Adapting to a new normal mentally
Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.
- J.K. Rowling
The word ‘adapting’ holds a vast arena of meaning depending on the context in which it is used, but one thing is for certain, adapting successfully, requires us to maintain our calm and accept it mentally as well as psychologically. Adapting also refers to us being comfortable in a new situation and most importantly adjusting our expectations.
The spotlight in terms of adapting to anything, always falls on it being incorporated mentally first. The major obstacle or trouble that many come across is changing their expectations. “It becomes a habit, and you start expecting more and more in a situation that you have been in for a long time, a sudden jolt that gets you out of that situation is very shocking and not easily acceptable,” says the researchers at many psychological institutions across the world. Adapting to a new situation requires time and most importantly patience, lack of even one of the two does not allow an individual to adapt completely, the results of which may include mental fatigue, anxiety, irritation, and in some severe cases even mental trauma.
Now that we know the exact two ingredients for adapting successfully, we should do it without any further problems or any hurdles, but it’s easier said than done. “Adjusting to something”, and “Adjusting to something to make it normal for us”, are two things that are divided by a very fine line but differ from each other like night and day. The latter is much harder to get used to and requires more mental strength and to a certain extent, a higher level of maturity. “Adjusting to something sometimes only requires us to change our perspective and our take on many things, but on the other hand “Adapting to something to an extent to make it normal for us to be in that situation is very tough. One must not only persevere every day but also change one’s perspective and oneself.
Perseverance is not a long race, it is many short races one after the another.
Truly said by the pioneers of every field that, change is the result of constant battles over a period of time only to ensure victory in the final war of change. Yes it is hard, and sometimes feels too utopian to adapt to the change to make it a part of our normal living, but nothing is impossible. Doctors and psychologists all around the world agree on the fact that everyone is different and so are their coping mechanisms for handling various situations and changes. The way one changes oneself is purely based on one’s own personality. Still, on further research done by the esteemed scientists and psychologists at the renowned Harvard Medical School, it was found out that there are some methods and certain practices which have a general impact on one’s character and allows the person to adapt rather, more conveniently. This research was done in light of the recent pandemic that struck globally. Many people had a really tough time adjusting to the new dire circumstances they were facing. It took a toll on almost everyone when they were swiped right out of their comfort zones. Some people stated that they could adapt to this new change quickly because they started practicing acceptance and when they were kinder than usual. This is a big way to be softer emotionally and let the people around you influence you slowly and to let you gradually get accustomed to the new circumstances. Another important thing while adapting to a situation mentally is to NOT view everything you had as essential. “We have to learn to let go”, this comes unsaid when we plan to change ourselves. We should think of it as a chapter of a book we ourselves are writing and it’s completely up to us, to either morph it into a gloomy one or to make it one of the best in the book.
One HAS to learn to be flexible while attempting to change, and flexibility here means three different things. One has to be cognitively flexible where one can incorporate different thinking strategies and mental frameworks into one’s planning, decision-making, and management of day-to-day work. The second is emotional flexibility, it varies the approach to deal with their own and others’ emotions — an area that many often fail to consider. An emotional person is more likely to be comfortable with the process of transition, including grieving, complaining, and resistance. And the last being dispositional flexibility (or personality-related flexibility) in which people operate from a place of optimism grounded in realism and openness. They will acknowledge a bad situation but simultaneously visualize a better future. They are neither blindly positive nor pessimistic and defeatist. Ambiguity is well-tolerated.
“Go on a politeness binge”, is another best way to adjust to the new normal. Being polite and flexible not only allows the other person to feel at ease and helps them adjust themselves but themselves too. Also, this way we can be sure not to let the negativities slide into our lives because, kindness is like knowledge, the more you give the more you receive. Researches prove that in the past 20 years there have been 7 international health crises and the counties which were able to show the most rapid adaptability to the situation were the ones that had a higher happiness index. Be it the loss of a job or the loss of a near and dear one, practicing kindness, politeness and flexibility always decreased the mental agony and pressure, and helped individuals better adapt.
Another great way to adapt to a certain change is by what the researchers say “Reaction learning”. It is not only paving to be useful for adapting to changes but it’s also beneficial for any type and sort of learning. The idea behind this concept is very simple, and the best part is that you don’t have to do something out of the way to take on this process, it’s incorporated into your day to day experiences and what you face daily, and most importantly how you react or reacted to it. Accessing how you will react to that situation again in the future only open the gateway to more maturity and self-introspection which leads to character development whole, in terms of adapting to a new change, it’s very beneficial as every time you introspect and think about how “BETTER” you can do next time, you only become more adapted.
Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly
-John F. Kennedy
There are two sides of everything, black and white, heads and tails, yin and yang, similarly succeeding every time we want to adapt is just not possible, sometimes people do fail and don’t get the result they all expected or what they were striving for, but we should know that it is not the end of the road. It's only a part of the journey, it's a patch in your life that remained a little rough only to let the patch after being smooth. Yes, failures hurt, but only so if you let them. Quoting the phrase “failures are the stepping stones to success”, some people have a hard time adjusting to the new surroundings let alone make them normal for themselves, but the only possible way out of this is to keep on persevering. it's like churning milk, it takes a lot of effort but what comes out at the last is more precious and valuable. If things do go astray then there is no harm in approaching a doctor or someone professional, at the end of the day it all comes down to the efforts you put in and how long you continue to put them in.