Adaptability is essential for mental health as change is inevitable.
We are surrounded by change. Some changes are permanent, such as the change from one season to another, whereas others are evolutionary and progressive, tossing new circumstances our way as time passes. It's natural to dislike change because it often requires you to leave your comfort zone. However, adaptability, or the process of reinventing one's behaviours, thoughts, and emotions, can be an important protective factor in mental health.
The phrase "the only constant is change" is frequently attributed to the Greek philosopher Heraclitus. He noticed that the natural world was constantly moving and that people age, develop habits, and change environments. He famously said, "You can't step into the same river twice" - even rocks changed over time due to the elements. This universal law of change was named "Logos," and it was linked to three central beliefs known as his flux doctrine.
1. Everything is constantly changing.
2. There is a convergence of opposites (the opposite of something can only exist because of change in the original).
3. At the same time, everything exists and does not exist (matter can change forms so that the object no longer exists, but the original substance does).
The irony in all of this, as his statement implies, is that the presence of change itself will never change. It is critical to recognize that change is an unavoidable part of life and to learn how to adapt to it.
So, how do we embrace change while also cultivating adaptability? You don't have to like change to embrace it, and small changes can make change less painful in the long run. Here are some pointers to assist you in adapting to change:
2. Develop self-awareness: Have you ever wondered why change is so difficult for you? Understanding why you may resist change can be beneficial. When we recognize that it stems from our temperament or adversity in our past, we can approach ourselves with more compassion.
3. Recognize stress as a sign of change: Stress can make change seem impossible, but it's often a sign that its time. Perhaps you don't even need to discuss your stress with anyone. You may already be aware of the aspects of your life that require modification. Allow this to be your cue to begin dealing with them.
4. Write down the positive: Think about how change might benefit you or those around you. It can be useful to write this out as a list so you can see it on paper.
Adaptability can be a good predictor of life resilience. According to a recent study, some people were unable to adapt to lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. Higher levels of depression, anxiety, and insomnia were linked to this. Unwillingness to accept change can have serious consequences for a person's relationship with themselves and those around them. Those who are unable to accept change may find themselves feeling trapped in their lives or relationships. At its worst, this sense of immobility can exacerbate anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.