Fear of change

31st August 2023 | Mental health

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Change is an inevitable part of life that can evoke a range of emotions within us. We can’t always control change, but we can control the way we deal with it.

For some, change is exciting and full of possibility, while for others, it can be a source of anxiety and fear. If you find yourself experiencing fear of change, please remember that you are not alone. Many people experience fear when faced with the prospect of making a significant change in their lives. In this blog, we will explore the fear of change in more detail and offer tips and strategies for managing it.

What is the fear of change?

The fear of change is a type of anxiety that arises when we are faced with a new or unfamiliar situation. It can present itself in several ways and identifying the root of our fear is key as it is not always the actual change we fear, but what it represents.  For example, becoming newly single again, moving away from home or pursuing a new career could actually be caused by fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of loss, fear of the consequences of taking action, or a mixture of all! 

The fear of change can hold us back from pursuing our goals, enjoying new opportunities or experiences, and ultimately, living a fulfilling life. It can also lead to feelings of frustration, disappointment, and regret if we allow it to control our actions.

Why do we fear change?

There are several reasons why we fear change, but one of the most common is the fear of the unknown. Human beings are creatures of habit, and we tend to feel more comfortable and secure when we know what to expect. When faced with a situation or opportunity that we are unsure about, our brain automatically goes into survival mode, and fear sets in.

Another reason for fear of change is the fear of failure. When we take a new direction or embark on a new venture, there is always a risk of failure. Thoughts such as ‘What if I can’t do it?’ can hold us back from trying new things or pursuing our dreams, even if the potential rewards are significant.

Lastly, the fear of change can also be rooted in a fear of loss. When we are comfortable with our current situation, we fear that a change will result in losing what we have. This can be particularly true when it comes to relationships, as we fear that a change will lead to loss and heartbreak.  This can leave us stuck in unhealthy relationships as we dare not imagine the life and happiness we could have away from it.

Managing the fear of change

If you find yourself experiencing fear of change, there are several strategies you can use to manage it. Here are some tips to get started:

Identify the source of your fear – Understanding the root cause of your fear can help you better manage it. Take some time to reflect on what is driving your fear of change.  Be honest with yourself here!

Embrace uncertainty – Accept that uncertainty is a part of life, and that change is inevitable. Try to view it as an opportunity for growth and learning, rather than something to be feared. Remind yourself of previous situations where you have survived uncertainty and change – you can do it again!

Reframe your mindset – Focus on the potential benefits of change rather than the risks. Remind yourself of why you are making the change and what you hope to achieve. Some people like to write down bullet points of benefits,  so it is clear in our minds.

Take small steps – If the idea of a significant change feels overwhelming, try breaking it down into smaller, more manageable steps. This approach can help you feel more in control and make the change more comfortable to navigate. By having incremental small wins, your confidence will grow with each step.

Seek support – Talk to friends or family members who have gone through similar experiences or are good listeners who have your best interests at heart. If this doesn’t feel possible, consider speaking to a counsellor or therapist who can help you navigate your feelings and develop coping strategies.

Practice self-care – Change can be stressful, so it’s important to prioritise self-care during transitional periods in your life. Try and make time for activities that promote relaxation and calm, such as meditation, yoga, or spending time in nature.  Be kind to yourself in the same way you would be to a loved one experiencing a challenging time.

Final thoughts

Change can be scary, but it can also lead to growth, learning, and a more fulfilling life. If you find yourself experiencing fear of change, remember that you are not alone, and there are strategies you can use to manage it. By embracing uncertainty, reframing your mindset, and seeking support, you can navigate change with greater ease and confidence.  We only get one life, let’s make the most of it!

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