How to Challenge Your Fear of Change
by Angie Miller
Mindfulness is the art of being present and living fully in the moment, letting go of guilt over the past and worry about the future. It helps us manage stress by embracing qualities such as patience, letting go, trust, and acceptance. Today as I was listening to a book about mindfulness, the author mentioned something that made me stop and take a pause. It's something I know so well, but in the context of what he was saying it became more vivid.
It was simple: "Every ending is a new beginning." It reminded me that endings signify change, and while change often induces stress change is actually opportunity. No matter how difficult, change allows us to grow and learn and to embrace new experiences.
For me it was a gentle reminder to always look forward rather than back, and to welcome all that lies ahead.
In light of this, I decided that if we’re going to challenge our fear of change we need strategies to help us focus on the future and let go of the past. I came up with two that I believe are critical and have proven to be most beneficial to me personally:
- Grow with change. As a trailing spouse, I know change. There was a period of time where my husband and my two daughters and and I moved three times in five years for his career. Having grown up in one home all my life, this wasn’t a lifestyle I would have imagined living, but somehow those moves seemed to call on my courage. Maybe it was personal resilience, the kind you don't realize you have until put to the test, or two brief experiences living abroad at earlier times in my life. Maybe it was the freedom of anonymity, where no one is “watching” and you’re not “keeping up,” after all you don’t know anyone. It may have been all of the above, but somehow I always put inhibition aside and found that it was the perfect opportunity for transformation and fresh starts. If everything you know to be true is changing, what do you have to lose?
This mindset empowered me, and it was a catalyst to new things and to put myself out there in ways I wouldn’t otherwise have done. I think this feeling is familiar to many, and it doesn’t take a move to get you there. It’s similar to the desire many of us have had after a break up to change our look, or something about our lifestyle like a new hairdo or a gym membership. The bottom line is, there’s power in change if we tap into it. Sometimes we’re inspired to change our career or our direction in life to match the energy we get when one door closes and we’re ready for the next one to open. It means that something has come to an end and what lies ahead has potential. If we look back and yearn for what used to be, we are left with nothing but regret and disappointment. If we open our arms to it, we can embrace it and build upon whatever lies ahead. Remember that being uncomfortable is where growth happens.
- Accept change. Some moves went better than others. With some moves I went in with an open heart. With others I went in with resistance. Those were always the harder moves, and my tone set the tone for my daughters and laid the foundation for how things were going to play out in our lives. I soon learned that acceptance doesn’t mean resignation, it means that you accept the situation for what it is and you choose to make the most of it. It’s like Elizabeth Kubler Ross’ five stages of grief; sometimes you have to go through denial, anger, bargaining, and depression before you can get to acceptance, but once you get there you’ll see the situation through a fresh set of eyes. At that point everything about the move, the break up, the job loss, or whatever change you’re experiencing will seem easier to manage and less of a struggle.
Every ending really is a new beginning, and beginnings are full of excitement and wonder. May we all be open to change, and the possibilities that lie therein.
Best to you in Health,
Angie Miller, M.S., is a fitness educator, university instructor, and Licensed Professional Counselor who blends her skills and expertise to empower individuals, mentally and physically, and provide them the tools they need to succeed. A veteran group exercise instructor and personal trainer, Angie is the star of acclaimed exercise DVD’s, including the Bedroom Body™ workout. Her passion for progressive education brought her to Northern Illinois University, where she teaches in the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education. Outside of the university, she presents at fitness conventions worldwide and leads industry trainings as an AFAA Certification Specialist and Kettlebell Concepts Master Instructor. Angie writes for fitness journals and digital communities, and blogs for Collage Video. Connect with Angie at: http://www.angiemillerfitness.com