Author of Butter Side Up : How I Survived My Most Terrible Year & Created My Super Awesome Life & Jane’s Jam: Inspiration To Create Your Super Awesome Life
We all have moments in our lives where the unexpected happens and we ask ourselves “why me?” The COVID pandemic is a perfect example of this. Never in the history of our planet has the world simultaneously experienced such rapid, disruptive change at all levels including transportation, communication, education, commerce, health, employment and our daily interactions with others.
With COVID still nipping at our heels globally, and uncertain times at our feet, it can be very stressful to think about “what’s next?” This can feel devastating sometimes, and it is easy to get our minds caught in a loop of anger, sadness, resentment and denial as we search for answers. What we do know is that regardless of who we are, or where we live, all of us are in this period of uncertainty together. When we find ourselves reeling from unexpected change it is encouraging to remember that we can choose to accept that change has happened and move forward in a positive manner.
Acceptance is the first step towards successfully navigating change—especially the unwanted kind. This does not mean that you need to be happy about how COVID, or this endemic as it is now called, is disrupting your life. Many of us have experienced loss of some kind: a loved one, a way of life, or financial repercussions, and those are all hard, sad things to go through. Accepting that change has happened simply means that you don’t resist, reject, or deny your new circumstances.
Acceptance helps you move forward, shift your perspective, and develop a more positive mindset. Acceptance can also help you become a more flexible thinker, and foster your ability to respond to changes productively rather than react to them impulsively. If you accept that rapid, unexpected change, good or bad, can happen at any time, you set the stage for using strategies such as Outside-In Thinking, Mindfulness, and Gratitude more effectively.
Outside-In Thinking Helps You Visualize & Plan The Route
Looking at your life from the outside-in, rather than the inside-out, helps you see the big picture. In other words, being in the audience rather than in the play and “watching” your feelings unfold as a situation is happening.
Observing yourself this way—including your behavior and patterns, as well as what makes you happy, and unhappy—helps you set intentions that align with positive new activities and routines after periods of loss. Doing this will reinforce your new mindset and goals which help you visualize and plan for what comes next. In doing so, you can reduce fear about the future, and find the upside when you need it—especially during uncertain times. Outside-in thinking also sharpens your decision-making skills so that you can take advantage of opportunities and avenues you may not have thought of before. Consequently, you will be better equipped to be more solution-driven, purposeful and adaptable after unwanted change.
Mindfulness Supports You As You Navigate The Journey
A good speaker knows the importance of pauses between words. An accomplished musician understands that silence between notes is as much a part of the symphony as the music itself. Similarly, taking things one day at a time, staying present, and being mindful is key to navigating stressful situations, particularly ones involving prolonged uncertainty.
Mindfulness enables you to successfully navigate change because staying in the present helps you pause, calm your thoughts, and reduce the need to focus on events of the past that were unpleasant, or anxiety and worry about the future. By clearing the clutter in our minds, we reduce worry about what will, or won’t happen next.
Gratitude Illuminates The Path
Gratitude is an affirmation of goodness. It is also an underused tool that helps us respond to change, especially the unpleasant kind. Recognizing what you have to be grateful for after an unplanned, unwanted change can be challenging though. It is human nature to spend time and energy mourning what we have lost and forget to appreciate what we have. Add some prolonged uncertainty that comes with disruptions—like a global pandemic—and feelings of depression and anxiety can skyrocket.
The antidote to this is to acknowledge things, even small ones, that you are thankful for. While we cannot control what is happening, we can control how we respond to events in our lives. Recognize that despite life’s challenges, you can manage to some extent how your day unfolds. While gratitude doesn’t make you immune to negative feelings, it can help make you more resilient because it focuses our attention on more positive emotions rather than negative ones. People with a more grateful disposition are also more likely to bounce back after great adversity. Our intention creates our reality, and gratitude illuminates the path by helping us focus on our blessings, and staying positive.
Jane Enright is an ordinary person who has survived some extraordinary things. An inspiring and humorous inspirational author, speaker, and positivity expert, Canada-based Enright is a former kindergarten teacher, strategic planner, and university lecturer, as well as the founder and CEO of Everything at My Super Awesome Life Inc. She is also the author of Butter Side Up: How I Survived My Most Terrible Year & Created My Super Awesome Life and Jane’ Jam: Inspiration To Create Your Super Awesome Life.
Jane speaks to audiences seeking answers to overcoming a fear of the unknown, grief, stress, loss, depression, anxiety, stagnation, indecision, sadness, and more. From top executives to stay-at-home moms, she is helping audiences throughout North America land “butter side up” find joy, successfully manage change and choices, and learn how to create their super awesome life after unexpected change.
You can find Jane on LinkedIn and Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. For more information, visit her at www.mysuperawesomelife.com, www.janeenrightauthor.com, and https://shewritespress.com/portfolio/jane-enright/