Lori woke up in a cold sweat, heart racing. What had she been dreaming about? She had been waking up at 3 a.m. every night for the last week. Had she gotten everything ready, was everything organized, was she missing anything? These questions seemed like noise in her brain as she tried to go back to sleep. She was relocating from Hong Kong back to the USA after ten years. She was nervous to leave her friends and career behind to start over. She felt drained thinking of all the hard work and time it would take to network and rebuild again. It wasn’t the situation that was making her anxious; it was her thoughts.
She decided to reframe what she was thinking. Instead of looking at what she was losing, she focused on what she had and what she was gaining. Instead of looking at moving as a loss, she started to look for the opportunities. Moving was an opportunity to meet new people, see new places, and improve her quality of life.
Change can be intimidating because we can’t predict or control the way things might turn out. When we decide with ambiguity, we might fear we made the wrong choice.
Here are some pointers to help you get through significant life changes:
1. Be Clear
Be clear on your choice, or direction: Sometimes, life changes happen without our consent. When this happens, we feel like we got blindsided. Learning to be psychologically flexible to focus on what needs to be done, or what you need helps to lessen anxiety around loss or failure. If you chose to make a life change, stand behind your choice with confidence.
2. See the opportunity
Opportunity is everywhere. If the change leaves you anxious, here is the opportunity to challenge and work through your fear. If the change leaves you with a sense of loss, the opportunity is the chance to focus on appreciation. How does this change challenge you to improve and grow?
3. Be patient with yourself
Practice self-compassion and empathy. Having an inner critic and perfectionist tendencies will only increase your inability to move forward.
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