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Brilliant Stress Management by Dr. Mike Clayton

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Manage stress caused by change 159
no. We put off facing the inevitable change until we are con-
fronted by it and then nd ourselves getting angry with our
bosses or upset, or bitter. At the root of all these emotions is the
big one: fear. We fear the unknown, we fear not being able to
cope, we fear failure. As the emotions subside, we nd a dozen
reasons why it won’t work and resist the change, until we start
to see how it could work – or is already beginning to work – and
we then begin to explore what the change means to us. We come
to accept that there is a new reality and eventually make a com-
mitment to it.
If we cannot accept the change and commit to a positive future
for ourselves, we cannot regain control, and we are lost.
Personal tolerance for change
Nobody likes change. On the other hand, we all embrace change
all of the time.
The difference is the degree of change that will push each of us
into discomfort. For some, that level of change is vast and, for
others, even the smallest change is painfully unsettling. Existing
stress will diminish your ability to cope with change, making
what would otherwise seem like a minor tremor feel like a huge
earthquake in your life.
How to cope with the stress of change
Because stress comes from a feeling of not being in control, the
early stages of change are the hardest to cope with. You become
suddenly aware that events are beyond your control, and then
your brain hijacks your conscious control and oods your being
with emotion.
Your emotional response
So, to immediately start to regain control, make a conscious
choice to respect your emotions. Your emotional cycle is natural
160 brilliant stress management
and overpowering, so accepting it is the only real control you can
have over it. And while you are at it, look around you: you are
not alone. Respect other people’s emotions too.
The way to move on from a highly emotional state is to examine
your emotions. Ask yourself:
Exactly what emotions am I feeling?
What is causing these emotions?
What am I afraid of?
In examining your emotions in this way, you are being respectful
of them, but starting to discharge them and move your brain into
a more rational mode. Now is the time to take control of your
health. If you are to respond resourcefully to difcult changes,
you need to be as rested, t and well fed as you can, so make
a conscious decision to prioritise eating well, exercising and
getting enough sleep or good-quality rest.
Your rational response
Now that your brain is in a reasoning mode, you will start
to recognise all of the threats and challenges ahead. To avoid
becoming paralysed by fear, share
your concerns with somebody else.
There is a lot of emotional truth in
the old saying that a problem shared
is a problem halved’. With someone
whom you trust that you can speak
to, you can express your resistance
and start to explore your options without feeling too exposed to
the wide world when you do it.
The most important thing you can do in seizing control is to
base your choices on the best available evidence. So, ask ques-
tions and nd out the facts. Separate truth from rumour, invite
to avoid becoming
paralysed by fear, share
your concerns with
somebody else

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