Fear of Change: What to Do When You're Afraid
Everyone experiences and reacts to change in unique ways. Most people create comfort zones, which diminish their ability to try new things. You are not alone if you tend to feel apprehension when confronted with change. According to research, the human brain views change the same way it does failure. This is why most people tend to avoid uncertain scenarios.
While it is normal to find change scary, some reactions to such uncertainties tend to be relatively severe. The extreme fear of change is referred to as metathesiophobia, and can be a debilitating experience. This article looks at the meaning of fear of change, the symptoms of the condition, and the strategies for coping with it.
What Is Metathesiophobia?
Metathesiophobia, or the great anxiety or apprehension when faced with minor and meaningful challenges, can have debilitating effects. While it is okay to have some degree of fear when making considerable life adjustments, most people find it hard to manage anxiety when faced with uncertain scenarios. In some situations, even positive change can make people feel uneasy.
To the extreme, this irrational fear of change is referred to as metathesiophobia. Some signs that you could be struggling with an irrational fear of change include constant self-doubt, lack of self-esteem, frequent episodes of social anxiety, panic attacks, and inability to adjust to new scenarios.
There are different reasons people feel apprehension when facing change. For instance, individuals with past traumatic experiences or those who have survived toxic relationships may see things that interrupt their routines as threatening. Also, dealing with psychologically challenging situations like divorce, going to college, or the death of a loved one can trigger feelings of immense anxiety and grief.
Another frequent sign that someone fears change is when they have a strong penchant for perfection. When you always want things to be done a certain way, doing new things can often lead to mistakes during the first attempts. If you are a perfectionist, the fear of making mistakes can hinder you from approaching situations that can trigger change.
How to Overcome the Fear of Change
The fear of change can lead to shifts in our behaviour and thought processes, negatively impacting our lives and making it hard to explore and socialize. For instance, someone afraid of change is less likely to make changes that can improve their well-being. Such individuals are less open to trying new things or stepping out of their comfort zones. Understand that many people are terrified by the idea of change. How you deal with the fear is what matters and can influence your success.
Change can be frightening, especially if you feel alone and abandoned. Everyone must develop and utilize social support systems. According to research, having people you can rely on during challenging and uncertain makes all the difference.
According to experts, people with solid support systems show better coping skills, mental health, and quality of life. Those with better support systems also demonstrate a lower risk of chronic stress, anxiety, and depression. In other words, we all need people we can rely on during challenging times.
But what does it mean to have a sound support system? Here, a social support system implies a network of people who care about you and can offer emotional and practicable support. Such systems can give you the strength to face uncertainties and boost your overall mental health. Your support system comprises individuals you can turn to when the need arises.
The process of building a social support system is deliberate and patient. Some people prefer to do things alone, but evidence shows that isolation can harm your mental health and well-being. However, not everyone you meet will be good for your support system. It would help if you had the support of people who make you feel and do better. You want people who can support you and cheer you through life's significant changes
One way of getting people to be in your support system is by joining a sports team or starting a new hobby. Team activities will also boost your mood and improve your willingness to engage with others. Consider reviewing your present social circles and familial connections. Identify people you already interact with who provide honest and positive advice. Don't be afraid to ask for and give help.
When combating the fear of change, understand that everyone deserves to be cared for. Isolation can make things worse. Having the right people to turn to allows you to connect to the world around you and focus on other people and social interactions. This makes the change processes less frightening. Social support systems also provide healthy distractions, taking attention away from threatening situations.
Often, the fear of change emanates from a fear of the unknown. When people face new or unfamiliar scenarios, it is customary to assume the worst thing that can happen. Understand that having negative thoughts is quite common. However, constantly thinking of worst-case scenarios can influence your self-esteem and behaviour.
In this respect, negative thoughts are those perceptions about oneself and their surroundings. Some of these thoughts may be irrational, affecting your mood, and leading to anxiety and chronic stress. Human beings are prone to dwelling on adverse events and ignoring positive ones. However, evidence shows that this form of negativity bias is terrible for your mental health.
The first step in getting rid of negative thoughts is identifying them and gaining greater awareness of their existence. When you recognize these negative patterns, you will see their effect on your emotional health and behaviour. This way, you can reduce the power they hold over you.
For instance, if you are always thinking of the worst-case scenario and minimizing your capacity to handle situations, it may be time to start re-examining your approach. Some overgeneralize, making general inferences based on past experiences. Be kinder to yourself and practice more positivity. Avoiding assuming that you know what others are thinking without checking for facts.
Challenge your thought processes and examine them objectively before you accept them. Before you assume anything, consider whether they are facts or just opinions. Explore evidence supporting and refuting thoughts and consider reframing negative ones. Consider talking to a therapist if negative thoughts interfere with your daily living, including relationships, studies, and work.
Being present in the moment and focusing and what is happening rather than what could happen can help you stay grounded and navigate through change. Most people fear change because they focus on what could go wrong. This can distract them from enjoying and working on the present to cope with change easily, and focus on what is happening around them.
Consider engaging in breathing exercises and meditation. Yoga and starting a journal are other strategies that can help you become more focused in the present. They also help improve mental health and allow you to process the emotional aspects of change. When you pay attention to what is happening, you tend to worry less about hypotheticals.
Sometimes, the fear of change can be so severe that it limits your ability to handle daily routines. If you need help overcoming your fear of uncertainty, consider to find a professional therapist. Therapy helps people deal with difficult emotions and fears. It can also help you find healthy strategies for redirecting your thoughts. Most importantly, learn to embrace change.