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    Fear of Change; Fear of the Unknown

    As we embark upon this new journey together, I can’t help but think about the process of change. Despite change being an ever-present force in our daily lives it is also something that many of us resist. I ask myself, “Where is this resistance seated? Fear, uncertainty, lack confidence?” All of these seem like viable possibilities. The truth is change, even sought-after change, is difficult and complicated. Change comes in many forms. Sometimes change is sudden and unexpected. Other times, change is a well laid plan full of excitement. A common theme I find in many forms of change is the fear of the unknown.

    According to studies performed in the field of neuroscience, fear of change is similarly wired in our brains as the fear of failure [1]. When presented with the unknown circumstance of change we must correct the presence of uncertainty before was can find relief. It is this drive that leads many people to avoid change to ultimately avoid discomfort. Many of us would rather remain in unhealthy, unhappy, but predictable situations than face the uncertainty and discomfort of change [2].

    Understanding that change is a common occurrence in many of our lives, we have learned to adaptively cope with the unknown. The good news is, we can employ many of the strategies we already have in our toolbox. Counseling, journaling, exercise, meditation, leaning on our supports, and healthy preparation can all assist us in coping with the stress of change. Dr. Alex Lickerman, author of the blog “Happiness in This World”, offered this take on some of the positive things that change creates [3]:

    •     Change summons courage.
    •     Change creates possibility.
    •     Change prevents boredom.
    •     Change forces us to grow.

    He believes that while change invokes fear, it keeps us growing and striving to be better versions of ourselves.

    My final thoughts are this: Change while uncomfortable (and at times messy) is the vehicle for personal growth and new experience. So, take courage, hold your head high, take that deep breath, and walk into your next challenge with your head and heart open. If you find yourself filled with doubt or need a little nudge along the way, we are here for you.