4 Ways To De-stress When Change Occurs.

4 Ways To De-stress When Change Occurs.

Life is a mixed bag. You never know what may happen next, no matter how much you plan ahead. I’ve never hated change, but I still struggle on occasion when something unexpected happens. I become irritable, moody and have unreasonable requests or expectations.

However, over the last 5 years, I’ve spent a lot of time learning and using self-help strategies and techniques. These days, people around me (including strangers) would comment on my calm nature, vibe or energy. Of course, we all experience stress when big changes occur. However, it is possible to manage our reaction to stressful changes with these 4 tips!

1. Read self-help books.

If you enjoy reading, I suggest using that time to dive in to the self-help section! Find a title that stands out to you, ask for recommendations from friends or Google what books have been popular and the most helpful.

A book I would recommend is “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. This book is basically about four principles that could be immediately applied to your life. Having these in mind have been good reminders to keep me grounded, no matter what change occurs.

An alternative to books is to listen to podcasts or watch YouTube videos.

If you know someone personally who has gone through minor or major life changes, reach out to them and ask what helped them most!

Calming techniques are not one size fits all, it takes time and patience to find what will work for us.

2. Schedule the time to de-stress.

De-stressing allows us to be present. Since stress and change are inevitable occurrences, it’s best to find ways to alleviate stress that works for us. Finding techniques to manage fluctuating emotions can help keep us calm in our mind and body. What helps you de-stress when an unexpected change happens? Even those of us with introverted personality-types (like me) still need community-support to get through tough times.

Examples:

  • Talk to someone. Whether it’s online counselling, face-to-face talk therapy or catching up with a friend, reach out. Having someone listen can lighten the heaviness. Even if it’s just a little bit. It’s still worth it.
  • Be productive. I don’t mean be swamped with work and never feel your feelings. I mean use the time you have to write, build or invent something. This can give us a sense of purpose when things feel chaotic during life changes.
  • Get out of the house. Sometimes we don’t feel like doing anything when we’re overwhelmed with life changes. That’s when I try to fight it. Yes, there are definitely days/a week or so where I will “hibernate” and process my emotions alone. After that time, I push myself to see people, do activities or I ask my boyfriend to come with me for a drive around the neighbourhood.

Find what works for you. These strategies may vary depending on the circumstance, financial ability or simply the way you approach change. That is A-okay.

3. Be patient with yourself and others.

So, you’ve heard the news. The unexpected change is here. What else is there to do? Practice patience. Take it one day at a time. Sometimes it’s all we can do not to break down. And sometimes the break down comes anyway – no matter how hard we try. That’s more than okay – it’s absolutely normal! We all respond to stress differently.

You may find your emotions fluctuate. You’ll have good days and bad days. Or maybe you’ll be easily irritated. That’s okay. When unexpected changes or tragedies occur, we are not in our prime mindset to manage emotions steadily. Be patient with yourself and others.

4. Communicate, communicate, communicate.

If there’s something you don’t understand, ask questions. If someone sounds angry, wait until there’s a free moment and ask to clarify. If it is time to apologise, then apologise. Also remember, other people may not react the way you ‘predict’ or ‘want’. So be open, be patient and communicate clearly to avoid any misunderstandings.

With a good set of de-stressing techniques, actively building our resilience and having a support-group around us, it is possible to adapt to change. Getting lost in a book full of advice, scheduling time to de-stress and having a proactive attitude can help immensely whenever life throws a curve ball at us.

Take a slow, deep breath.

Know that you are loved.

Know that you can get through this.

For when times are tough.

For when times are tough.

This post is a letter to those who have been, who will, or who are walking a difficult path.

Life is a journey of unknowns. No matter how much we may try to control things, situations may occur that result in stressful, overwhelming, anxiety-inducing times.

Each year, I’ve found that I learn so many lessons. My confidence lies in knowing that I am closer to uncovering a part of myself. The wise, resilient part.

Below I’ve written a “guide” if you will, of things to remind yourself or things to do when times get tough.

this for you

When you feel like you have no choice: It probably feels unfair. Having no say in a situation can make us feel powerless, helpless, even betrayed. If this is how you feel, FEEL it fully. Acknowledge it. But, don’t stay here too long. You do have a choice. The power has always been with you. Take it in your stride. Keep pushing to live your life as best as possible. If where you are right now, threatens your mental, physical or emotional health, get out of there. Start making plans to get somewhere safe. Speak to a professional or a trusted person.

When it looks like your situation will never change: It will. If nothing else, change is inevitable. Whether you act or not, time will pass and change will come.

When time goes slow: Just like change, I’ve come to realise that time will pass, no matter how slow it feels in that moment. Remind yourself: time will pass. You can either make the most of it, or focus on how slow time is going.

When nothing cheers you up: During these times, I make a note to organise an appointment with my psychologist. I also do my best to see family and friends. Speaking to a loved one can be a huge help. Spending quality time with your community/close friends/trusted family can be a powerful healing tool. You deserve to put your mental-wellness as your top priority. There is only one of you in this world!

When a task is difficult and frustrating: Use your resources. Is there someone out there who has done this before? If so, research how they did it. If no one has done that particular task before, research how others have done similar things. Apply the principles. Ask questions. Trial and error. Eventually, you’ll find a way through.

When you feel alone: To be honest, I spend time noticing how ‘aloneness’ affects me. Then, I watch a comedic movie or YouTube video. I try and connect with friends or family. You may feel alone, but there are people who care about you. If reaching out is too much for you now, find online forums like ReachOut or Reddit, where others discuss their experiences that may be similar to yours (be aware of triggers). Even from different countries and cultures. Everyone has problems. Watch Ted Talks, personal vlogs and informational videos discussing these situations. We (as humans) have more in common than you may think.

When you can’t do things yourself anymore: Remember, it’s okay to take a step back. To let go of the reigns. We aren’t super-human. Don’t expect too much of yourself that there’s none of you left. Like I said, there’s only one of you in this world. Unless you’ve been cloned…….

When you feel like everyone hates you/is talking about you: A little trick I use to re-train my brain is to “weigh up the evidence“. Our brains have a tendency to focus on negativity and singular occurrences that make us suspicious of someone disliking us or hating us. Unless there is solid evidence for it, don’t believe these assumptions. There are people who care about you. Whether it’s an online community, your spouse, family or the staff at your local business.

When you can’t figure out people’s negative behaviour: Unless your major passion and life-career is in human-behaviour, don’t spend too much energy wondering. Set boundaries if you need to. You’ve got your own life to worry about. If you’re REALLY curious, read a book about behaviour. Honestly, I’ve learned a lot by reading. If that’s not your style, listen to a podcast or watch YouTube videos on behaviour and how others navigate it. Find ways to live your life according to your own values. Don’t let their behaviour affect yours.

When a job, relationship or friendship isn’t working: Make a change. This is a piece of advice that I’ve taken on from many years ago. If it doesn’t work, don’t give your energy into something that isn’t worth it — change it! Know when enough is enough. Stop taking on the mistreatment – that is not your burden to carry.

When people say you’re selfish for feeling hurt: You are absolutely entitled to declaring, processing and feeling your pain. Do not let another’s words stifle that part of you. Our emotions are innate. We are born with them. If our emotions become an obstacle in everyday life, we can find ways to manage it. Other than that, feeling hurt is in no way, shape or form, selfish.

When someone plays down your success: Make a mental-note not to tell them anything you find pride in. They are not worth your time or energy. Their attitude toward you is their problem.

When someone uses a stereotype to put you down: Don’t take this on as part of your identity. I still have a habit of using my being Filipino as an excuse for being late. This is simply not true. Perhaps I have a problem with time-management and I need to work on those skills. I try my best to schedule each day so I am on time and organised. Remember, most skills in life (if not all skills) can be learned or taught!

If someone says “you don’t know anything – you’re dumb”: Get out a pen and paper. Right now. List down everything you have learned and achieved in life. Getting your license, gaining employment, volunteering, helping others, getting good grades, cleaning your house, graduating, buying property, learning to use a technological device, staying organised, getting out of bed, being persistent, staying positive, mastering any new skill. The first definition that comes up in a Google search is “unwilling to speak”. Unless you are absolutely unwilling or temporarily unable to speak, you are not dumb. You may be speechless from such a ridiculous statement… and I completely understand.

When you feel guilty when good things happen: This is a new obstacle I have just come across. My approach so far has been to confide in a loved one. Sometimes we need a person to be a ‘sounding board’ to process beliefs we’ve held onto for far too long. It’s not until this belief is echoed to us in the opposite way, that we see how harsh it is to feel guilty for good things. Like I remind myself, you deserve good things to happen to you.

No matter what you may be going through, I do hope you’ll able to navigate it a little bit easier soon.

I am sending you strength, hope and the persistence to continue.

What things do you do to encourage yourself to continue forward in life? Share it below in the comment section!

x

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Therapy Sessions | How to Change A Belief.

Therapy Sessions | How to Change A Belief.
*Trigger Warning: there may be distressing content.*

Let’s begin The Session.

What is a belief? A belief is something considered to be fact.

Where do beliefs come from? Beliefs come from the environment around us (external). It can also be formed by our own thoughts and sensory experience (internal).

The thought, “I’m not good enough” can be experienced by most of us at some point in our lives. For some, it is more prevalent if we have had past experiences that ingrain this kind of thinking. It can affect our self-esteem, confidence and progress in self-improvement.

The good news is, beliefs can be changed!

My psychologist drew up a table of two lists on her whiteboard. She asked me to list evidence for why I was good enough and why I wasn’t.

Listing evidence for why I wasn’t good enough was easy. My psychologist and I then spent about five minutes expanding each piece of evidence – what was the circumstance? How did that lead to the belief? Was this evidence substantial enough? I realised: instead of moving forward, I forced myself to take fear with me from my childhood and adolescence and used the events of my past as justification.

Listing evidence for being good enough was not as easy. Slowly though, achievements came to the surface. It affirmed that there were positive things I have accomplished. For example, I moved out at 18, I learned how to save money and I learned how to budget. I realised that many things I have done in the past, required skills and sometimes, strategic thinking!

What I learned.

I learned that if I didn’t achieve things to a ‘perfect standard’ or made a mistake, I was automatically ‘not good’. As well as an avalanche of other negative thoughts/beliefs toward myself.

Some may wonder, “Well Angela, if it did you harm, why couldn’t you just forget this belief?” Let’s go back to the beginning. There’s this thing called egocentrism. As children, we are unable to process situations or events from another person’s perspective. As a result, we attribute another’s hurtful actions to ourselves, thinking, “I must be bad/stupid/dumb” (which is what happened to me).

So, how can we change our beliefs?

1. First, we need to know what our beliefs are. 
Self-work is not an easy journey but it is absolutely worth it.  To know what beliefs we have, we could take inventory of thoughts that come up. Whether it’s a positive one like “I can do anything I set my mind to!” or “I never do anything good…” – it could be worth identifying and changing if it does not serve you.

2. Make a list of accomplishments.
I love utilising lists to get a clear sense of tasks, goals or ideas. My strategy for changing this belief will be writing a list of all my life’s achievements. As time goes on, my list will evolve and grow. So whenever this belief creeps back in (which I have been guaranteed that it will) I can look at this list and remind myself, “You know what? Yes, I have made mistakes but I am good enough!”.

3. Remember that we all make mistakes.
There is a difference between taking responsibility and acknowledging a mistake and punishing ourselves over everything. Sometimes, we are our own worst critic! You don’t necessarily have to experience disturbing trauma to be hard on yourself. We all have a drive that pushes us forward. Just remind yourself of positive motivators too!

4. Be patient with yourself. 
Changing a belief is not easy. Same goes for mastering a talent, technique or academic topic. All of these have something in common: TIME. It takes time to change or learn something new. It takes time to improve a skill. So be patient.

Beliefs once formed, are ingrained and can be difficult/confronting to change – as you saw with my struggle. However, with support, patience and strategies, it is possible to live a life based on positive truth rather than self-deprecating lies.

That concludes our session today.
Thank you for being here.
Stay well! x

Image by Thu.

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