Learn: Coping with change
“Change is the only constant in life” - Heraclitus
Where we find ourselves now is a time of transition, between the old way of life pre-covid and a new way of life that is emerging but not yet known. Here in lies the anxiety…the unknown. Our brains like to be able to picture and to plan in order to help us feel in control and therefore safe. So, in the absence of these certainties, we might find ourselves feeling a little lost or overwhelmed or trying to cling to our old ways of doing life. It is possible to experience peace without knowing all of the answers but it requires letting go – of our attachment to plans and expectations, to old ways of doing things – it requires an acceptance of the reality of where we are now and it requires an openness to the opportunities and possibilities of a different future. And all of this requires huge amounts of grace and patience for ourselves because we are navigating something that none of us have faced before.
The thought of going through this process and embracing the “new normal” might be triggering a lot of resistance in us, and understandably so. We are creatures of habit and familiarity and we can easily become really attached to our ideas of how things should be and what success looks like, fostering a belief inside us that life will only have value if “x” works out in this way. Right down to the little everyday details and standards and routines that we are still trying to force into place even though they no longer fit. It just creates a tension and uses up a huge amount of energy that we could be instead investing somewhere else…like taking care of our wellbeing to get us through this challenge!
Mindfulness is a great tool that is proven to be beneficial for your mental and emotional wellbeing, and it is one that helps us in this process of accepting reality without any judgement of whether it is good or bad. To practise mindfulness is to make yourself fully aware of the present moment and to keep returning to the present moment every time your thoughts wander off or start creating narratives about what is happening. In the present moment is where peace can be found and that is what we need now more than ever, when it feels like there is little we can control or predict about the future.
Within mindfulness is also an acceptance of this idea that change is constant so each moment will pass. This is a helpful reminder when we are struggling with the here and now… the situation we find ourselves in and the feelings we have now will also change.