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10 Ways to Embrace Change

Blindsided by a job loss, the author learned that the unfamiliar isn’t to be feared: It can be a chance to turn your life around.

By Katherine Russell Rich
Woman having coffeeJohn Kernick
When it came to change, my father had it licked. His motto was simply “Don’t let it happen to you.” He proudly wore the same tie he’d had since college. He moved house just three times―ever. But his town and his life were epicenters of low upheaval. For most of us, change is an unavoidable fact, something I (re)discovered when, several years back, I lost my job in a shrinking industry. Far from ruining my life, that seismic shift gave me the chance to do two things I had always hoped to do: live in India and learn a new language (Hindi). In the process, I discovered a lot about how to survive when head-rattling transformations are thrust upon you. Here are some of the tricks I picked up along the way.

1. Don't just do something; sit there. If you’re facing a massive rescaling of your life, your first impulse will be to go into a whirring spin of activity, which is exactly what I did right after I was fired. I later discovered there’s a lot of value to sitting quietly instead. In the realm of language learning, there’s a stage called the silent period: Adults may try to avoid going through it, but if you take a kid and plop her down in Paris for a spell, she’ll naturally clam up for a few months. When she opens her mouth, her French will have flowered. Making sense of a major change is a lot like that. You need to allow yourself a fallow period before you can blossom.

2. Mother yourself a little. When familiar routines suddenly dissolve, it can seem as if all your supports are gone. For a while after I lost my job, I had the sense that I was in free fall. It’s crucial, while absorbing the shock of the new, to make yourself feel well taken care of. Prepare nutritious meals for the week ahead. If you can spare the cash, have someone come in and clean the house. Yes, you need to take some time for yourself, but don’t let the pizza boxes pile up.

3. Ignore your inner reptile. There’s a part of the human mind that is often referred to as the “lizard brain,” because it existed in even the earliest land animals. The lizard brain is concerned with survival; it likes the tried and true, so it’s likely to pipe up right now, flooding you with adrenaline warnings of “Danger!” as you veer off course. This was a handy function to have when deviating from the familiar path to the watering hole may have led to an encounter with a saber-toothed tiger. But in the modern world it’s like a misfiring car alarm: pointless and annoying. 
 
Read More About:Life Strategies

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