Fear of Change: What You Can Do About It

change fear personal growth Dec 20, 2021

Change is inevitable, and you should embrace it because of its possibilities. But, of course, we all have fears--some are irrational while others are genuine. But so what? It's time to stop letting fear dictate your life and start embracing change.

Why do we fear change?

Change is the only thing that's constant in our lives. Yet, as human beings, we all experience some degree of fear of change in our lives. Many people fear the unknown, which change can bring about to your life. So most of us will prefer to stay in our comfort zone and do what is familiar. There's even a phobia associated with the fear of change called metathesiophobia. People who have metathesiophobia feel that they don't have any control over their lives, so they refuse to make a move to incite progress or change in their lives. This kind of fear can affect one's personal and professional life. People who are extremely afraid of change might feel anxious or depressed, and they can stress out themselves when they have to think about making a change in their lives.

We seem wired to take comfort and peace in knowing the familiar. But, on the other hand, we fear the unknown, so some of us turn tail when trying new habits or a new job because we don't know what could happen next. The same thing happens when some of us deliberately hold off moving forward because of the uncertainty that the future brings. Most people will prefer this way of thinking. Hence, we feel stuck in unsavory conditions like working in the same job you don't like or staying in a toxic relationship because they worry about what will happen once they try doing something new. The fear of the unknown is intense.

We can't blame why some people have an irrational fear of change. They could have grown up in a setting where they experienced abuse or trauma. Maybe a family member had taught the wrong ideas in their heads when they were still young. One's psyche might also be affected by their social environment. Being surrounded by pessimistic people can make you jaded and not have a positive outlook on life.

Fearing change is something that can cripple your life. But, it doesn't have to be that way. Change can also be about positive change. It will be good to embrace change and think of it to bring a new environment for progress and fulfillment in your life. Without change, you will become stagnant in life, and you can't unlock your full potential. There are several ways you can do to overcome the fear of change.

1. Accept change is a part of life

Life changes all the time. Change happens to all of us. However, some of the changes that can happen to us will only occur if we allow them to happen or we make a move to change. Otherwise, you will stay in a static condition where hardly anything new happens with your life. Overcoming fear of change means accepting it and adjusting what we can do once it happens.

2. Learn to relinquish control

Being a control freak can lead you to resist change. You'll want to control every aspect of your life, including other people's actions or decisions, to make everything fall into place according to your expectations. Then you'll only get frustrated continuously because things won't always happen in your way. You're only giving yourself an impossible task if you want to control everything because you don't like change. Many things can influence the things that happen in your life, and most of them are beyond your control. Instead, focus on what you can control, such as your feelings and reactions whenever something happens. You can also focus on the actions that you can do based on the resources, skills, and knowledge you have at your disposal. Then, learn to deal and adjust to everything else that's beyond your control.

3. Stay in the present moment

Fearing change essentially means fearing the future. You feel anxiety and fear for something that has not yet happened. It's even possible that what you are fearing may not happen at all. So the next you get scared of change, you have to realize that you are probably overthinking things. Why not prioritize your current situation instead and think about what you can do in the present moment? Start taking actions first before fantasizing what-if scenarios in your head.

4. Have a purpose in life

It's easy to feel lost and afraid if you don't know what to do in life and why you have to do things. Negative thoughts can creep into your mind, and you will avoid change like the plague that will destroy your life. Having a vision and goal in life helps put assurance in your life. Even if you lose track sometimes, your vision or goal will be the guiding light to get you back doing what you must do. When changes happen, you will ask yourself first if they align with your goals. If they aren't, you can reject them, so there's less time to feel afraid of change.

5. Break down big tasks into smaller ones

When faced with a massive task in front of you, it's easy to get overwhelmed and feel some intense fear of what's coming ahead. So the next time you have to work on something big, try to break it down into smaller tasks. They're easier to accomplish, and you can get yourself going better by continuously finishing tasks that build momentum. Focus on what you can currently do instead of thinking about the future and any upcoming change in your life.

6. Surround yourself with supportive people

One of the best ways to overcome fear is hanging around forward-thinking and optimistic people. If you have any people in your life that have these traits, talk with them, and you can even ask for support. Surrounding yourself with naysayers and pessimistic people might bring you down even further and cause you to feel extreme anxiety and self-doubt. If your fear of change is hampering your life, you can get professional help from a therapist or a life coach. The environment you operate in can influence your way of thinking, including how you view change in your life.

7. Make a plan, then hope for the best

Nobody what the future has in store for us. You can't achieve goals if you approach change in a negative light. Many changes will happen as you work towards your goals. A good contingency plan for the future is to make it a routine to create plans. Please write down your goals, the method of action you will take, the resources needed, their deadlines, etc. Then don't just stop making one plan. Try to create several plans in case your main one fails. By having multiple strategies on how you will tackle things in your life, you won't feel afraid of change because you have countermeasures in place. Do what you must, then hope for the best.

You don't have to be afraid of change.

Throughout your life, many changes will happen, whether brought on by yourself or external factors. Changes can be positive or negative, and it's essential to learn how to be flexible to everything that the world will throw at us. It takes courage to venture into the unknown and do something new. It's normal to feel apprehension whenever something unfamiliar happens, but you'll become stale if you don't move forward. The earlier you accept change is a part of life, the easier it will be for you to adjust to life's demands.

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