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How to deal with change, crisis and upheaval.

Most of us like a degree of stability in our lives. Even if we like a bit of variety, we will also like a bit of routine and familiarity.

It is also the case that we cannot avoid change and in the 21st Century we are experiencing more change more quickly than ever before.

Some of us can find that disturbing. It affects us adversely and we can experience negative reactions to this. It can seem that others are gliding through life and change doesn’t disturb them. Where it is true that some like change, welcome it and even thrive on it, it is equally true that most are just as concerned about changes as you are but are able to manage it differently.

There can be many explanations. Some forms of change suit people. It was what they were hoping for. That kind of change won’t disturb them. Think of iPads – in less than 2 years it became one of the most popular ways of using technology – and no-one batted an eyelid.

Not all change is like this. Some is unwanted, some is sudden and some is unexpected. Like losing a job or finding your duties have changed or even a pandemic.

Even so, some seem to deal with it effortlessly. It is not that they worry less or are less concerned about change than you are. It is often that they are dealing with it in their heads differently to others.

This is called Mental Toughness. It is not describing how macho you are. It is a proper psychological concept which describes a continuum covering the range of mental responses to a situation that can be made.

At one end you have mental toughness which often means you have a sense of emotional control and can manage your feelings; you are clear about what you need to do and are prepared to work hard to get there. You see the situation as it is, but you can also see the opportunities that are there and you are confident that you have the capabilities to grasp those opportunities.

At the other end, you may be mentally sensitive. Your emotions can overwhelm you – you feel despair and you don’t know what you can do about the situation. You have no problems seeing the problems – there don’t seem to be solutions. You doubt your abilities to manage things – even though you are knowledgeable and experienced.

It is possible for two individuals to have the same skills, qualifications, knowledge experience etc and still respond in two different ways.

A big part of the explanation is your mental toughness/sensitivity. In fact, it has 8 components, each of which can influence our responses. 

The good news is that we can learn from that. The important thing is to be self-aware about our mental toughness /sensitivity so that we can develop strategies and approaches what help us to manage the way we deal with change of all types.

Understanding our levels of mental toughness/sensitivity – how we respond to change in our heads are fundamentally important in helping us to navigate a word where change is now the norm.



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