By M.J. Ryan
We live in a very uncertain time, and our bodies and minds pay the price. Stress levels and anxiety are, according to some scientists, 44% higher today than they were 50 years ago.
None of us know what the future holds, but there is something we can do right now to better prepare for unpredictable situations: develop the ability to adapt. "AdaptAbility" may be the key indicator of success in these turbulent times. It is the capacity to be flexible and resourceful in the face of ever-changing conditions -- to respond in a resilient and productive manner when change is required. Some of us already know how to do this easily. The rest of us need to learn--quickly.
Resisting change wears down our bodies, taxes our minds and deflates our spirits. When we resist change, we keep doing the things that have always worked before -- with depressingly diminishing results. Frustrated, we expend precious energy looking around for someone to blame—ourselves, another person, or the world. We worry obsessively. We get stuck in the past, lost in bitterness or anger. Or we fall into denial-- “Everything’s fine, I don’t have to do anything differently.” We may engage in magical thinking—“Something or someone will come along to rescue me from having to change.” We don’t want to leave the cozy comfort of the known and familiar for the scary wilderness of that which we’ve never experienced. And so we rail against it and stay stuck.
Fortunately, once you become conscious of how to adapt, you can face future changes with greater confidence and swiftness.
Here are 5 quick tips for riding the whitewater of change:
When the environment changes and we must therefore too, it’s appropriate to complain, to take, in the words of Dr. Pamela Peeke, the BMW (Bitch, Moan and Whine) out for a little spin. But soon it’s time to put it back in the driveway and get down to business. We’re all being called on to stretch mentally, emotionally, and spiritually into the future. You can do it!
MJ Ryan is the author of THIS YEAR I WILL, How to Finally Change a Habit, Keep a Resolution or Make a Dream Come True and ADAPTABILITY: How to Survive Change You Didn’t Ask For and many other books. A member of Professional Thinking Partners, she works with individuals and teams around the world. Visit her website at www.mj-ryan.com.
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