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  • Pat­rina M. Clark, SPHR, HCS, RACC
    Speaker | Trainer | Con­sul­tant | Coach
21 Sep

Main­tain a Prior Will­ing­ness to Embrace Change in Life

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“Change in all things is sweet.” – Aris­to­tle

An unde­ni­able truth about the phys­i­cal uni­verse is that change is con­stant. From the tini­est known par­ti­cles on Earth to an esti­mated 500 bil­lion galax­ies in our uni­verse, every­thing is in motion. All that is will change, momentarily.

The same prin­ci­ple does not auto­mat­i­cally apply when it comes to the way we do things in life and how we feel. You can resist chang­ing your ways quite suc­cess­fully – even at the risk of your own hap­pi­ness and health – or you can change. It’s your choice.

At Your Service!

When you spend time at the beach or swim­ming pool on a hot day with­out hav­ing taken pre­cau­tions and end up with a sun­burn, chances are it will occur to you to be bet­ter pre­pared next time. Fol­low­ing through on the thought sets in motion a response pat­tern in your brain – in this case, a pos­i­tive one.

The human brain is very effi­cient at remem­ber­ing every­thing you learn and how you respond to events in your life. It is also very accom­mo­dat­ing when it comes to offer­ing up sug­ges­tions for the many deci­sions you make every day. When you con­sis­tently respond a cer­tain way to sim­i­lar events, your help­ful brain remem­bers, and each time a sim­i­lar event comes up, it auto­mat­i­cally sug­gests approach­ing it the same way you always have – accord­ing to stored pat­terns. That’s great when the sug­ges­tion is help­ful, as in the case of tak­ing pre­cau­tions on a hot day. It’s not so great when the sug­ges­tion is a neg­a­tive or harm­ful one, for instance, a stored pat­tern of unwill­ing­ness to forego even a few min­utes to take precautions.

When a stress­ful sit­u­a­tion occurs, the brain scans its mem­ory banks look­ing for pre­vi­ous stress­ful expe­ri­ences until it per­ceives a match,” explain the authors of the Heart­Math book, Trans­form­ing Depres­sion. “Then it trig­gers the same emo­tional reac­tions you had the pre­vi­ous time – like anx­i­ety, hurt, res­ig­na­tion, or depression.”

Remem­ber, how­ever, your brain is at your ser­vice. You can change a pat­tern any­time you want. Replac­ing neg­a­tive response pat­terns stored in your brain with pos­i­tive ones from your heart begins with a will­ing­ness to embrace change.

Have a Prior Willingness to Embrace Change

Have a Prior Will­ing­ness to Embrace Change

The human heart is remark­ably intel­li­gent in its own right, pos­sess­ing what researchers call a heart brain. When the brain in your head sug­gests anger or other neg­a­tive responses to cer­tain events, your heart can intervene.

Research at the Insti­tute of Heart­Math has shown that the heart is intri­cately involved in the emo­tional responses you choose. Think of an instance in which you “blew your top”: Do you recall, in the instant before that, hav­ing a flash­ing thought that you could respond dif­fer­ently? That’s nor­mal. No doubt there have been many occa­sions when you have elected to pause before respond­ing angrily, judg­men­tally, fear­fully, etc., to events in your life.

Peo­ple describe it as, “I had a feel­ing in my heart” or “my heart told me to” or “my con­science said … .”

In that moment, you can choose with your head or your heart. If you already have a prior will­ing­ness to embrace change, you will be bet­ter able to choose wisely.

Hav­ing a com­mit­ment to embrace change sim­ply means being open to the pos­si­bil­ity of mak­ing a change. It also serves as a prompter for you to engage your heart qual­i­ties – love, com­pas­sion, appre­ci­a­tion and car­ing among oth­ers – to be the first to take action to what­ever comes up in your life.

Ben­e­fits of Embrac­ing Change

Benefits of Embracing Change

  • Flex­i­bil­ity– You are always pre­pared to respond to events in any of a num­ber of pru­dent ways, notthe way you’ve always done it.
  • Oppor­tu­nity– View­ing things from new per­spec­tives is like open­ing a door for the first time. You get to see the expand­ing possibilities.
  • Con­serve energy, expe­ri­ence less stress – Resist­ing change con­sumes energy, some­times a lot, and the pres­sure to change – from life or self-​imposed – can be very stressful.

  • Moral com­pass – Know­ing in advance you are pre­pared to engage your heart in every­thing you do will help you nav­i­gate through uncer­tainty, com­plex­ity, sad­ness and chal­leng­ing times.

Change: What to Do

– In the Moment: When you have com­mit­ted to embrac­ing change, you’ve given your heart a lead role in your decision-​making. So, if you must make a split-​second deci­sion about some­thing, your heart already is engaged and primed to sug­gest a wise response, per­haps more than one. If you know it’s time to move from your com­fort zone – embrace the change.

For­tu­nately, you don’t always have to make the “big” deci­sions on the spot. To facil­i­tate change and follow-​through, you can prac­tice the fol­low­ing sim­ple coherence-​building exer­cise to increase your com­mitt­ment and resilience.

Reposted from the Insti­tute of Heart MathIHM is a 501©(3) non­profit, edu­ca­tional and research cor­po­ra­tion. Donate Now or send your dona­tion by mail: Insti­tute of Heart­Math, 14700 West Park Ave., Boul­der Creek, Calif. 95006.

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