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Embracing Change and easing Anxiety

Change is inevitable. It carries with it the promise of growth, the potential for new beginnings, and the prospect of transformation. However, it often comes hand in hand with its close companion: Anxiety.

Picture of the sun rising in the morning over a hill between trees
Sunrise: change and new beginnings

Whether it be a new job, a shift in relationships, or a change in circumstances beyond our control, the uncertainty that change brings can trigger feelings of unease and apprehension. This unease and sense of dread can cloud your judgement, often missing the change as an opportunity for self-discovery and resilience. Even before it happens, change can often feel like a storm brewing on the horizon, stirring up feelings of anxiety and uncertainty within us.

Embracing change requires us to acknowledge the discomfort it brings, to sit with the uncertainty, and to cultivate a sense of openness to what lies ahead. It is about shifting our perspective from one of fear and resistance to one of curiosity and acceptance. Choosing to see it as a chance for growth and self-discovery.

But how do we do this?

One of the key techniques used in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is cognitive restructuring. This involves identifying and challenging irrational or distorted thoughts. By examining the evidence for and against our negative beliefs about change, we can begin to cultivate a more balanced and realistic perspective. For example, instead of catastrophizing about all the things that could go wrong, we can challenge ourselves to consider the potential opportunities and positive outcomes that change may bring.

Instead of viewing challenges as obstacles, we can choose to see them as stepping stones on the path to realising our full potential. Every set back becomes an opportunity for growth, any detour a chance to explore new directions.

Another technique of CBT is behavioural activation. This involves taking proactive steps to engage in activities that bring us a sense of pleasure or accomplishment. When we're feeling anxious about change, it is natural to want to retreat into our comfort zones and avoid anything that feels unfamiliar or challenging. By gradually exposing ourselves to the things that we fear and finding ways to cope with our discomfort, we can build our confidence and resilience over time.

In order to do cognitive restructuring or behavioural activation, I believe we must first be aware of our resistance and anxiety about change. This is possible using one of the most powerful techniques for anxiety in the face of change, mindfulness. By grounding ourselves in the present moment, we can create a sense of calm amidst the storm of uncertainty. Mindfulness allows us to observe our thoughts and emotions without judgement, to develop a greater self-awareness and emotional resilience. It can also provide us with the clarity and perspective needed to navigate change.

In addition, creating a strong support network can provide us with the encouragement and reassurance needed to weather the storms of change. Whether it is friends, family or a community of likeminded individuals. Having a support system in place can help us feel less alone in our journey and more capable of facing whatever challenges may come our way. Engaging in supportive relationships and seeking out the guidance of a trained therapist can provide us with the encouragement, validation, and practical guidance needed to face our fears and embrace the opportunities for growth that change presents.

Change is not something to be feared but something to be embraced as part of a human experience. It is through change that we discover our resilience, uncover our strengths, and follow the path to a more fulfilling life. So, try and welcome change with open arms knowing that within lies the promise of growth, transformation, and endless possibility. CBT offers a powerful toolkit for supporting you through the journey of change, easing anxiety by challenging thought patterns and developing effective coping strategies. Together we can create a greater sense of resilience and empowerment in the face of life's inevitable transitions. Embrace your journeys of change knowing that, with the right tools and support, you can weather any storm that comes your way.


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