Why Is Change So Hard?

I had the opportunity to speak at one of my favorite places the other day, Vi at Silverstone, in Scottsdale, AZ. This is a remarkable community of older adults. It’s a place you walk in and instantly feel happy and at ease. Interestingly enough, though, it’s a place where change is a regular part of life. Now, of course, change is a regular part of life for all of us…the sun rises and sets, the seasons change, we are born, we enter into relationships, change jobs, have children, move, get older and die…just to name a few. The people there are coming face to face with big life transitions of their own and other’s on a regular basis. Some of these changes are our choice and some are not. Of course, the one’s that are not by personal choice are typically the most difficult. So, I came to talk about coping with transition and loss.

On that beautiful day, in that vibrant community, we talked about having an awareness of what we learned about change growing up and how that effects us as we encounter change throughout the rest of our lives. (Was it a good thing or a bad thing? Did it make you anxious, shut you down or excite you?) We talked about our perception of change and about being careful about judging change as good or bad, but rather, allowing ourselves to enjoy the benefits and the challenges of change. I encouraged my new friends to:

•Step back and get some emotional distance

•Take a breath
•Observe the situation as if they were someone else
•Be aware that a new perspective on the challenge could be a big help
•Ask themselves “How else could I look at this?”

I also recommended that they keep faith in themselves and recognize that they have a choice in how they respond to change. Rather than falling victim to it, remembering that not only could they cope with the change and manage it, they could also learn and grow from it. While some cocoons are tougher to emerge from than others, the result is always a butterfly.

We talked about the importance of maintaining mind-body-spirit balance as they navigated these big life changes. That means taking care of the whole being. Feeding, exercising and resting the body, keeping the mind active, and engaging the spirit through connections with others and whatever they find meaning in beyond themselves. Their wonderful Wellness Coordinator, Theresa, reminded us that self-care can take on many meanings. She told us a hilarious story about the favorite skirt she wears when she’s sad and struggling with a change…something big and comfy that she can blow her nose in if she needs to! Of course, we talked about the importance of keeping a sense of humor on the heals of that example…

I reminded them that there isn’t any change they can’t cope with, if they told themselves they can do it! I will remind you of that now too. Change tends to throw us off balance. All we need to do to find our center again  is to close our eyes, get a deep breath or two, and remind ourselves that we have our answers if only we will slow down and listen…

I wish you could’ve been there. It was so much fun. Hopefully, you can join me next time…

Be happy and well,
Sari Roth-Roemer


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