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Make Change Positive


We all experience change in our lives, both good and bad, and no matter how much some of us find change difficult to deal with, there's really no escaping it. I admit I'm not great with change, although I've learned to deal with it in a more positive way as I've got older. Even so, I'm still one of those people who have to go through a period of adjustment and acceptance before I'm comfortable with the change and my new situation.

The biggest change I've ever experienced was the loss of my mum and as the anniversary of her death approaches I always have a period of reflection but this year there are also some more changes in the pipeline for me, so I'm thinking back to times of change more than usual. Mum was ill for a very short period of time before she died and so finding myself without not only a mum, but my best friend – a little cliché but true – was a massive change to my life. Fortunately I had just about come to terms with the situation and the reality that we were going to lose her, that said, it was still a huge shock when the time came and it took me a long time to adjust and learn to deal with life without her.

I surprised a lot of people with the way I handled my mum's death, most thought I'd fall apart and loss myself, but in fact I dealt with it in a very practical way and – it may seem a very strange thing to say – it actually became one of the most positive experiences of my life because it made me realise that life is too short to worry about EVERYTHING or procrastinate and put things off. I woke up to myself in effect and found that if I looked at change in a positive way and used it as a springboard to bigger and better things life could be so much better.

Did you know that just 8% of people who make New Year's resolutions are likely to succeed? Many don't even make it to the third week of January. But what if we took a different approach to our desire to make a change? What if we built upon our current strengths and passions and focused on the positive rather than negative?

Here are some tips on how you can approach change to make it more positive for you:

What's Important to You?

Greg McKeown, business writer and consultant, and researcher specializing in leadership, strategy design, collective intelligence and human systems, writes in his book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, that too many of us "major in minor activities." We think we can do everything, instead of acknowledging that we have finite resources of time and energy. "Only once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, can you make your highest contribution to the things that really matter," says McKeown. "Many activities may be good, or even very good, McKeown writes. But "most are trivial and few are vital."

So take a moment to sit down and think about what's really important to YOU. What can you let go of to help make life easier? Make a list and if you can't let them go all at once, let one thing go at a time to ease you into it.

Be Kind to Yourself

Learning to be kind to and accepting of yourself will help you navigate change and approach it in the best way for you. "In order to be good to others, we have to start by accepting ourselves," writes Kristin Neff, Professor of Human Development at University of Texas in Austin, on her website, You wouldn't tell a despondent friend to just "suck it up." If you are having a hard time or facing failure, ask, "How can I comfort and care for myself in this moment?" writes Neff.

Be Kind to Others

Allan Luks is considered among the top experts on volunteerism, and how helping others can benefit one's emotions and physical health. He coined the phrase "helper's high" to describe "the powerful physical feelings people experience when directly helping others." Scientific research has confirmed the biochemical nature of the process: Volunteering reduces stress and spurs the release of endorphins, "the brain's natural painkillers," Luks says. We've talked a lot of late about random acts of kindness and how they can help you be happier. Winston Churchill said "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." Which sums it up perfectly.

If you’d like some help making positive changes, have a look at our Resilience workshop and give us a call to find out more.



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