Sometimes change is a result of a gradual shift that been building, deep inside us over time. This type of change is not surprising, we are emotionally and often practically prepared. Other times change is spontaneous and inspired. In both cases, change often brings feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. Change means facing the unknown. I am writing about this now because I know that when spring comes, many of us feel an urge to make a change.
You can feel this for example as you walk through the park on a beautiful spring day as you feel the lightness in our feet and breathe the clear air. New possibilities may begin to arise in your mind, the truth is these possibilities did not just come from out of nowhere. These seemingly new ideas could be the result of ideas that were hibernating. Taking shape gradually, perhaps amorphously during the cold winter months. Spring is a time of transformation and rebirth and it is important we feel supported and brave if we decide to create better lives for ourselves.
Understanding the path of change
According to the transtheoretical model, there are six stages of change. The model is based on health changes and behavior changes but can be applied with some modifications to larger life changes such as career and relationships.
Precontemplation — this is before any foreseeable action occurs, people are unaware they need to make a change
Contemplation — this is a stage in which thoughtful and practical consideration of the pros and cons of the change occurs
Preparation — this is a stage where we feel determined to make the change and believe the change will lead to a better life
Action — this is when actual change begins
Maintenance — this is where we maintain the changed behavior for a while (six months) and intend to continue with the change moving forward
Termination — at this stage, people have no desire to return to their prior behavior or situation.
The transtheoretical model speaks about self-initiated and planned change. But this is not always how change occurs. Change can be sudden. Life presents us with unforeseen events that sometimes provide us with just that exact impetus that we were waiting for in order to make a change. During these times life can seem chaotic as we’ve been plunged into an unforeseen and unfamiliar situation. It is important to understand, however, that we are made for change and we are all much more resilient and stronger than we think.
Springing forward into change
When you become comfortable with uncertainty, infinite possibilities open up in your life — Eckhart Tolle
Change, even positive change always bring feelings of uncertainty. Many of us would rather stay in an uncomfortable situation than face the unknown. But support is available to help you through it, and there are many tools available for us to help ease the transition.
In therapy, we uncover resistance to change as well as what might be holding you back. Each of us has different levels of tolerance to uncertainty, but if your resistance to change is keeping you in a situation that no longer serves you, you may benefit from working through these issues in therapy.
In therapy, we develop individualized coping skills that will work for you. We also explore underlying issues that may be preventing you from thriving. And while change should be viewed with practical considerations and a healthy amount of caution, any change you decide to make should also bring within you a sense of anticipation and excitement.
Therapy in Schaumburg Illinois
Jaime Williamson provides therapy in Schaumburg, IL specializing in Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Jaime works with individuals struggling with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and relationship issues. If you would like to learn more, you are welcome to call and book an appointment or fill out my contact form and click Send.