How to handle change better?

I admit it. Change makes me uncomfortable.

Something about it makes me go – “Oh no! Not again!”

It’s like this itch in my brain I can’t get rid of. I can rationalize it and assume it is for the best or that I need to get accustomed to it. I like to believe I am quite adaptable having lived a considerable part of my life away from home, in different countries and cities. But, handling change is easier said than done.

My problem lies with the word – change. It feels threatening. It does not make one feel as positive as ‘growth’, ‘evolve’, ‘new adventure’ etc. – those words are better sounding now, aren’t they?

Change is unsettling. It stirs something up. There is uncertainty – apprehension even. Change as such is never really bad till we decide to make it worse (guilty as charged!).

I moved to Dubai recently from Mumbai. From one melting pot to another. And while I enjoy the amazing infrastructure of Dubai – the food, the malls, the absolute indulgence – a part of me misses the chaos, the cutting chai, the street food and everything else that is Mumbai – even the horrible rains!

All this coupled with the free time that came with my job hunting phase got me thinking about how can we adapt ourselves to life changes? Make it less stressful?

Going with the listing tradition – here are the five things that helped me:

1.Get perspective

The feeling of disillusionment, not fitting in and awkwardness gets the better of ourselves. We start building this huge bubble around us of apprehension and stress.

A good thing at this point of time would be to take a step back, breathe and remember three things:

  1. The world is not coming to an end.
  2. You may not be in control of the circumstances, but you are in control of your actions.
  3. There will always be chocolate pastry.

2. See the positive

Anything feels better once you flip the point of view.

An end of something could be the beginning of an absolutely delightful new story. It’s almost like finishing a book and starting a new one. Almost.

And every book is a new story, a new adventure, a new chapter and the best thing about life is we get to script a chunk of it.

3. Do what you love

I did not deny myself chocolate pastries or books or Benedict Cumberbatch or stop obsessing over Game of Thrones or enjoy my book of Rumi’s poetry.

In all this uncertainty – I still found time to indulge in my little loves.

Don’t stop doing things that you love and make you feel better. When everything seems new or alien or different, it is important to have one’s comfort zone. This could be something as simple as a hobby or watching reruns of ‘Friends’ or spending time with friends.

4. Be open to possibilities

It may not be as bad we made it out in our head to begin with. By looking at all the negatives, we may be closing ourselves to all the good that is happening as a result of this change. Like shopping at Zara in Dubai feels more affordable than in Mumbai. That was a possibility I never dreamed of.

5. Learn something new

Once, I was done with the anxiety, the confusion and stress, rationality kicked in.

I realized I could actually use this opportunity to learn something new.

And so I did.

I learnt about Japanese food – had sushi and sashimi and wrote a food review which actually got published!

I learnt how to NOT get lost in Dubai Mall and always keep the map handy. (That is a story for another time.)

I learnt how to make Aloo Paranthas (and they were round!). My mother was more proud about this achievement of mine than anything I had ever done before!

So, I learnt to cook, read more and write more while my so called life change hit me.

 

Changes are not all that bad. We can all survive them in one way or another. Although, I’m anxious about re-branding ‘change’ as ‘navigating life’ or ‘transformation periods’ for humanity’s sake. 

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