Has there been a recent big change in your life? Have you been made redundant, separated or divorced? Are you struggling to cope with the change? This article explains the five emotional stages of change and how you can thrive during change so you have a successful and happy life.
Change is inevitable. Your body is changing. The earth is changing. The economy and technology are changing. Although you can resist change or be swept away by it, you can choose to cooperate with it, adapt to it and benefit from it. It is your choice.
When you embrace change as a part of everyday life, you will look for new ways to use the change to make your life better and more rewarding and ultimately thrive during change.
Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.
– John F. Kennedy.
When change takes place, most people try to maintain the status quo, which leads frustration and resentment, but if you understand the five emotional stages of change, you can manage the process and your emotional state more effectively.
To help you thrive during change, it is helpful to understand the five emotional stages you go through. The five emotional stages of change are:
How to thrive during the shock stage
During the shock stage you have an urge to procrastinate. You can feel angry, trapped, and even fearful. Watch out for self-talk such as I feel like a victim, I feel used, and nothing ever seems to work out for me.
Replace this inner dialogue with: I feel great, I am in control, and I can make things happen.
The best way to deal with these emotions is to let off steam and reassure yourself that the change is temporary and your situation will get better, even if you are not entirely sure how.
You need to believe that the change is not personal although it might feel like it. You can use the powerful Emotional Freedom Technique to help release these negative emotions.
How to thrive during the denial stage
At this stage you are afraid to face the truth. You have a false perception of your situation and think you can to cope with change. You may even think everyone else is to blame. Unless you take action you can become locked in this stage which can result in more misfortune. You don’t want to deal with the emotional stress and the physical inconvenience of the change.
It is important to get feedback from friends and colleagues at this stage to help you realise whether you are in denial and deluding yourself of the reality of your situation. Speak to people about your situation and reflect on how you’re handling it. The solution may require a drastic change in your life but it might not always mean you have to quit your job, get a divorce or sack a worker.
But asking for feedback is only the first half of the equation. Once you receive feedback you have to be willing to respond to it and not stay stuck in the denial stage.
There are two kinds of feedback you will receive – negative and positive. it goes without saying we all prefer positive feedback as it makes us feel better, it tells us we are on the right track and doing the right thing.
We don’t tend to like negative feedback. But there is as much useful information in negative feedback as there is in positive. It tells us we are off course, heading in the wrong direction and doing the wrong thing, which is very valuable information.
You need to change how you feel about negative feedback. You should see this as information to improve. To flourish during change you need to welcome, receive and embrace all types of feedback that come your way.
How to thrive during the realisation stage
You may feel worse as you start to realise that your skillset isn’t up to helping you cope with the change. Most likely you will go into survival mode. You start feeling inadequate and anxious which can affect all parts of your life.
It is crucial to get support at this stage, to help with the emotions you are feeling. Talk to friends, family and colleagues. Remember to ask for some tolerance for being grumpy and scared. You need to feel it is okay to feel the way you do. When you are under stress, it is important that people give you permission to express your negative emotions.
How to thrive during the acceptance stage
At this stage, you start to take personal responsibility for dealing with the change in your life. You finally stop resisting and embrace the change.
Now it’s time to find out how other people coped with similar types of change. Find out if there are friends, family or colleagues who have been in a similar situation and learn how they coped with their change.
Try to remember a time when you experienced change but resisted. Perhaps it was a house move, a new job or change in a relationship? A change you would have to deal with but thought it was the worst thing in the world to happen.
What happened after you gave into the change? Did you find your life actually improved? Do you look back now and say “I’m glad it happened and things worked out better for me”?
If you can try to remember that you’ve been through changes in the past and they mostly worked out better for you, you can begin to accept and approach change with excitement and anticipation.
To help accept any change ask yourself the following questions:
- What’re changes in my life that I’m currently resisting?
- Why am I resisting that change?
- What am I afraid of?
- What am I afraid might happen?
- What’s the benefit of keeping things as they are?
- What are the benefits if this change happens?
- What should I do to embrace the change?
- What’s the first step I should take to accept the change?
How to thrive during the modelling stage
At this stage, you are adapting and integrating new ways of living your life. You start modelling your behaviour on people who have dealt with similar change successfully. You start to feel more capable, competent and generally happier.
There are lots of ways to find successful people who embrace change. You can join professional groups or attend conferences. You could volunteer at your church or temple or attend lectures, courses seminars or retreats taught by those who have achieved and thrive with change.
Do not surround yourself with people who have a negative attitude who are toxic. These are the people who bring tension, stress and disorder to your life. Instead surround yourself with people who are happy, who are growing, who want to learn, who don’t mind saying sorry or thank you and are having a fun time. Only surround yourself with people who are going to raise you higher. These are the people who believe in you, encourage you to go after your dreams and applaud your victories. Surround yourself with possibility thinkers, idealists and visionaries.
As you start to model yourself on successful people, it is important to welcome making mistakes, as modelling is best achieved by trial and error.
It’s the key to success is making sure that the time taken at each stage is kept to a minimum and you reach stage five as quickly as possible. Everyone reacts differently to change and each person spends a different length of time at each stage.
As you emerge from change, modelling starts to happen. You settle into new ways of doing things and become more flexible because you have had to learn to cope with your new environment.
Your perception of your own competence is now more positive and you are more measured.
How can hypnotherapy help me thrive during change?
Hypnotherapy can help you believe in yourself and have the confidence to take the first step towards achieving your goals. Low self-confidence can make it feel too daunting to even take the first step of change for fear of failing. Hypnotherapy can improve your motivation and confidence so that you can thrive during change.
Your negative thoughts are all based on your life experiences leading up to today. Your negative thoughts also contribute to your limiting beliefs about what you think is possible and what’s not. Hypnotherapy can help you practice positive thinking and believe the impossible is possible.
Hypnosis can help you wipe away the graffiti on your walls and erase your limiting beliefs so you really believe in what you are asking for, so it can become your reality. If you would like any help thriving during change, please get in touch for a free consultation.