Change is not a four-letter word.

by Rebecca A. Watson on July 24, 2011

in change

“You’ve got four cavities,” my dentist said. “You’ll need two appointments to fill them.”

None of this should have come as a surprise. I’ve been watching these trouble spots for almost a decade I was told if I didn’t stop drinking Coca-Cola, my teeth would rot out of my head. But still, somehow even as my head tells me I’m paying for the sins of my youth, I’m shocked.

Believe it or not, I wasn't always so angelic.

“But they have been there for a long time,” I protested. I’ve only had one cavity in my life. This couldn’t be right.

“Yes, but the shadows are darker than they have been in the past,” he said, pointing at the X-rays. “They’re changing.”

Ahhh, change. It seems to be everywhere these days, big and small. Parents are dying, friends are moving, restaurants are closing, relationships are ending, countries are going bankrupt. And that was just yesterday.

One of my best friends told me that the difference between successful people and those who fail is their ability to handle change. I can see it. I mean, if evolution has shown us anything, it’s that the species that are most changable are the ones that most often survive. Evolve or die.

Evolution

Now, despite my initial denial concerning my dental health, I consider myself to be pretty adept at handling change and uncertainty. I’ve survived the end of a marriage. I’ve moved across a continent without friends or a job. Most recently, I quit a good-paying job to work full-time on my own business. Somehow, I’ve managed to keep it together and even thrive in these circumstances.

I’m not saying I have it all figured out, but I would like to share how I handle change, because I think it’s pretty manageable with a few good tools.

1. Practice tiny changes every day. Take a different way home. If you normally order Chinese on Wednesdays, try a different restaurant. Or better yet, stay in and cook Thai food. Mmmmm green curry. This will help your brain and your body be more flexible and less likely to be throw a tantrum when big changes are thrown your way.

2. Find solace in small sameness. In the midst of change, it’s important to find your anchor. It could be a coffee break you always have or a yoga class you love or even a TV show that makes you laugh. You know the saying, It’s the little things? It is.

3. Exercise. It releases your body’s natural drugs, endorphins, and is a natural stress-reducer. Change is stress, whether it’s good or bad. And there are other benefits too:

exercise makes you horny

Like chocolate, exercise makes everything better. Unlike chocolate, it complements your figure.  What’s not to love?

4. Avoid toxins. Whether it’s alcohol, caffeine, day-time TV or celebrity gossip, toxins can do a number on our health, and change is already taxing your immune system. Do your best to stay away. Notice I don’t say eliminate toxins. Extremism in any form is unwise. And sometimes, all you need is to jam out to some really tacky pop music to feel better.

Just remember: Everything in moderation.

5. Tap your inner-power. Call it spirituality, call it science, call it nature, call it whatever you want. Just call on it. Sometimes things are bigger than you and the only way to get through is to let something bigger than you guide you. Atlas is the one who’s supposed to have the weight of the heavens on his shoulders, not you.

God Atlas

Generally life is just variations of the same themes, but when change shows up (and it will) anyone can make it through even the most drastic and breath-taking changes; you can even embrace it. While there are plenty of ways to do it, these are what works best for me. These and an optimistic attitude, which I’m cultivating daily. What works for you?

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