retire).

Depending on how you respond to your brain’s conceptualization of the fear can make change or transitions so difficult. It’s easy to feel powerless in these moments, but your power is in the ways you decide to navigate change.

You can decide how you want to think about the situation and what you want to do about it.

We can’t resist returning to work, going back to college, or whatever transition is on the horizon, but you always have a choice within the change. I’m not dismissing that it won’t be hard at times, but this is about being skillful so you can continue to live, lead, and enjoy life.

Let’s jump to 4 quick tips to navigate change and ease the fear of transition:

  1. Notice when an interaction or the thought of a situation upsets you and examine why. Acknowledge out loud any unhelpful thoughts going through your mind, then take those thoughts and challenge their accuracy to determine whether they represent reality. Perhaps you can then find another way to think about them that allows you to move forward.
    How you think or what you are ruminating over is often connected to the experience of procrastination, perfectionism, overwhelm, or feeling unmotivated. Learn to challenge and change the thoughts behind those responses.
  1. Successful leaders often react to anxiety by working harder, holding themselves and others to impossibly high standards, only to cause further stress or burnout in themselves and others. Examine your use of time and what you are asking of others. Putting in place a support infrastructure that includes breaks for you and your team and time to discuss expectations openly.

 

  1. Find a practice that eases your stress. Sometimes our minds operate like a runaway train. If you can quiet your mind for just a moment, you may notice there is always a fork in the road. One road allows your anxious thoughts to derail you, and the other will enable you to inject more positive thoughts and intentional actions.This can look like daily mindfulness practices, laughing, or sometimes more high-intensity activities like running or a good cardio workout. These practices short circuits the stress response by getting you out of your head, incorporating your body, and allowing the experience of stress, anxiety, and worry to subside.
  2. Don’t stay on your island; build connections. You are an expert at what you do, and getting things done is your superpower. However, we all will face the challenge of transitions and change that can make you feel alone or cause you to isolate and withdraw. Do the opposite. Instead, try coming out of your office and chatting with a colleague, or reach out via text, call a friend or  maybe even perform a quick act of kindness. Be open to also ask for help or outsource tasks to create more time and space for wellbeing.

 

In this time of crisis and change, where many are experiencing anxiety for the first time, it is an opportunity to develop our ability to adapt and contribute to a culture the prioritizes the importance of emotional wellbeing.

 

Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R is a passionate advocate for positive workplace culture, supporting the ambitious mindsets of women, and improving mental health in all settings. The goal is to simply get you out of your head, so you can stress less, and focus on your success.

Make sure to register for “Catch your Breath” a free live mindful practice series for Minority Women Who Lead running through the end of July 2021. UPDATE: The series was such a success it WILL CONTINUE through the end of 2021. Every first Monday of the month.  #minoritymentalhealthmonth #strongcommunities

 

Beating The Fear of Change

They say change is constant, but what happens when it comes so fast you can’t quiet catch your footing? Some people take it as a challenge embracing a new adventure and for others it steals their sleep and leaves their minds in agony with endless what if scenario’s triggering anxiety, avoidance, or opposition.

The question lingering in the back of our minds when faced with change is, “can I really handle this?” When the answer is “yes”, we are unphased and ready, maybe even overjoyed. When it’s “no”, we trigger our internal stress reaction; a reaction that is both physical (like sweaty palms, stomach aches, or a racing heart that prepares us for ‘flight’ or ‘fight’ response) and within our minds (enter in feelings like anxiety, sadness or maybe racing thoughts).

The funny thing about change: we don’t really know what will happen. The many what if questions are a figment of our imaginations causing real physical and emotional reactions. Add in judgmental beliefs abouteverything catastrophic that can happen and we fuel the fire even more. The truth is we just don’t know much about what will be and sometimes its just to observe our thoughts and feelings about change, look at it with curiosity, slow down, catch our rhythm, and stay in the moment. Just stay in this moment right now. Embrace the wave. This is all I can handle right now.

Breaking Up With Bad Habits

A habit is what we do, like brushing our teeth in the morning. Some of us do it before we eat, others after. The bad habits are the ones that don’t do us much good and are hard as hell to give up. Do you have any habits you could do without? If you are nodding yes, those are the ones we are looking at today.

Lets name a few: Getting to work late, checking phone while crossing the street, talking during movies, twitter, hair pulling, worrying about what could go wrong, chasing small money, when your business has a bigger vision and ____(insert here)_____.

How it works is its usually a trigger, like its morning.

Then the routine: It’s morning so I must brush my teeth

Then the reward the reinforces the behavior (something that either feels good, or what you avoid): My breath is on point, less floss and less likely for the dentist to stick a giant needle in my gums to clean the build up at the base of my teeth…true story.  The science behind it is the reward sends that feel good rush of dopamine, which after a while makes you crave more or do more to get that satisfaction again. Its be basis for addictive behaviors.  Say What? Let’s try again:  I’m stressed, I eat chocolate, it feels good, I eat more chocolate and then the king size family bar is gone. Like the after effects of most habits, we then feel bad. However, unless the reward or reinforcer is strong, you won’t kick that habit.

donut man

But you know those bad habits. You recognize it and that’s a big step. Now the next time there is an urge, take a breath, say your new intention and hold it long enough for your brain to switch gears and respond to the trigger differently.  It may not work all the time but it’s worth a try.

Here is what to try to increase your willpower:

Increase mindfulness practice to increase your awareness and ability to respond and not react. (check out stop, breathe, think app or calm.com)

  1. Decide your intention. Write it out, set reminders to pop up on your phone, have picture visuals everywhere you go and get an accountability partner to increase your doing power.
  2. Try some compassion. It’ll be hard at times. Give yourself space to mess up, to fall off the wagon and roll down the hill. Remember the beauty is you can come back and start again.

compassion

All of the above takes a conscious effort to work. It took work and energy to get you to this point and it will take the same to get you out. Change is work. If want to do some more work sign up for the Break Your Bad Habits free worksheet here.

Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R

#therapyisdope

 

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