“Shift Happens”

Change

 

 

 

 

Earlier this week I posted a quote about Change. This is because I’ve spent the last few days preparing, once again, for more changes. Actually, it feels like “things” have been changing for the past several years:

  • It began with my graduation from college in 2013. I had a consistent schedule of work, school, and homework for the prior four years and that changed once the degree was in hand.
  • My dad’s health decline over several years, placement in the nursing home, and  eventual death brought many changes as well.
  • Then came my daughter’s graduation and move to Florida, which followed two years after my son and daughter-in-law’s move to the Sunshine State.
  • The decision to leave my old job was the right one; the verdict on whether my decision to move south with the kids remains to be seen. I need to get some clarity regarding where I’m headed.

So, how does one find clarity regarding life choices amidst all this change? Do we find it by doing the same things, in the same places, with the same people? Or, is it more likely that we’ll find it by making some changes? And why is change so hard?

“They must often change, who would be constant in happiness or wisdom.” ~ Confucius


Like it or not, “shift happens,” to borrow the phrase, with a slight twist. It’s always happening and I lost sight of that. Looking back over my life I see time periods that defined who I was: child, adolescent, single adult, married adult, parent, etc. During each of those periods life followed a specific script and set of activities. Those things became familiar, routine, and very comfortable. When we get comfortable, we tend to get stagnant and that’s when change begins to feel scary. 

Coping with life changes discusses six common situations that can create a lot of anxiety. After reading it I discovered that I’ve already experienced four and I’m still standing! It offers suggestions to help calm the fears and help us better understand why we’re feeling the fear in the first place.


I’m also reminded of the framed quote that I kept on my desk at the job I left to create something better for myself. It said:

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” ~ Neale Donald Walsch

Jump for joy


Well, I’ve most definitely stepped out of my comfort zone; the only thing left to do now is enjoy the adventure that living everyday is!

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resolution #1 – Positivity

Negative Positive

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves. ~ Bill Vaughan

With another new year upon us, I’m considering what resolutions I’ll make this time around. It’s easy to fall back on all the old familiar ones:

  • Lose weight
  • Eat more vegetables
  • Cut out sugar
  • Exercise more

However, after giving this some thought, I decided to go a different route.

If you happen to read the news these days you may have noticed how depressing it is. We get a steady diet of violence, crime, poverty, crooked politicians and business people, global warming, etc. I have a tendency to ruminate on the graphic details of gun violence. After the last of many recent mass shootings I had a nightmare; the first one in many years. I wrote a post about it called Scary World, Scary Dreams

Happy Sad Faces

It got me thinking about how all this negativity affects our minds and ultimately our moods. During my search on the Internet I found a great article on attn.com called What Negative Thinking Does to Your Brain, written by Kathleen Toohill. It talks about how our brains are wired to have a negativity bias, the effects of negative thinking, and how to shift negative thought patterns. It’s amazing to me that we have the ability to alter the structure of our brains through a process called neuroplasticity. In other words, we can beat the negative bias that evolution programmed into our brains by thinking positive thoughts and participating in positive experiences. Practicing mindfulness, affirmations, meditation, and keeping a gratitude journal are just a few ways to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.

Happy among SadAs I compose a short list of new year’s resolutions for 2016 I’m going to add “practice positivity.” I can’t change or prevent the bad stuff from happening, but I can limit the negativity and focus more on the positive aspects of life. There are many inspirational stories out there; you just have to work a bit harder to find them!