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Dave Balch: Change Is Stressful

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Nobody likes to change. Okay, that’s a generalization; let’s just say that most people don’t like to change things in their life and when we do change something, it is stressful, which is why it is important to understand just what is going on.

We like things the way they are because change is scary. If you’ve been doing things a certain way and then have to change, who’s to say that the new way of doing things will be better than the old way? Sure, they may be better, but what if they’re not? This is the conundrum: do we make a change and take the risk of making things worse, even though there is a good chance that things will be better?

Here are a couple of things to think about. First, if we change something and it doesn’t work out, we have just learned something. When working on the light bulb, Edison failed thousands of times to get it to work. When asked how it felt to have failed so many times he said, “I didn’t fail. I succeeded in finding things that didn’t work.” Some of it is your attitude, but most of it is just, plain old practical.

If everyone were afraid to try new things, we would still be living in caves. Look around you – just about everything you see is the result of someone trying something new: furniture, buildings, glass, paint, light, fabric; you name it.

The other thing to think about is the reason we want to change something. If everything was just fine, change wouldn’t even be an issue. That means that if something doesn’t work than it has to change in order to get better.

This thing we call “normal” is a big stress-producer. We like things to be “normal” and when they aren’t, we stress about it until it is normal. But what about a crippling illness? Things may never again be “normal,” yet we stress about that.

Here’s the a-hah – things don’t have to be normal in order for you to be happy. I’m going to repeat that: things don’t have to be normal in order for you to be happy.

Accept your “new normal” and move on. As soon as you accept that, and all the other changes in your life, you’ll feel better.

This article is one in a series on coping strategies for patients and caregivers alike.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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