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Change is the Problem (and the solution)

The crux of all your stress comes down to brain science. Your brain is wired to keep you alive. It has a million (plus) functions, but one fundamental purpose, and that’s survival. The good news? You are currently alive. The bad news? All change is suspect because your brain knows that it’s a change that will end it. So every time you learn of, decide on or even just hear about the possibility of change, your brain pushes out stress chemicals to try to keep you safe. It goes like this. You find out that you got the job you wanted/have a breast lump/can’t text because your phone is updating and your brain says “WAIT!” What could we lose that we need? Why should we trust this change? What will be uncomfortable about it? Every. Single. Time. Dozens of times a day, and every time you feel it as a stress. This is why change is the problem. So what are you supposed to do, avoid all change? Definitely no. Change is how you get the job, life, pet, partner, hobby, career, opportunity, vacation, dream, life that you want. Life is a series of changes.

What you’re supposed to do is:

1. Show yourself some grace. Change IS stressful. You’re not lazy or weak or dumb, you’re experiencing neuroscience.

2. Ask yourself two questions: Is this change avoidable or unavoidable? Is this change useful (moving you toward something you want) or useless? If the change is avoidable and useless, walk the other way. You don’t have to do this. If this change is unavoidable or useful, go to step three.

3. Decide on your goal. Whether this change is awful (a bad diagnosis) or awesome (a longed-for experience) or neither (a parking ticket), you have to decide who and how you want to be when it happens. Then you make all your steps and choices aimed towards that goal.

Following these steps will allow you to experience change and navigate the stress of that in the most resilient way possible. Resilience is the ability to navigate change (not just difficulty, but ALL change) with intention and purpose towards your goal, so you can get the life you want. This is why change is the solution.

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