Part 2: How to Stay Balanced During Major Life Changes Part 2 by: Renee Fabian
Make A Plan
We may not all be planners, but as we work through a major life shift, it’s a good idea to become more organized. To do this, change what Pillay calls “goal intentions” to “implementation intentions.”
“Rather than saying, ‘I’ll take it as it comes. We’ll see how we’ll handle this,’ which often increases the amount of uncertainty upfront, [make] the intentions more specific by adding an actual time to it,” Pillay suggests. “By making the intentions more specific…you can decrease the uncertainty and therefore make it easier to embrace the change.”
If you’re inviting a romantic partner into your living space permanently, for example, plan exactly how the transition will happen. Will they spend three nights a week at your place for a trial period before making the move? How will personal space be defined? Whose couch will go in the living area? Suddenly, what seems like an amorphous life event now becomes a manageable set of actions.
Build In Brain Breaks
Many times change takes considerable focus — planning a wedding, negotiating a new job, or starting a business, for example. It may seem prudent to push ourselves into overdrive during these times, but our brain really needs breaks throughout the day to run most efficiently.
Pillay recommends several strategies in his book, Tinker Dabble Doodle Try: Unlock the Power of the Unfocused Mind, which include 15-minute bursts for short naps, structured daydreaming, and doodling. In fact, one study showed that those who doodled while listening to a boring phone call retained 29 percent more information than those who didn’t. These short creative bursts for your brain, which Dr. Pillay calls “intelligent unfocus,” can jumpstart your ability to navigate major change.
“When you’re focused, you are essentially collecting the different pieces of the puzzle with your mind, but unfocused time is the time you give to your mind to get these puzzle pieces together,” Pillay tells us. “If you’re going through a change with just continuous focus throughout the day, you are not giving your brain a chance to put these puzzle pieces together.”
Stay Tuned for Part 3 Next Week…