Life is constant change, Buddha and Aristotle already said it: change is a fact of life. But change has also been accelerating in recent decades. Massive disruption across the social, technological, political and environmental dimensions of our lives means that we are constantly trying to figure out how best to manage uncertainty. And for someone it can be scary.
The origin of this fear can be found in biology. Our brain is the result of two and a half million years of evolution. We have lived in caves much longer than we have in cities. This means that we have “coded” automatic responses to successfully respond to everyday threats.
If absurdly you see a tiger walking down the street, you would not try to understand what breed it is but you would rather try to escape as quickly as possible (flight). Another codified reaction would be to stay still, hoping that the tiger will not see you (freeze). The last possible reaction would be to fight it (fight), with very, very limited chances of success, so your brain would immediately discard it.
Flight, Freeze or Fight are the three primal reactions to events that we perceive as dangerous to our safety.
However, the wonderful circuits that have allowed us to evolve as a species are not suited to addressing the most subtle threats of our age, such as digitization, the pandemic or the risk of losing your job.
These fears are evolutionarily new and are not always easy to manage.
Remember that the brain is designed for your survival, not your happiness. Therefore, to face changes, you have to understand them as opportunities and learn from the potentials they entail. Moreover, this is not as automatic as running away from something dangerous. On the contrary, it takes effort and training.
Let us see how you could get started by following these four tips.
1. First of all, it is important to train your mind daily. Just as you go to the gym or practice by yourself, you need to keep your brain muscles in shape. Try to do something different every day. For example, you could change sources of information when reading the news (also useful to understand various points of view), change your route to go to work, or try a new dish.
2. Second, you can try to consider what happens to you in a different manner. For instance, a good way is reading history to realize that although we live in an age where changes happen very fast, all these progresses have allowed us, for example, to increase our life expectancy.
3. Third, try to disconnect from technology and reconnect with yourself and your surroundings. If you are always immersed in the digital world, you will not have time to integrate learning and to find a certain and needed tranquility. For example, one day during the weekend or on vacation you can put your mobile in the “don’t disturb” mode.
4. Fourth, trust. If you look at the difficulties that you have already faced in the past, you will see that now they look easy to you. If you have already been able to overcome challenging situations, why should you not be able to do it now?