Resisting Change is Both Unnatural and Dangerous
The swimmer held up his hand one last time before slowly disappearing under the heavy swell. A lifeguard had spotted him struggling from the watchtower and shouted to have the rescue dinghy launched.
Swimmers at Raglan’s surf beaches often experience strong rips and currents. Once caught, a swimmer will often struggle and fight against the current using enormous amounts of energy – to stay in the same place. It’s a fight they can never win. They become exhausted very quickly.
Fighting and struggling is a waste of energy
Like the sun, rain and wind, the sea is a force of nature. You can’t resist its currents and waves, and you can’t fight them. You have to accept them, to surf the waves and flow with the currents.
Approach life changes in the same way!
Learn from your body itself. Every cell in your body is in a constant state of change. Some cells die and get replaced every few minutes. The oldest cell in your body will have only just blown out the candles on its seventh birthday cake!
As an individual, all you are is change!
And the rest of nature is the same
In essence, everything is either growing or dying or growing and dying. Look around you. You’ll notice trees in the spring, growing new shoots and branches, while last years blossoms wither and die. There is no struggle against these changes. You don’t see trees struggling to grow new branches or bulbs struggling to turn into fragrant plants. It all just happens easily and naturally. In the same way, animals and birds don’t struggle. They live entirely in the now and go with the flow of life.
It seems only human beings struggle with change
But clearly, change is a natural part of growth and evolution. People need to change and evolve to survive and prosper. If you had a baby girl who didn’t grow or develop you would be at the doctors’ office pronto to have her tested to find out what was wrong.
Resisting change is contrary to nature
Resisting change is also one of the biggest causes of stress, which in turn reduces your ability to bounce back – your resilience levels. Your mental attitude to change influences how well you deal with it. By thinking about change in a positive way you’ll be in a better position to take advantage of those changes as well as saving yourself a lot of stress.
If it seems like everything is constantly changing – that’s because it is!
The rate of change is accelerating. I doubt very much that the speed of change is going to slow. We need to get used to it. Building your resilience so you can cope better with it, or even begin to enjoy it, makes sense.
But not all change is good
Many changes aren’t acceptable – for people or for the environment in which they live or work. Struggling and fighting against those changes is like struggling against a current. You just get exhausted and stressed. You have to find a way to go with the flow.
But don’t let yourself be trodden on!
I’m not saying you should accept any changes and be a doormat. What I mean by going with the flow is that if you educate yourself on any proposed changes and how they will affect you, you may be able to bring a positive influence to bear. Try to understand the reasoning behind the changes and the goals the changes are aiming to achieve. By doing this, you may be able to put together a logical or creative case to support some alternative ideas, describe what you think the impacts of the changes will be, or what repercussions you foresee. It’s easier to do this if you can stay calm.
It’s hard to stay calm if you’re stressed
Stress reduces your ability to cope; your mind becomes flooded with harmful chemicals, which in turn lower your thinking capacity. Notice how it’s always the calm people that others listen to and follow when a disaster occurs. In stressful situations, no-one ever suggests getting behind the panicky, stressed-out person. It’s a joke, isn’t it? No one wants a panicky stressed-out leader because it’s evident that they’re not in a position to think straight – let alone make quality decisions!
Aim for a balanced state
That said, it’s essential to find ways to maintain a healthy state of mind and body, regardless of what changes are going on in your life. Activities such as meditation, regular exercise, positive thinking and balanced, rhythmical deep breathing, have all been shown to reduce stress levels. Lower stress levels help you cope with changes.
Give yourself a comfort zone
If you find change tough to cope with, make sure that some areas of your life have an element of stability. Having a comfort zone in which you feel safe enables you to be more adventurous and to embrace changes in other areas. For example, it’s easier to accept changes at work if you have a stable home life.
By thinking in a slightly different way, you’ll hopefully stop struggling and fighting against the tides and currents of change. Going with the flow will save you stress and conserve your energy so you can keep your head above water. And with your head above water, you can breathe and look for other ways to get where you need to go.
- Change is a natural part of everyday life – look around you for evidence!
- Change enables growth and development.
- Not all change is good – go with the flow to find better alternatives.
- Some sense of stability is required for most people to feel comfortable with change.
- Equip yourself with the right tools to cope with change.