Changes in our work routine or responsibilities can be a significant source of stress in our lives. But luckily, a great deal of how we deal with the stress of change is almost entirely in our own hands. Sure we may not have had a voice in the decision to make changes, or control of implementation, but we do have total control over how we decide to react.
Any change, whether at work or in our home life, pushes us out of our comfort zone, and into the stress of the unknown. New technology, new work assignments, or new work groups can make us anxious about our ability to adapt to new procedures and personalities. Or we may feel angry because we don’t understand what was wrong with the way things were.
Social scientists call this stress “change resistance,” and it’s nothing new. We’ve been experiencing change since we stopped scooting along the floor and decided to stand up and learn to walk. We adapt to some changes right away, others we resist, and we generally resist the ones we don’t control. We may not have been happy about our parents trying to encourage us to stand upright, but walking was pretty cool when we decided it was our idea.
Take a long view of the change’s benefits.
Most businesses are not going to initiate some major reorganization or invest in new technology without the promise of greater productivity, improved quality or a stronger role in their market. If you remember that your own job security depends on your company doing well, then you can be encouraged that the changes are to benefit the owners and workforce as well.
If you can keep a clear picture in your mind of how this change will eventually improve or enhance your job, it will help you get through the little hurdles and awkwardness of learning something new. When you embrace the change and stay positive, your attitude will be contagious and your coworkers feel more positive as well.
Think back to what your job was like without some of the innovations you rely on every day.
Have you had to repeatedly learn new computer systems in your job? Or maybe your company expanded its line of products. If any of us look back at the start of our careers we might feel like it should be in a museum. If we had the chance, it is doubtful many of us would want to go back to the way things really used to be.
How you deal with the stress of change demonstrates your ability to adapt.
Do you want to advance in the company you work for? Or maybe move on to more responsibility somewhere else. Either way, a proven track record of adapting well to change is something supervisors look for, and could eventually land you a better job.
Another skill companies are always looking for is the ability to train other employees. If you remain enthusiastic about the changes, and can explain them to those around you, your bosses have a better chance to picture you in a leadership role.
Leave the naysayers behind.
There will always be negative people in any organization. If it was not this new change that they don’t like, it would be something else. You already know these people. They are always unhappy about something, and they spread stress wherever they go. Whatever benefits the changes at work bring, they will never see them, so it is better to simply shake off their complaints.
Change may be stressful at first glance, but change is what keeps us growing. Even if we’re pretty smart, we can’t think up all the good ideas ourselves. We need new ideas from other people to keep ourselves alert and motivated, and to spur our own creative thought. In the end, the more we flexible we are about workplace changes, the less day to day stress we will feel.
Celebrate how far you’ve come.
Sometimes we can cause ourselves more stress about upcoming changes because we fail to give ourselves credit for all we have already accomplished. We grew up…that wasn’t easy. We learned to read, drive a car, and do a thousand other things. Why do we always seem to feel that this time the change will overwhelm us?
Take some deep breaths and remind yourself how far you have come. Changes at work are just one in a long series, and you will grow with them as you have everything else. You can do this. You always have.
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