Embracing Change and Moving Forward | The Drive Magazine

“Old Ways Won’t Open New Doors”

Original Source: The Drive Magazine

Change is both personal and universal.

Everyone goes through changes and transformations.

We are born. We grow old.

What sets us apart is how we experience change.

1. Personality of Change

How we perceive the world has a significant impact on how we experience change.

Type A vs. Type B

Individuals with a Type A personality experience change differently from individuals with Type B personality.

Type A individuals often experience more difficulty with change because of time urgency and a heightened need to control the situation.

Type A’s don’t have time for change.”

While individuals with a Type B personality are more laid back and relaxed and thus find it easier to go with the flow.  

Optimists vs. Pessimists

Pessimists and optimists also view change through a different lens.

Pessimists perceive change as permanent and a traumatic end to everything.

While optimists are more likely to see change as temporary and an opportunity for new beginnings and growth.

Glass Half Full or Half Empty?

Can Optimism Be Learned?

2. Circumstances of Change

Another determinant in how we experience change is whether the change was by chance or by choice.

For example, for some people divorce is liberating, while for others it is the end of their world.

The same can be said for the workplace.

The reaction to change will be different for someone who chooses to retire five years early to spend more time with family, in contrast to someone who is laid off abruptly without notice.

It’s not change, it’s the circumstances that surround it.

Anchor Yourself During Rapid Change

3. Fear of Change

We resist change because we fear the unknown.

We never know what’s around the corner and this is made worse when it is a painful change.

As a result, we erect roadblocks and create chaos to slow change down.

This is the illusion of control that is often associated with resistance to change.

Resistance to change comes in many forms including psychological defense mechanisms proposed by Sigmund Freud:

  1. Repression
  2. Denial
  3. Regression
  4. Projection
  5. Displacement

The problem with resistance to change is that we wear ourselves out and use up all the energy necessary to transform and evolve.

What You Resist Persists

CBC-TV Interview — Embracing Change

4. Psychology Takeaways

Embracing Change and Moving Forward

  1. Be on the alert for fight-or-flight tendencies during unexpected change. Take it as a sign to slow down.
  2. Create a safe space for open dialogue about change. Use it as an opportunity for ingenuity, creativity, and innovation at work and at home.
  3. Make a list of what remains consistent in times of rapid change and use it as a grounding technique at the start and end of each day.
  4. Instead of thinking of all the things that could go wrong on the other side of change, imagine all the things that could go right. Including the opportunity to level up and start again.

Optimism Bootcamp: 3 Steps to Empowerment

Nathalie Begin author of the Gutsy Feeling Blog invited me to give a positive psychology workshop called Optimism Bootcamp at a Symposium for Crohn’s & Colitis Canada.

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The audience was filled a very special group of people. Individuals that have been battling the chronic condition of Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) their whole lives.

Optimism and Health Empowerment

What’s IBD?

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) describes a group of conditions, the two main forms of which are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. IBD also includes indeterminate colitis.

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are diseases that inflame the lining of the GI (gastrointestinal) tract and disrupt your body’s ability to digest food, absorb nutrition, and eliminate waste in a healthy manner.

Source: Chrohn’s and Colitis Canada

Health Warriors

Individuals with chronic health problems such as IBD often feel a sense of helplessness and disempowerment over their bodies.

Which is why teaching concrete strategies for focusing on what’s within one’s control (beliefs and attitudes; deep breathing; present moment awareness) and letting go of what’s not (waiting times; IBD diagnosis; doctor availability) is so important.

Believing you can is half the battle.

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Optimism Research

Research in health psychology shows that optimism and having hope in one’s future has a significant impact on whether patients follow through on medical advice.

Optimism has also been found to improve overall quality of life, well-being, and happiness of cancer patients.

Click Here for Research on Health, Hope, and Optimism

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Good News!

Optimism Can Be Learned

The good news is that optimism is a skill that can be learned.

  1. Optimism / pessimism are not fixed personality traits that someone is lucky (or unlucky) enough to be born with.
  2.  Optimism / pessimism are states (not traits) that are malleable and open to change.
  3. Optimism / pessimism are attributional styles that can be taught and reinforced over time.

Additional insight on how our minds work

Excerpt from Optimism Article:

Using Attribution Theory, I can tell a lot about someone by the way they interpret the events that happen in their lives, particularly the explanatory style they use in analyzing setbacks versus successes.

attribution theory table

The pessimist perceives failures as personal, permanent, and pervasive, and thus has difficulty moving beyond setbacks. They often get lost in a recurrent loop of negativity.

In contrast, optimists see setbacks as universal. to everyone, temporary in time, and limited to one or two areas of their lives.

Source:  Dr. Andrea Dinardo, The Drive Magazine

Optimism in Our Community

Hope changes everything. It transforms pessimism into optimism. It changes winter into summer, darkness into dawn, descent into ascent, barrenness into creativity, agony into joy.

Daisaku Ikeda
Read Optimism Bootcamp Article: Click Here