|Posted on February 25, 2016 at 2:05 PM|
Aging and Change -- Learn to Expect and Accept
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” • Wayne Dyer
What is Change? Change is to become different. Change is to make someone or something different. Change is to become something else. It’s one dependable trait is that it happens all the time – change is constant. We all have to deal with change on a daily basis. Nothing ever remains the same forever. Sometimes change can be hard, yet we still have to endure and keep moving forward.
How do we deal with change? We must learn to expect it and accept it. We must all face the fact that change will always come. This can bring us hope when things are going poorly in our lives, as well as help us to stay grounded when things are going well. Whatever situation we are in today; tomorrow will always bring change. Expect and accept the process of change.
We experience changes in our health. Our memory begins to change; we forget things more often. We become, “absentminded.” Our bones and our joints begin to wear and tear, we feel pains we never before experienced. Our eyesight and hearing beings to weaken. We begin to experience problems with digestion and metabolism. We being to experience dental issues – loss of teeth, gum disease, etc. Our skin changes, we develop wrinkles and spots. Our functional ability changes. We fall more often, experience more broken bones, less strength and flexibility. Overall, our entire body and mind changes as we age.
We experience change in work and career. Retirement or job loss can drastically affect our finances, resulting major downsizing or cutbacks in activities previously enjoyed. Retirement and job loss can also affect our physical health. If previous work was physical and now all of a sudden you retire to a lifestyle with no physical activity, your health can change drastically and quickly. Retirement and job loss can also be felt emotionally and mentally. Some experience a loss of identify or usefulness.
How about loving relationships? Those change as we age as well. Loss of a loved one can result in feelings of depression, loneliness, guilt, anger and helplessness. There is truly no way to prepare for the death of a loved one or spouse. Nothing can take the pain totally away, yet it is possible to cope with the grief and mourning. Seek support, know that you do not have to go through it alone.
Changes in the family are unavoidable as we age. Family systems are constantly changing. Our children grow up; they create families of their own. Family members move away, and family time becomes less important. In many families, power struggles can result with each family member convinced he or she knows what’s best.
Despite all this change occurring around us constantly, there is hope. We are adaptable! We can survive change! When we learn to accept that life is full of change and loss, we begin to expect it and we give up trying to control it or prevent it. We can learn to accept that certain losses and changes cannot be replaced or fixed, yet we can honor them for what they represented and meant to us.
Frederick Douglass stated, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” I agree 100%. Yes, change is hard. Sometimes it can seem unbearable. Yet, when we get through the turmoil we are stronger and better for it.
What can we do to survive change?
Step 1 – Stop Thinking! When we dwell on the painful changes in our lives, our mood and spirit follow our thinking. We remain stuck in misery.
Step 2 – Relax! Everyone needs at least one hour a day to relax and do nothing. Take a bath pray, nap, read a book, breathes, listen to music, crochet or knit, whatever helps you to relax do it for at least an hour a day.
Step 3 – Cry! Why do we insist on fighting the tears? Crying is so therapeutic and healing. Stop carrying around the sadness, let it out so you can move forward. Cry!
Step 4 – Connect with someone helpful! Connect with someone who can offer reassurance and compassion, or maybe just a hug. It could be a friend, a family member, a professional counselor, a pastor, etc. Anyone who can offer you reassurance and compassion.
Step 5 – Avoid the absolutes. Stop with the “I will NEVER get survive this,” or I will ALWAYS be this way,” etc. As I mentioned earlier, change is constant. There are no absolutes.
Step 6 – Be kind to yourself. We are our own worst critics. Identify at least five things you like about yourself and remind yourself daily of those traits. Only surround yourself with people are kind to you, avoid toxic people. You can’t change them and they are only bringing you down. Get plenty of rest, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and pray or meditate daily.
If you follow those six steps, you will survive the changes you are experiencing and, I believe, become a better person for it. We cannot avoid change, but we can embrace it and be grateful that we are alive another day to experience it. As always, I’m here if you need me.
Peace, Love and Hope,