How to Get Comfortable With the Discomfort of Change

When we learn how to navigate change with more ease, we’re able to meet it and move through it.

Photo Credit: Paul Gilmore via Unsplash

Change is often labeled as uncomfortable.

As a behavior change specialist and human being, I can’t disagree. Having our routines ruffled is far from soothing. After all, we are creatures of habit (even if we don’t want to admit it), and for good reason.

Whether we’re conscious of it or not, familiarity calms us. In other words, roots us as we face the ever-changing flow of life. Our desire to cling to routine is our instinctual knowing that we need to establish some control in our lives in order to handle the uncontrollable.

While our routines serve us, I’ve observed something that does not…

When we talk about change, we’re usually focused on major events — changing careers, ending a relationship, going back to school, the state of our health, the loss of someone or something, and so on.

It certainly makes sense to discuss these life-defining choices and events while we chat about or try to comprehend change. But here’s the thing: change is a constant. It is always happening — even when we’re not in the midst of a massive shift, yet we rarely acknowledge or discuss it during these seemingly quiet periods.

As a result, we build a distant relationship with something that is continuously occurring in one way or another. And the problem with this…

When something feels unfamiliar, our defenses go up and we generate more fear around it, subsequently we become more wary of it.

This wariness keeps us from meeting change. Instead, we avoid it as much as possible. Therefore we stay in the same patterns or situations which halts our ability to evolve.

We can’t change the fact that we’ll experience the discomfort of change but we can change our relationship with it. And this is done by learning how to navigate it.

When we learn how to handle change, we are able to create comfort within the inevitable discomfort, move through it, and ultimately change our relationship with it.

Many times we think we have to make big changes to impact our life. Yes, sometimes a big change is necessary to fulfill our desires. However, without question, the small changes we make will create the most sustainable impact and actualize our aspirations.

Here are some tips that will help you navigate and create more comfort within the discomfort of change:

Identify the origin. Is a should or want sparking the change? Shifting the onset from should to want means there is commitment and excitement behind it. And those two things will motivate you to relax into and push through the discomfort. The next time you contemplate making a change ask yourself:

What do I want to do? Why do I want to do it? Who do I want to do it for?

Have a routine or routines in place. We all need some stability in order to meet the instability that comes with change. It doesn’t matter if you initiate the change or not. When one part of your world is shifting, it doesn’t mean that every part of it needs to. Calm the effects from the shift by establishing or sticking to your daily rituals, and follow them to a tee.

Acknowledge and allow the discomfort. Let yourself feel less than great without judgement. This acceptance will actually lessen the intensity of whatever you’re experiencing. The very notion of trying to get rid of it is what makes it stick around and stir up trouble.

Stay tapped in. Pay attention. The more you’re in touch with what’s happening day-to-day in your inner and outer worlds, you’ll know the changes that need to be made. And you’ll see that change is in fact a constant. This won’t change the uneasiness that comes from it, but it will change your perspective of it.