Dealing with Change and Building Resilience


Dealing with Change

Change is an emotional process for many. The process of change can feel like being imposed upon, which can make you feel un-grounded, vulnerable or threatened for many different reasons. It could be relating past experience to the current situation, fear of the unknown, anxiety, anger, disbelief or even sadness. Change usually involves a shift away from the known – with all of its familiarity and comfort to the unknown – which comes with uncertainty and learning new things.

Building Resilience

So, in general what are the differences between resilient people and those who lack resilience? Resilient people look at changes and setbacks as opportunities for growth and learning. They tend to be solution-oriented and focused on the big picture outcome versus only what’s in it for them. This doesn’t mean they don’t feel the same emotions as less resilient people- they most certainly do- but they do not dwell in those negative emotions- they use the situation to learn new adaptation skills and embrace the change in themselves in order to come out stronger on the other side.

“Confidence is built on accomplishment. If we can learn to push past our initial feelings of discomfort and show up on the other side of change, this will gradually build our resilience and confidence in knowing we can handle it.”
— Nicole White

Connection of Motivation to Our Emotions

The issue with thinking that someone can just “pull themselves together” is that it dismissed the fact that our motivation is directly tied to our emotional state. Emotional management is key in building ourselves up- which allows us the mental and physical energy we need to get and stay motivated.

The very definition of emotion is "a mental and physiological feeling state that directs our attention and guides our behavior." So, if emotions guide our behavior, then emotions must be the influence behind our motivation (or lack of it) and our subsequent behavior. Negative emotions can lower motivation, while positive emotions increase it. So, the more positive one is feeling in general, the easier it is to be motivated toward whatever goal you are seeking to accomplish.

A word of caution on positivity: studies show that people who are more happy and satisfied with where they are are typically less motivated to make changes to move themselves forward. So, while being in a positive state of mind is helpful, staying content with that current state can cause you to be stagnant. Some discomfort or negative feeling is needed to push us- and being unhappy with where you are can be just as motivating- it's all about balance.

Accepting that we cannot control events or others gives us a level of freedom and peace that allows us to operate as our best selves. In the face of uncertainty that we’re experiencing now, we can use this time to self-reflect and build ourselves up. The sooner you can start accepting, embracing, and seeking change, the sooner you can start enjoying life's natural process. There are so many opportunities out there waiting for you to discover. You can't alter the fact that change exists, but you can adjust your view and approach to live a happier and more fulfilled life.

Take a few moments to think about the things that bring you energy, that make you feel renewed and alive.

Now, take a few moments to think about the things that stress you out and drain you. Can you brainstorm ways you can incorporate more of what energizes you into your life?

Write out an action plan to incorporate more positive activities, and keep this list handy when you feel stressed or overwhelmed.


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