In this episode of The Feel Good Effect Podcast, we’re talking about how to adapt, pivot, reclaim, and reframe. We’re breaking down what to do when life unexpectedly changes to navigate the road ahead with ease, calm, and resilience.
How to Adapt When Life Suddenly Changes
Life is constantly changing.
It’s filled with moments in which you might be doing one thing and then suddenly you’re doing something totally different, often outside of our control.
It’s how we respond that makes a difference in a life that is well-led.
Back when I had my daughter Elle, I didn’t have the understanding to respond effectively.
I felt defeated and I turned to a lot of unhealthy coping strategies, like not moving my body and not eating well.
That experience led to the work I’ve been doing since around habits and mindset, figuring out how we can get better at responding when our lives get difficult.
It’s been a beautiful journey to see how when the pandemic was beginning and things started shifting I initially had those same feelings.
But this time I was able to handle them so much better, avoiding the downward spiral of not taking care of myself.
That’s not to say that I didn’t experience stress, anxiety, or overwhelm, but I have a way through it and a way of handling it.
Adapting to change
Maybe you’re feeling like things are a little bit nuts with the pandemic, or you’re a new parent, just lost a job, are starting school, or just moved; there are so many places in life where we experience these big changes.
You cannot control what happens but you can learn how to respond in a way that is resilient.
You can learn resilience.
You can learn self-compassion.
You can learn gratitude.
You can learn flexible thinking.
But, we are often not taught these things, so it’s not surprising that when big changes happen we might feel like we don’t have a way through it; no one taught you.
But you can learn it and navigate the waters in a much more calm and grounded way.
Notice the words you are using
In preparing for this show, I asked the Real Food Whole Life Instagram community (@realfoodwholelife) which resonated with them more when it comes to a big life change: pivot or adapt.
At this moment, the words that we use matter.
I learned that about half of the people in that community love the word pivot, and half don’t.
I went with adapt for the show, but the important takeaway is to think about what word you want to use.
It might not seem important, but the words you use shape your thoughts.
Some of the feedback I got from the word pivot was that it was either too corporate or it reminded people of the Friends episode when Ross is trying to get a couch up the stairs.
On the flip side, some people felt that adapting meant accepting the change.
When you’re going through a life change and you want to reclaim your power, pick a word: adapt, pivot, adjust, reframe, etc.
Even though change is happening, it’s not happening to you; you are an active member with autonomy, skills, and tools to respond.
Pay attention to how you’re feeling
When we experience big life changes, we tend to swing between extremes, on one side feeling defeated and on the other pretending that everything is fine, the positive thinking myth that we have to be positive all the time.
Pay attention to how you feel: Are you feeling lonely? Disappointed? Resentful? Loss? Grief?
We tend to do something called bypassing, which describes trying to not feel an uncomfortable or unpleasant emotion.
The extreme coping strategies are to either pretend that it’s all okay or to give up.
Feel what you feel without judgment.
We know from neuroscience and mindfulness perspectives that what you push down only comes back amplified.
There’s a guilt that many of us have around feeling our feelings, reverting to the thought that someone else probably has it worse.
But here’s the thing: your ability to experience feelings does not alleviate anyone else’s suffering.
You having feelings is not going to help anyone else’s suffering.
It is so important to feel how you feel and move forward.
Do something to help the people experiencing more difficulty than you, but by not feeling your own emotions, it is going to rebound in your face.
Sometimes to feel good you have to acknowledge that you don’t feel good
This is the great pause of our lifetime.
A lot of life just got put on pause without our control.
But what if that pause is a chance to pay attention to what is happening in our lives, communities, and culture; within that pause, we can be intentional about how we unpause.
In the pause, think about the should and good.
You know you’re falling into the should trap when you’re asking everyone else what you should do, looking outside of yourself for answers.
Do the research, collect the information, but then pause and remind yourself: your path forward needs to be based on what’s good for you, not what you might feel you should do.
So many times, the answer is within you already.
It’s really about getting quiet, paying attention, not pushing it aside, and honoring it.
Build a strategy
Being gentle does not mean not getting things done.
Once you’ve paused, felt, and found a path forward you need to put a little structure in place within the context of how you’re living.
Self-compassion and gentle do not mean giving up or letting everyone else run your day for you.