The Psychology Of Change

I’ve created some Instagram posts about the psychology of change and thought you may like to see them collected here…

1: Do you really want to change?

Do you really want to change?
Do You Really Want To Change?

Change is hard.

We’re wired NOT to change. We’re wired to adapt and accept our situation unless we’re in mortal danger. Our brain wants us to be kept alive, safe from sharks or wolves, but it cares much less about whether or not we feel happy or comfortable.

Just consider how bad negative events feel and how long they last compared to positive events. Would a brain that wanted us to be happy act like that? No. Your brain has an in-built negativity bias to keep you safe. A side-effect is that you’re more prone to feel unhappy than happy. For your brain, safety comes first, everything else is a distant second, and that means NOT changing unless we’re in grave danger.

To change we must become uncomfortable. Embrace the knowledge of that discomfort and know that feeling it means that you’re changing. The psychology of change is hard to wrestle with, but you can do it!

2: We All Change

We All Change
We All Change

Our lives are a sequence of moments. How we handle those moments determines who we are. Each moment is important. Each moment is a choice. Only through awareness can we recognise those moments and our possible choices in real time.

Each choice we make triggers a cascade in our brains. Different neurons fire and trigger others to fire or not fire. You become a different person, second by second, choice by choice.

Your power is to choose to change for the better in each moment you have.

Each change may seem insignificant (put down the phone, choose the healthy option, return the friendly smile), but they add up. Soon you’ll be happier and healthier and wondering how that happened! ❤️❤️❤️

3: Accept Uncertainty, For Nothing Else Is Certain

Accept Uncertainty, For Nothing Else Is Certain
Accept Uncertainty

“Accept uncertainty, for nothing else is certain.”

As humans we spend a lot of time thinking about the future. Indeed, anxiety is focused on what may go wrong in the future. The truth is, the future is uncertain. If only we could accept that element of uncertainty, which we can’t control, we may be able to reduce our anxiety.

Two of my favourite expressions are, “the future only comes at us one day at a time”, and “today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday”.

Both quotes allude to the same thing, which is that we can cope with each individual day, no matter what it contains. So why worry about what may or may not happen? Invariably anxiety will have us focus on the negative extreme, and that’s highly unlikely to happen. Think about how many days you’ve seen so far. How many were at the extreme end of negativity? Hopefully not many. And even those that were, you managed to cope with.

Try to “dial back” on anxiety by accepting a degree of uncertainty into your life.

4: I Am Changing

I Am Changing
I Am Changing

I Will Change” is a hostage to fortune. It’s a forward-looking statement. While it sounds positive, and it is, to a certain extent, it’s rooted in the future. And the future is not NOW.

I Am Changing” is also a positive statement, but one rooted in the present. This moment. This instant in time.

You’ll be a different person in one moment’s time than you are now. Harness the power of change afforded to you right now. Try to extract any positivity you can from your present situation, even if that’s just hanging in there and saying to yourself, “I’m doing my best right now”. Let it sink in.

Congratulations! You’ve triggered signalling cascades in neurons within your brain which will change expression of genes. As a result, different neuronal connections will form and strengthen your positive pathways. Your brain is neuroplastic and you can change it right now, in this moment, and in every moment going forward.