Read the headlines and you notice that change is everywhere. Change in the workplace, change in technology, change in the climate. Step back and notice change in personal relationships or change in your own health.
As human beings, change that we have no control over can be threatening to us. It triggers our amygdala (the fight or flight part of the brain). That can lead to fear, anxiety, and other emotions that can hijack clear thinking and perspective. It can prevent us from being creative in challenging situations.
This week’s mindful practice is to notice your relationship with change. To practice this, start to become aware of a change that is impacting you. It might be large (e.g. your organization is restructuring, and you may fear for your job). It might be not so large (someone changes a plan you had made or counted on). Then notice your reaction to the change. What thoughts and emotions arise as a result? You can even use the Mind Story Map™ to capture them. Completely accept the response you have without judgment. Our amygdala-driven reactions can include fight (resist the change), flight (disconnect or disengage or pretend the change isn’t happening), freeze (be in a state of confusion), or appease (try to please your way through a situation, hoping the change won’t affect you), or any combination of these. Our work is to just notice with self-compassion.
You can take a few deep breaths to center yourself to deepen your noticing. As you breathe deeply it allows you to become calmer and your rational thinking brain can take over. It allows you to respond rather than react to change. Knowing your response to change, accepting it, and then finding calm in the chaos of change will make you a more effective leader of yourself and others. A practice you may find helpful is “Practice Staying Ground In Change” that is part of the Mindfulness Practice course here. Over time, mindfulness practice actually reduces the size of your amygdala and increases the size of your rational thinking brain. And that, my friends is a good gift to yourself.
Wishing you a mindful week!
P.S. One-Minute Mindfulness are short reads that give you a practice a week so you can experience being mindful in the activities you’re already doing. If you’d like to learn and create mindfulness habits with teammates and friends, please share this link to sign up.
P.P.S. I would love for you to share your experience or questions from this practice in the comments below.