Changing Plans

By Resna Marie Brunson, MSC

Preparing for a vacation is one of the exciting parts of a trip. Making purchases, planning event details, and packing all add to the excitement. Our first family trip to Disney World was one of those experiences. After saving a couple of years, my husband and I were prepared to share the wonderful news to our children. The excitement grew each day as we planned what parks to visit and our daily itineraries. We purchased disney apparel , autograph books, and our necklaces to display and exchange disney park pins. But what happens if our plans fail??? What happens if we wake up on departure day and our flight is canceled or the car will not start? We arrive and our luggage is lost? Our accommodations are not what we had expected? An attraction/event is no longer in operation? It rains everyday-all day? Unfortunately, this is real life. Although we carefully “dot every i and cross every t” we can still be thrown a curveball.

In the previous post, Seasons, I referenced Dr. Spencer Johnson’s book, Who Moved My Cheese. His book describes the after effects of our response to change. Life’s blindsided experiences are not seasonal life changes nonetheless they have an impact on our thoughts/feelings/behaviors. For example, I was rear ended while at an intersection waiting for the traffic light to turn green. As a result of that experience, I am not confident the drivers behind me are fully attentive so I will now focus on my rear view mirror when stopped at an intersection.

It is easier said than done to just move onto plan B. Like with the failed vacation, there can always be another way to go, a new itinerary, or even another destination. Unfortunately our feelings/emotions (disappointment) tend to hinder our behaviors (moving on). Some of us (yours truly) are bent toward muting feelings. Just keep things moving. Others feel deeply and need more time to process. Depending on the situation, each response can be appropriate. There are indeed incidents where we will need to act quickly. Likewise there are times we need to sit in the moment. Deflating and avoiding emotional pain does not make it go away. It only mounts until it can no longer fit in the hidden compartment and explodes. On the other hand, over processing without taking action prevents us from growing. We see time moving forward without us and it seems impossible to catch up. Sometimes we need help regulating both responses. One way to do this is by giving ourselves daily process time. A time/moment set aside each day to feel/process emotion. It will help us not to dismiss how we are feeling as well as help us to avoid “overthinking.” This is a time/space uniquely catered for each individual. Journaling, walking, sitting quietly, and deep breathing, are some ways to have this time. Depending on our circumstances, it may only be a moment but it can still be just as impactful as someone who has significantly more time.

Talking with someone to help filter through the feelings surrounding life’s changing moments can also be beneficial. Ready for the next step?

Resna Marie Brunson, MSC

Leave A Comment