Why we fear change (and how to overcome it)

You can recover from a broken heart

While there are some people out there who relish change and embrace new experiences, for many of us – change instills a feeling of fear. Humans like comfort and we are generally creatures of habit. The idea of breaking our habits often leads to anxiety, which is why many of us don’t change until the discomfort of our situation becomes greater than our fear of change.

Making this change (whatever it happens to be) ultimately pushes us out of our comfort zone and into a place of growth. This process of growth often happens in waves – a cycle known as evolutionary catharsis. This is the repeated upheaval and cleansing of our lives, and just like that moment we decide we have to clean out our wardrobes – it often gets messier before it gets clean.

Right before a ‘growth spurt’ many of us experience a temporary feeling of discomfort, manifesting as self-defeating behaviours. These behaviours are often learnt in childhood as coping mechanisms, and they tend to fall in the following categories:

1. Those who try to push energy out to reduce feelings of being overwhelmed

Typical behaviours include shouting, feeling physically unwell and compulsive behaviours.

2. Those who try to stop any additional energy from entering their system

Typical behaviours include withdrawal, a lack of appetite and even depression.

3. Those who try to distract themselves from the chaos inside

Typical distractions and behaviours include watching excessive amounts of television, any form of addiction and dissociation.

So what can we do about it?

Recognising the behaviours that occur before a change takes place is a fantastic start. The behaviours may temporarily help to release the pressure of growth, however the end result will see you staying exactly where you are. Accept the discomfort you feel when things need to change, view it with curiosity and detachment. Learning to tolerate this discomfort rather than running away from it with the behaviours listed above is what allows us to take the leap into a state of awareness and being – and this is where we’ll grow.

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Katherine Nicholls

Written by Katherine Nicholls

Kat is a Content Producer for Memiah and writer for Counselling Directory and Happiful magazine.

Written by Katherine Nicholls

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