“This area includes many well-reinforced habits, and just desiring change in these areas isn’t quite enough.”
1. Workplace and Career
Changes at work, due to layoff, dismissal, or resignation, force us to adjust to change, often in an immediate way with little or no time to prepare. All of the other voluntary changes that we make allow us to plan for change and incorporate the three Brain Hacks into our strategy.
Because our jobs align with other areas of security, the emotional and mental impacts of a job loss are profound. Common emotions include stress, anger, anxiety, depression, and embarrassment. If not worked through appropriately, these same emotional states can impact physical and mental health as well, and can impair a person’s ability to effectively obtain a new job. While the anxiety of job loss initiates motivation, it is an unhealthy state to remain in. This is where practicing mental wellness exercises can help to regulate us.
Beyond those acute emotional experiences, this area of change can also yield long-term impacts on self-esteem, confidence, and self-worth. Even in the case of job promotions, an anxiety trigger can be set off. New routines, responsibilities, and even office location can be attached to this and cause the same flooding of emotions and thought processes.
We often resist change in this area because of how painful breakups and other relationship changes can be – not just romantically, but in our close connections with others in general. Breakups and separations are particularly painful because they impact the part of our brain that creates attachment to another person. When we break that attachment, or when it is broken for us, it can literally feel like physical pain.
Since we know that the pain of a breakup, particularly with a significant other, will have phases similar to grief, we can gather support, be diligent in self-care, and find other resources to make it through the loss, sadness, and loneliness. Remembering that the pain will eventually wane, we can reinforce our inner resiliency to get through it.
Lifestyle is the most common area of self-motivated change and can include goals around health, fitness, addictions, negative thinking, and bad habits. Many of us know the value of making changes and improvements in this area. On the surface it might seem simple – You want to change? Just do it! As if motivation were enough all by itself. But, this area includes many well-reinforced habits, and just desiring change in these areas isn’t quite enough.