Managing Change & Becoming more Flexible

Chances are if you are here you are feeling a little overwhelmed when you hit change. It almost becomes easier to stay in the comfort, even if it isn’t where we want to be rather than face managing change. Change overwhelmed our bodies, our minds, we go into overanalyzing everything that could go wrong. Our brain tricks us into thinking that if we do this we will be the most prepared that we can be. What actually happens is the opposite.

Your Brain on Managing Change

You know that feeling, your heart is racing, you feel overwhelmed, your thoughts run wild. Depending on our past, our inner critic can run wild, telling us all the reasons we will fail or what will go wrong. Sometimes we grit and bear it to move forward. More times than not we don’t make it very far doing that. It’s a natural response for your brain to go into fight vs flight when facing change.

4 Reasons you Struggle with Change:
– When your brain goes into fight vs flight you react, making the response even bigger
– You struggle with limiting beliefs of your capabilities of what you can handle vs not
– Your automatic response is to go into immediate problem solving when your brain isn’t ready for it
– You haven’t ventured far outside of your comfort zone in awhile, making the change feel more life vs death than it is

Normalize First

It is so important that you remind yourself, that just because you struggle with change does not mean that there is something wrong with you! Managing change is hard for the brain, it’s natural response is stress. Your response to the stress is what matters in the long run.

5 Keys for Optimal Brain Health to Support Managing Change:

1. Regular moderate exercise: moderate varies from person to person depending on their stamina. This can range from a walk to lifting weights and running. 3 – 4 times weekly helps your brain increase blood flow to the brain which helps your brain work better in communicating and calming stress.

2. Nutrition: Managing a balance of colorful fruits & veggies, fish, complex carbs and healthy fats help your brain function at it’s best. Without these your brain is prone to shifting into fight vs flight faster and with less ability to cope.

3. Sleep: 7 – 8 hours per night for adults supports the down time the brain needs to manage new information. So when you are going through change it is especially important to get your sleep as your brain will be able to more readily manage the stress automatically.

4. Decrease the use of alcohol or drugs: alcohol and drugs actually cause shrinkage in the brain. This means that when you are facing stress and using your brain is actually less capable of managing even the smallest things

5. Physical Health: Be sure that you are taking care of any medical conditions you have. These are a threat onto your brain, already pushing you into fight vs fight. If they aren’t managed, managing stress will feel next to impossible.

These are small steps but things that you can do every day to start supporting yourself in managing change. If you are noticing that these aren’t making a difference, it may be time to do some deeper work. Look into your past and see what barriers may be in the way for you. Brainspotting, DBT, and Mindfulness are all wonderful choices that most of our therapists do. Contact us for support!

Patrice Flanagan-Morris, LCSW
Empowerment Within LLC

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