Counselling and Psychotherapy for
Body, Mind and Spirit

Ina Stockhausen, MTC

Ina Stockhausen R.P.C. offers spiritual counselling and body psychotherapy or somatic counseling in Burnaby and North Vancouver.

Change can sneak up on you. When I work with clients who are seeing me for life transition counselling, most of the time we identify the presence of precursors indicating that things had been changing already for quite a while.

Change can be a wonderful thing; a catalyst for positive shifts in your life. But whether planned, expected or not, most of us resist change because with it comes the “unknown.”
Oprah once said “When we feel the ground beneath us shifting, we panic. We forget everything we know and allow fear to freeze us. Just the thought of what could happen is enough to throw us off balance.”

Again, most of the time the ground doesn’t shift all at once.
What stops you from noticing and addressing “mini-shifts”?

In my experience there are three major “thought processes” that hinder you from embracing change: 

Denial: You don’t trust your inner voice. Example: You get a sense that your partner isn’t as affectionate as he/she used to be, your sex life seems to have lost its spark. Your gut is telling you something is off. But that thought feels scary. So instead you put it down to stress, and find different excuses that allow you to ignore what your inner voice is telling you.

Worrying about the feelings of others: You don’t want to upset or hurt someone else’s feelings. Example: Lately you haven’t enjoyed meeting with your friend because all she seems to talk about these days are her problems with her kids. You feel like you never get equal “air time” but you are hesitating to say anything because you don’t want to hurt her feelings. Plus you feel like you’re not a good friend if you do.

Being caught between the past and the future: All the “should’ve, could’ve, would’ves” compete with the “what ifs” in your thoughts. Example: Returning to the scenario of your sex life as a couple having lost its spark you reprimand yourself that you should have bought sexy lingerie more often and if you would have lost weight like you planned your partner would be more interested. At the same time you worry about “what if he/she likes someone else….what if this is the beginning of the end?”

 How can you be more attuned to change in your life and how can you deal with it productively?

  • Trust you inner voice
  • Connect with your boundaries… you are not responsible for the feelings of others
  • Stay in the present… present moment only moment.

The “emptying out” exercise can be a useful tool.

I recommend you do this in your journal, because being able to go back and read your thoughts helps you identify patterns and can support the process of trusting your inner voice.

At the end of the day, jot down any niggles, any processes that are still sitting with you or came up for you during the day. Identify what needs of yours where met and which ones weren’t. Notice what contributed to your needs not being met and how you can change that.

Remember that you have no control over the past or the future. Acknowledge your feelings of sadness or loss as well as your fear of the “what ifs”. Giving yourself permission to grieve or be afraid and then moving on is important and different than suppressing these feelings or getting bogged down in this place.

Breathe, connect to your boundary and to the present moment.

 If you allow yourself to stay present and grounded, then change will not sneak up on you and it can be a catalyst for something positive…such as a closer and more authentic connection with your partner or friends.

2 Responses to How you can reap the benefits of change

  • Al says:

    Change can seem pretty scary, but usually ends up being a painless, positive, learning experience.

    • Ina says:

      You’re right Al, it can seem scary and most often it is a positive learning experience. The painless part of course depends on the type of change on is dealing with. I have found that for many, big change does come hand in hand with grief and loss… and one has to work thru that before reaping the benefits of the learning experience…thanks for sharing 🙂