Phases of Change: How Adaptability Can Reduce Stress
Change. It’s a word many of us dread. Understandably so, as feelings of uncertainty, stress, and anxiety often go hand in hand with change. What do you picture when you hear the word change?
Do you think of being placed in uncomfortable new situations? Do you imagine your palms sweating, your heart beating quickly, your mouth going dry as you’re forced into a stressful predicament?
If so, you’re not alone. We get it. Change is scary for everyone, regardless of age, job, status, location, and level of confidence.
However, adapting to change can help alleviate stress and give you a better handle on life, which is the goal!
What are the phases of change?
Phase 1- THE CHANGE
The Change is the first phase and represents the change event. The event can be disruptive or subtle. There are times we see it coming and other times when change is unexpected. When a change first occurs, people’s initial reactions are often shock or denial as they grapple with the change and attempt to react to the challenge to the status quo. Once reality sets in, phase 2 begins.
Phase 2- THE ENDING
Where there is an ending there is a loss. It is the loss more than the change itself that we typically struggle letting go of. Negativity is a key component of this phase. Disruption occurs, and chaos can ensue if emotions and reactions are not appropriately managed. People fear the impact of the change, feel angry, and sometimes resist or protest against the changes.
If people don’t move past these resistant behaviors, they fail to move to phase 3. It’s not uncommon for people to remain in phase 2 as long as they continue harboring negative feelings about the change.
Phase 3- THE TURNING POINT
The Turning Point is the third phase in the cycle of change. Pessimism and resistance give way to a tad bit of optimism and acceptance as people begin to let go of their perceived losses from the change.
They begin testing and exploring what the changes truly mean, thus learning the reality of what’s good and bad about the changes, and how they must adapt accordingly. Most of our successful failures happen at this stage and depending on how we behave through this critical phase will determine if we survive our Adapting to Change or thrive through it.
Phase 4- THE NEW BEGINNING
The fourth phase is called the New Beginning. As something ends, something new begins. In this phase we found acceptance and are open to new possibilities. Now is the time for commitment as people not only accept the changes but also start to embrace them. They rebuild their ways of working and viewing their reality. Only when people get to this stage do the benefits of change start becoming fruitful.
Keeping an open mind and harnessing your adaptability skills can make these phases shorter. The goal is to get to the last phase as quickly as possible to start reaping the benefits of the change.
By knowing the four phases and staying mindful of the natural progression of your feelings toward change, you have the power to conquer the model and accelerate change and success.
JB Partners invites you to join the SMaRT Club! You fight stress every day of your life—and pushing yourself to face that fight, day after day, only adds to your stress.
Stress Management & Resilience Training (SMaRT) gives you the gumption to take care of yourself by turning around your fight-or-flight response. It’s the preventative approach to stress management that teaches you to identify your stress triggers and the right coping strategies to stop the cycle of physical, mental, and emotional tension before it starts.
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