The Psychology of Change

By Diane Lang


Most of us spend our lives avoiding change and transitions. The truth comes out eventually that we can’t avoid change and the more we try to the worse our lives become. We have been changing since we were born. We go from crawling to walking, from Elementary School to Middle School to High School. Then we transition into college and adulthood. In adulthood we go through many more changes and transitions. I find myself to be in the middle of one in mid-life, or as most would call it a “mid-life crisis”. Change has been a part of our lives forever but yet we spend so much time avoiding it and living in fear of it. Imagine if we never changed, we would never grow and develop. You wouldn’t be the person you are today.

In today’s society, change is forced upon us with the recession, changes in employment or fear of being laid off, real estate market changes, prices going up in food, gas, etc. As adults, these changes can be overwhelming and traumatic. So, we try to stay right where we are. We think if we don’t change everything will be ok. We think we can trade in change for security/stability which we assume we will have if we don’t change but that’s impossible and trying to do so just sets you up for failure.

What can we do to avoid this vicious cycle of change being thrown at us and trying to stay the same which ends up in misery.

We must realize and ACCEPT change will happen. Yes, I mean just accept it right now. Evaluate your life at this moment: what changes are going on? Are you in the middle of a transition? What changes do you want to make and which ones are you trying to avoid?

A few years ago, I got very sick. In the first few months of my illness, I was in denial. I knew I was sick but I didn’t want to change. Instead I became very angry about my situation and that eventually lead to depression. One day I hit rock bottom. I couldn’t take it anymore. I had lost all control of my life except for one thing; I can accept where I am. Accepting gives you some control back. Accepting is a choice. I accepted that my life was forever changed and that was ok. This acceptance leads you to the next step.

Once you accept that change is unavoidable and accept the change you are going through then that phase of your life starts to finally end. Change happens because something is ending. We don’t look at change as an ending but yet it is. Change happens due to an ending and so a new beginning can start. When you don’t accept change, you delay the process. 

Perception – how you perceive change will help you through the process and help you come through it smoothly.
When you accept change then you can perceive it for what it really is. 

Change - New possibilities and opportunities. Change brings a whole new phase of life, a new chapter, a new beginning. These are positive things and should be perceived as so. We tend to look at change negatively due to old limiting beliefs we have.

Take a few minutes to look back at your life. What does change mean to you? How have you dealt with change? How did your family deal with change? What beliefs can you change because they no longer serve you?

For example: I perceive change as exciting. I still feel the anxiety go through my body when change is occurring but I have changed my belief about change. I see change for what it really is: A New Beginning!
When I look back at my past and changes, I see that I have made it through all my changes and ended up a better person for them.

Teachable moments - all changes bring lessons. Look through your past changes and current ones and ask yourself: 
What can I learn from this situation? 
What benefits will come from the change? 
What can I do different next time to avoid the situation?

What we think, feel, believe and experience controls your personality. If you’re not experiencing new thoughts, beliefs, experiences and behaviors then everything stays the same. This means you will have the same results day after day. If something isn’t working and you don’t change how you think and feel about it, it will remain the same. If nothing changes, we feel stuck and we won’t develop and grow which leads to boredom and depression. 

Most of your old thoughts and beliefs are in your sub-conscious which means these thoughts are on auto-pilot. We need to be aware of our thoughts to change them.

Awareness is a key factor in change. Be aware of your negative thoughts/beliefs that no longer serve you.

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