How to overcome the psychological fear of change

psychological fear of change

As the famous ancient Greek saying goes, the only constant in life is change, or is it the psychological fear of change? Indeed, our life is a permanent dialogue between stability and transformation. The former gives us security, comfort, and continuity. The latter, on the other hand, allows us to grow, broaden our perspective and move forward in life. 

One of the most psychologically distressing issues is the experience of not coping well with the inevitable tension between stability and the change we need. Our intuition tells us that it is time to change direction in one aspect of our life, and yet there are multiple reasons that prevent us from moving in that direction, of which being the psychological fear of change. 

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There are many ways to boycott oneself with thought when it comes to executing a change that is desired (at least partially desired). At a general level we could summarize them, at least, in one of these four situations:

1. I want to find a perfect solution, where everything fits: the conditions, the moment to propose the change, the moment to implement it. I want the maximum level of satisfaction and the minimum level of regret

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2. I am afraid of making a mistake and, therefore, of regretting it. I can’t tolerate the idea of “failing”, that is, of not getting it right. I want to be right in all my actions or not perform any action unless I am absolutely certain that I will be right. 

3. I do not know if an alternative to my current situation will be better than my current situation. I do not know what is better for me. I do not know what I want. 

4. I am too lazy to adapt to a new situation, even though it may be better in the medium or long term. It is easier for me to continue as I am – even if it is not satisfying – than to adapt to a new situation that I don’t know if will be valuable. 

How to tackle the psychological fear of change?

If the psychological fear of change is embedded in your functions and has given rise to a great vital stagnation, it seems that the time has come for you to address it with a professional psychologist through a process of therapy. It is nothing serious, it is simply that it requires more space so that you can go deeper into it.

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However, there is something you can do whether you make an appointment with your therapist or if you unravel your own psychological fear of change by yourself. It is to start (just start) to address those conclusions that are blocking you and that are preventing you from carrying out the projects that you propose. 

That is to say, once you have located those factors that are blocking you and you have clearly expressed the distorted beliefs behind them, the best thing to do is to reformulate them in a way that is more in line with reality. Let’s do it with the four examples we mentioned before. 

1. I can only change if I find the perfect solution where everything fits together

We all need as much security as possible when tackling the psychological fear of change, there is nothing wrong with that. The problem is that life is not perfect, or at least it doesn’t seem to be. 

If we wait for all the stars to align we will never take any steps forward. Moreover, every decision involves losses and gains. Once weighed, if the gains outweigh the losses, a decision must be made if we want something in our lives to change. 

2. If I am not sure I will like the change, I don’t want to change

Of course, nobody likes to make mistakes, but we are not fortune tellers, we are not infallible, we cannot foresee everything, nor – as we said in the previous point – can we make everything fit perfectly. 

If, once we have weighed up the pros and cons and calculated the risks, it turns out we make the wrong choice, it is legitimate for us to regret it, but also to think that these things happen. We have the right to make mistakes. 

3. I am afraid of change because I don’t know what I want and I don’t know if I will gain from the change

In that case, it seems that the most sensible thing to do is to wait and give the matter another go so that you can have a complete perspective on the matter. Although, if you look at it, we go back to the same thing: you are not a fortune teller, you cannot know in advance if you will win or lose, you can only calculate it. If you are not clear enough, it is better to wait a little longer. 

4. I feel like changing but I’m too lazy, it’s easier to stay as I am

Of course, you have every right in the world to your comfort, to stay in an environment where you feel safe: there is no obligation to change. 

However, think about how much frustration and dissatisfaction you have to pay for staying in the comfort of not changing. We insist: change for the sake of change is silly, you don’t have to do it just for the sake of it. However, if it were really worthwhile to stay as you are, you would not be giving so much thought to the matter without ending up going somewhere, don’t you think?

It is not easy to set out to carry out a personal change, the psychological fear of change generates enormous personal conflicts that end up entangling us for too long. Sometimes, in a relatively impulsive way, we take the middle road, hoping for good luck until we can see the results. Other times we concentrate, gather our courage, and consciously opt for one of the options we consider. Sometimes we even decide to cut the dilemma short: we decide not to decide and we will think about it another time. 

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Facing the psychological fear of change

The problem comes when we get stuck in the anguished loop of wanting to do something but not being able to solve it. The psychological fear of change can be very harmful to our mental health. As we said above: if you can’t think of the best solution for you, let a professional help you. They will not tell you what to do or magically show you the solution, but together you will figure out what is best for you right now. It may be worth it. We are here to help you.

Don’t miss this article about the advantages of using ifeel’s mental health at work platform.

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