3 mindfulness factors that greatly improve difficult change
Did you know that you can apply mindfulness and meditation to create a much better experience through change? Using specific practices can make a huge difference to ease the pain of change.
Mindfulness and meditation certainly may help you cultivate calm and stress management in your life, but when you go through tough changes, using specific practices can help you get through the change, regardless of what external circumstances occur.
You've probably heard this many times before:
The one thing that you have control over during change is how you respond to the change.
This is true, but sometimes being reminded of this just isn't enough -- we hear this phrase, nod our head, then five minutes later we revert back to our auto-pilot thought behaviors which cause the stress of change to continue. Not only is this tiring but we can feel rather powerless or stuck.
Regardless of whether or not we have some influence on the change itself, the key is to create a better experience of the change within ourselves. When we deal with change more consciously, intentionally and resiliently, not only does this help our own mental health but it may also help the external circumstances we are dealing with too (such as when you are calmer and more mindful of yourself and others, people may be more open to listening to your point of view).
Being mindful through change takes skill, which can be easily learned with some guidance.
Through The Calm Monkey's pioneering research that combines change management with mindfulness, here are the three key mindful factors that can greatly improve your experience through difficult change:
1. Using a change-specific meditation.
There are many different kinds of meditation, such as mindfulness meditation, mantras, visualizations, moving meditation, inquiry, compassion, etc. Each person's goals for meditation and their outcomes from doing these meditations will vary widely.
There is no universal 'standard of categorization' for the many types of meditation, and what may be even more confusing is that people often are not aware that different kinds of meditation can produce different results (for example, a 'open monitoring' meditation may help depression but may make anxiety worse).
So, what kind of meditation helps through difficult change?
Before I started The Calm Monkey to train and certify mindfulness facilitators and help organizations start mindfulness programs, I was a certified organizational change manager (a profession that helps people and organizations through change). Years ago, I got very curious about combining my knowledge of change management, mindfulness and meditation.
After running a study based on a specialized 'Dealing with Change meditation' I created, I was surprised to see that the number of participants whose ability to deal with their changes shot up by almost 680%. See it here . . .
Seeing such astonishing results led me to analyze the data, and go a step further to create the Dealing with Change Toolkit which, through guided meditation and practices, steps people through the Individual Journey of Change to create keen self-awareness of how they are moving through their change and then create a better experience for themselves.
So to answer the question 'What type of meditation best helps someone through change?' - the answer would be meditations that speak to the different stages of the change life cycle, helps the listener become self-aware of their emotions, reactions and behaviors, and then guides them through how to set intentions on how they would rather experience the change.
The Dealing with Change Toolkit is available
at a very low cost as your private companion through change.
This includes the specialized meditation used in the study in addition to some lessons and a set of meditations that guide you through creating a much better experience of your difficult changes.
2. Willingness to be self-aware.
When we struggle with a change, regardless of whether the change has been imposed upon us (such as a restructuring at work, or a parent needs your care-giving), or is self-posed (such as starting a new diet or exercise routine), it can cause a lot of disruption in our lives.
We may not want people to know we are struggling for a number of reasons, as we may think it shows weakness on our part. We may not even be too aware or objective about how we are showing up during a change; maybe all we feel is the stress and heaviness of the change.
If we avoid 'doing the work' on ourselves, we don't have much of a chance to have more control over our experiences.
To greatly improve our journey through difficult change, we need to first be willing to become more self-aware of our emotions, reactions and behaviors pertaining to the change.
Without this, we are operating on auto-pilot, and acting and reacting without much mindful thought. We might be unintentionally hurting others in the process, or making the outcome even worse, or regretting how we handled something along the way.
3. Willingness to be intentional.
Once we've 'done the work' in becoming more self-aware, the next step is to become more intentional, mindful and conscious about how we would rather experience the change.
Being intentional doesn't mean making a wish or having hope.
In the case of change, being intentional means developing a very clear picture, a vision, of how you would like to experience the change and taking appropriate actions. As you contemplate and see yourself moving through the change . . .
What experience would you rather have through your change?
Are there behaviors you would like to be more mindful of, perhaps reduce or stop (such as bursts of anger), or do more of (such as be calmer, listen more, speak less)?
Do you want to be clearer on how to more forward and feel less resistance?
Without intention-setting and the conscious commitment to be different through the change, chances are you're going to be waiting to see what happens to you. It's easy to feel like a victim. The study showed that participants felt more in control of their change by doing the specialized 'Dealing with Change' meditation.
If you apply mindfulness and meditation practices to the stages of the change journey, you can get through tough changes in a much healthier, conscious and intentional way.
I hope this has been helpful!
Explore the Dealing with Change Toolkit designed specifically to guide you through the stages of the Individual Change Journey.
This is supported by an evidence-based study that showed it positively helped all participants better deal with their changes.
This is your helpful, private meditation companion.
Questions are welcome at Wendy@TheCalmMonkey.com.
~Wendy Quan, Founder, The Calm Monkey
The 'Individual Change Journey' model - is this how you go through change?