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Change and how it impacts on your ability to think logically

Date: April 22, 2020
Author: FAITH ROGERS, RAMHP Coordinator

“Change is as good as a holiday”, they say.  “Change is character building”, they say.  “Change is not bad, it’s just different”, they say.  Who are “THEY” and do “THEY” know what “THEY” are talking about?

What I have learnt is that I do not like change.  How much change can I manage?  Drought, fire, a world-wide pandemic.  For me change has definitely been inconvenient, uncomfortable and is magnifying all of my vulnerabilities.  Wait.  I’m a confident, professional person who has the ability to think about this logically, don’t I?

In my quest to make sense of all of this “personal growth” I am experiencing at home, I stumbled across an explanation of where these changes have been affecting my life and how to use change to make it through.

Change Management has been around for a long time, it is usually used to turn around struggling businesses and organisations.  I now find myself in the same predicament, so how can I apply these concepts to me?

Robert Dilts is not a psychologist or psychiatrist, he is a software developer who happened to work out what makes up the most important components involved in producing human experience.  This highlights how to logically view where change impacts on an individual.

  1. Environment: I didn’t realize how much I relied on the outside world for my daily structure.  Now all I do is walk from the computer desk to the fridge/cupboard and the eight meter walk this entails is not enough to reduce the calories I am rapidly acquiring.  Hang on, I have a garden, a back yard, a treadmill.  If I incorporate these things into my day or week, I won’t completely lose my ability to structure daily activities or keep active, which I will need when I get back out into the world.
  2. Behaviour: The impact social isolation is having on a lack of motivation to do anything house related and invoking an unnecessary emotional response in reaction to others is noticeable.  I don’t love housework but it was just something I had to do.  It seems that now, I justify why I should not vacuum (“well the carpet is just going to get dirty in two seconds anyway”) or “why should I make the bed when I’m the only one who sees it”?  And heaven help anyone who decides to give me “constructive criticism” about my cooking, lack of house pride or inability to get out of my Ugg boots.  Maintaining the most mundane of our daily chores is crucial to sustain our sense of normalcy and allow us to experience some sense of achievement in our day.
  3. Capability/Competence: So exactly how I am going to do this?  What abilities do I have that I can draw on to get me through?  Reminding myself of my capabilities is not arrogant, it is essential at the moment.  What strengths do I possess that I can remind myself of and lean on?  It will only be my determination, honesty, reliability, focus, dedication, persistence and acceptance that are going to see me through this.
  4. Belief: Why is this happening and what do I believe in now that my reality has changed?  What I have learned is that knowing why change has happened does not always soften the experience of the change.  My belief that I can survive is strengthened by maintaining structure, connection and using my skills in some capacity every day.  It also reminds me what and who I value in my world so that isolation doesn’t overwhelm me.
  5. Identity: Who am I?  This is not something that I ask myself on a regular basis or ever really.  How has this change shaped who I am…well I’m still finding this out but I now consider my choices in life.  Do I sit in negativity or action a solution, do I worry about what I think is happening or clarify so I can move on, do I allow my world to fall apart or fight to keep it together?  Even when it feels like everything is out of our control, I can choose something that might make this moment better.
  6. Purpose: Sometimes I joke that I couldn’t find this with a GPS and a flashlight, especially trying to find purpose during loss or adversity.   The most important thing for us to remember during the toughest of times is that we are all a part of something.  That is the point.  To never forget that you are an individual who is part of a family, a neighbourhood, a committee, an organisation, a business, a community etc.

I didn’t really have an epiphany when I found this framework but it was the push I needed to think through where and how I can turn around my own perspective and make myself accountable each day in isolation.  I hope someone else can relate to my experience, in their own way, and that we pull through this together.

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