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Health and Wellbeing

09 Jun 2020

Adaptability in a time of great change

By Rajna Bogdanovic

We cannot avoid the unexpected events in life that produce the need for change, the events that force us to step out of our comfort zone.

What we can do instead is modify our relationship with change so that we can learn to accept the parts of change that scare us and use it to continually grow. If we do not grow from these unexpected events and rise to the challenges, we are denying ourselves that opportunity to learn.

Adaptability is an individual’s capacity to respond appropriately and make good choices in times of change. There are three key aspects involved in adaptability to change; adjusting your thinking, adjusting your behaviour, and adjusting your emotions. 

  • Adjust your thinking: approach the situation in a different way, try to find the best aspects of the new situation you are having to adjust to, such as what new opportunities this might bring. This will help you see the positives of the change, rather than the negative.
  • Adjust your behaviour: this could be proactive, such as seeking out more information or reorganising and developing a new schedule that helps you adjust to the changes.
  • Managing emotions: You can try to find humour in daunting situations, find the positives and remind yourself what is most important in your life. Things such as family, friends, or hobbies can make a big change more manageable.

Once we are able to make some adjustments to our thinking, behaviour and emotions, we can ask ourselves some questions to assess our understanding of the situation:

  • What opportunities does this change offer? Change means that things are different from before, with new doors being opened. What will you do to take advantage of those new doors? By sitting down and evaluating what new fascinating opportunities there are after the lockdown finishes you may find it being remembered as a growth opportunity rather than dark times.
  • What is beyond my control, and why is this okay? Of course, some things we can’t change, like how other people react to their return to society, or the eventual change of the schedule you’re so used to. We need to understand that some things are going to happen without our choosing, and that we do what we can to adapt to this.
  • How can I help others in their return to society? It can be as simple as listening to your significant other about their day, striking up conversations with your colleagues or even just saying “thank you” to the barista making your coffee.
  • How can I grow from this change? Whether its setting new goals, letting go of regrets, finding new meaning in life, or writing a list of scary things - and doing them, The key is that you commit to activities that enable you to be resilient, optimistic, physically and mentally fit to successfully work through the impact that change can bring to your life.

Most of us desire to live successful, happy and long lives. To achieve this we need to be proactive about how we manage the change we face in our lives. Not with denial and resistance, but with adaptability, resilience and a shift in mindset •

 

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