Change Causes Anxiety
If as your slept tonight any area of your life could miraculously change for the better - what would change about your life?
Chances are, as you asked yourself this question you thought of several things that in an ideal world, you would like to change about your life. Maybe the thoughts that came into your mind included:
- I would quit my boring job and do something professionally that I am truly passionate about e.g. cooking/dancing/writing/starting a business etc.
- I would leave my unfulfilling relationship and find someone that really suits me and my personality, allowing me to grow and thrive.
- I would take more time for myself and to pursue my hobbies.
- I would stop seeing/speaking to that unkind/angry/drama-obsessed friend and find new friends that have values closer to my own.
- I would be healthy and happy - finally having enough time to get plenty of sleep, eat nourishing food and take care of my body.
If these are some of the things that came to mind for you - and there are things about your life that in an ideal world you would change - why are you not doing anything to change these things? IT IS BECAUSE CHANGE IS EXTREMELY SCARY FOR ALL OF US. In fact, change can cause us to get extremely anxious. There is a part of our brain that believes that everything that we do day-in-and-day-out are things that we need to do in order to stay safe and to survive. So even that job you hate and that dysfunctional relationship are categorised as things you NEED to keep doing in order to stay safe. Of course, consciously and rationally, we know that our lives could improve immensely if we just took a risk - pushed past that fear and did those scary things to change our life anyway.
This fear and anxiety that change brings about is what causes so many people to stay trapped on the hamster wheel of life, doing the same thing day-in-and-day-out without ever really feeling fulfilled or happy. However, in order to change your life for the better - you have to get comfortable with getting uncomfortable. You have to sit with anxiety, realise that your dreams and change are making you feel anxious and follow those dreams anyway. That part of your brain that feels anxious and wants to keep you safe will try its best to come up with excuses to try and talk you out of what you want to do, maybe it will say:
- the security of this stable salary is actually really great - you should just appreciate it even though you hate the work;
- there is nobody out there that would be a good match for me or find me attractive, I might as well stay in this relationship;
- making more time for myself is selfish; or
- I can change my diet tomorrow or next week, once I have more time and am less busy at work.
Change is scary for me and it causes me a lot of anxiety too, what is scarier however is never doing what I truly want to in life, because of a fear of it not working out. If there are things in your life that you wish you could change but feel too scared to do so, keep reminding yourself that change is always scary and your mind is designed to throw up excuses and doubts. Yet notice and feel that fear and do what you truly want to and dream of anyway - because life is too short not to try to live your best life.
“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.” ― Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Screenplay