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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Secret to Starting Life Over

I move from the old to the new with ease and joy--Susan J Meyerott, Artist
'Flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.' Douglas Adams

On the Brink of Transition?

Where are you at this very moment in your life? What are you trying to accomplish? Where are you starting over? What's making you anxious? 
  • Are you looking for a suitable mate or considering breaking up with someone?
  • Are you thinking of having a family or trying to get back into the workforce after having a baby?
  • Are you searching for a new job or trying to decide if you want to quit your current job or break into a new field of work? 
  • Did you finish college and you now face transitioning into adulthood and a new life and career?
  • Are you trying to decide when to retire or how to reinvent your life?
  • Are you buying a car, a home, or working on a home improvement project? 

Maslow's hierarchy of needs--from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Why Do I Feel Anxious and Tense?

No matter how good or bad you perceive a life change to be, whenever you start over in some area of life--according to Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs--you're left feeling anxious and tense as you nose-dive from being your most confident, best ('self-actualized') self to someone who is now concerned with basic safety needs. 

As explained on Wikipedia:
"The most fundamental and basic four layers of the hierarchy of needs contain what Maslow called 'deficiency needs': esteem, friendship and love, security, and physical needs. If these 'deficiency needs' are not met the individual will feel anxious and tense.

It doesn't matter how big or small a life-changing event is forcing you to stop what you're currently doing to start over. Once you've moved into that uncomfortable place of feeling unsafe and insecure you have to deal with it before you can move on. 

And whether we like it or not--before we're able to 'move on to the new with ease and joy'....we must first get unstuck from feeling mired in the fear of the unknown.

Wake Up Calls (things that go bump in the night)

The last few nights I've woken up feeling anxious. I ran into a snag on a home improvement project that is forcing me to stop and start over in my planning to complete the project. I'm stuck and I hate it.

As a result of the stress I'm woken up by 'things that go bump in the night'--in my head and body. I hate the anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach that wakes me up and robs me of a good night sleep. 

I shoot awake, heart pounding, and begin fretting about what's behind the anxiety--all the while trying to deny anything's wrong.  

But the body knows better than the mind. At the very core of my anxiety is something is making me feel unsafe that I need to acknowledge and take action on to calm my internal alarm system .

Times of transitions or change are unsettling and stressful for everyone. The fear of the unknown downshifts us into our very primitive, but street-smart, reptilian brain putting us on high alert for 'fight or flight' and making it difficult to be our best problem-solving self. 

Stress: A perceived threat, unpredictability, a feeling of loss of control, hopelessness, helplessness.
The 'How to Get Unstuck Cycle'

The Secret to Starting Over

The secret to starting over after getting stuck is to examine what stress is so you can offset the things keeping you stuck--then move into action.

If stress is:

  • A perceived threat--you must take steps to identify and deal with that threat;
  • Unpredictability--you need to take steps to make the unpredictable predictable;
  • A feeling of loss of control, helplessness and hopelessness--you need to take action.

Stress is dis-empowering--leaving you quivering in inaction. When you feel helpless or hopeless to control a situation that feeling is further fueled by inaction. This creates a 'get stuck and stay stuck' cycle in which you fail to think about, act on or evaluate your situation. 

Taking action--no matter how small--is empowering. Every time you take a step it empowers you to take another. Every step you take shows you have options and you are not helpless.

Start using the 'get started' cycle.To 'start over' or create 'new beginnings' give yourself time to cycle through the 'get started' cycle to think and plan, take action, and evaluate your actions. 

The key is to show yourself you have options by taking action and evaluating the results of your actions--then basing your next steps on what you learned. Never stop taking action.

The more you stay in a pro-active state the more predictable the 'unpredictable' will become. 

Sit in it. Accept the anxiety and tension as your body helping you figure things out 'off-line'. Until you get to the truth of naming what is making you feel unsafe and vulnerable the anxiety will remain. 

It is only after you name 'it' and take action that your anxiety will lessen.

You don't have to like facing what is bothering you but until you name it and face it you'll keep getting those wake up calls from your body.

'Make peace with your today to improve your future... It may sound odd, but the fastest way to get to a new-and-improved situation is to make peace with your current situation. If you rail against the injustices of your current situation, you hold yourself in alignment with what you do not want, and you cannot then move in the direction of improvement. It defies Law. In every particle of the Universe, there is that which is wanted - and the lack of it.'        Abraham

Trust Yourself

Even when bad things happen, trust yourself to get through the troubled time. Know that all things seemingly good or bad ultimately work in your favor. Sometimes it is the seemingly bad things that drive you to do really great things with your life. 

It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes. Douglas Adams

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For more than 30 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before.

If you're interested in learning more about closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, join the Lightarted Living mailing list. Sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog in the top right-hand corner of the page.

1 comment:

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Sue, again a powerful post with practical advice we all need from time to time!