5 Ways to Thrive in the Face of Change – Even If You Just Want to Run Screaming

Change. You either love it or you hate it.

Many people hate it. The prospect of a new job, moving to a new house, leaving a relationship or buying a new car can make those who resist change want to run for the hills.

I love change.

I have spent much of my life changing things up. I have lived in San Francisco, Maine, Tokyo, Athens, Boulder, Vermont, Sydney and NYC. Since I graduated from college I have lived in 17 different homes and have worked in the hotel business, the food industry, retail management, real estate sales and now I am a life coach. I have been divorced and lived through my kids going off to college.

I am the person I am today because of opportunities for change that were presented to me throughout my life, ones I chose to pursue. And I love the person who I am today.

They say that people who choose change are happier for it. The process can be messy but once you get through it life just might be what you have always wanted it to be.

I am here today to help you get through that change, so that you can live the life of your dreams.

Here it is, my latest. 5 Ways to Thrive in the Face of Change – Even If You Just Want to Run Screaming.

#1 – Don’t forget to breathe.

When presented with the possibility of change many people freeze up. The prospect is so terrifying that their body actually reacts as it would if faced with the specter of death. And then they run, run for their lives, from that change.

This is when it’s important to remember to breathe. Without breath neither your brain nor your heart can function and making rational choices is impossible.

Think about when you drive by a tractor-trailer on the highway. It’s a scary prospect and you start thinking of all the things that can go wrong. And you hold your breath in anticipation of those things. Next time, try taking a deep breath right before you pass that truck. The breath will calm your body and clear your mind and you will pass it with ease.

It’s the same with change. Try it now. Inhale for 3 seconds, out for 5. Repeat as needed. Your heartbeat will slow and your mind will clear. Very helpful.

#2 – Remember change is GOOD.

Many people are so unaccustomed to change that the prospect seems unbearable. This new thing is going to come in and shake up their lives and they don’t think they can survive it.

But this just isn’t true. We can survive anything. And research shows that most people who make a big change are happier on the other side. Happier. Sounds pretty good, right?

Think about a time earlier in your life when you faced major change. Now think about how you went about it and what the end result was. Was your life ultimately a better place because of that change? Even if things were really messy along the way? Think carefully.

The process can be difficult, and we will address that, but picture yourself on the other side of that change. Life will be different, yes. But that is not necessarily a bad thing.

#3 – Gather information.

One of the most important pieces of thriving in the face of change is the gathering of information. It is impossible to make a smart move without the right information.

It’s time to make a list – a list of all of the positive things and all of the challenging things about your potential change.

If you are moving will it mean a bigger house? Better weather? A longer drive to school or work? An acre lawn to mow?

If it’s a new job will it be better hours or pay? Will the dress code be challenging? Will your boss be someone much younger than you?

Once you have your list of your perceived pluses and minuses address each minus individually.

A smaller house might seem a minus but really a smaller house means less house to clean which would give you more time to do something fun instead.

A younger boss might seem a minus but really a younger boss could teach you some new skills for the ever-evolving workplace. And the fact that you are older could mean built in respect because of the years of working experience you bring to the table.

For every one thing that seems like negative there is a corresponding positive. You just need to identify what those things are. Once you do you will feel ready to face real, substantial change.

#4 – No negative self talk.

We are our own worst enemies. In the face of change our brains tell us that we just can’t do it. That we aren’t smart enough or strong enough or that the change will destroy us.

Again, this just isn’t true.

I have a client who has been given an amazing job opportunity. It has been literally placed at her feet and is hers for the taking. And she is struggling to accept it.

She thinks two things:

  1. That people will judge her for changing jobs AGAIN after just two years in her current position.
  2. That she will fail.

I asked her what she would think if she heard of someone switching jobs after 2 years. She said she would think “Wow. That person is really moving up in the world. She is being recognized for her successes. Good for her.”

I asked her to list for me all the reasons that she would fail. Try as she might she couldn’t name one reason. Her brain had been telling her that she would but she couldn’t prove to me that what her brain was saying was true.

Again, our brains can make us our own worst enemies. Recognize that and talk back to that brain. Don’t let it and it’s pesky untruths hold you back.

#5 – Get excited about the possibilities.

Take a good look at that list that you made. Of all of the possibilities that your future holds.

Change is a scary thing but really it is also so exciting. You get a chance to do things differently, to re-invent yourself, to maybe experience things that you haven’t before.

The first steps will most likely be difficult, and scary, but once you get started the sky is the limit. It’s like starting out on a hiking trail and looking up. You wonder how the hell will you get up to the top. And then, when you do, after a fair amount of huffing and puffing, it’s just amazing. The sky is blue and you can see forever. And looking down you can see how far you have come and feel pretty damn proud of yourself.

So there you go. 5 Ways to Thrive in the Face of Change.

I am not saying that the prospect of change isn’t scary and overwhelming. It is scary and will be overwhelming. What I am saying is to embrace it, to look at it as a positive thing even if your first reaction is “not so much.”

In my last blog I wrote about getting divorced. A friend of mine said he was jealous. How lucky was I that I was getting a chance for a reboot at 46 years old. And that’s what I got. The reboot itself was rather painful but I was given a new beginning and my life is now amazing. Truly.

I wish this kind of happiness on everyone I know and love. Take a risk. It will be worth it!

Are you struggling with change in your life? Contact me. I can help!

Have you survived and thrived in the face of change? I would love to hear your story!

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

5 Reasons that Divorce Can Make You Happier – Even If It’s Hard to Believe

I remember I would wake up in the morning, looking forward to my day, and then would roll over and see the still warm, empty space next to me in bed. My stomach would sink. My husband had gone to the gym and I was glad because that meant I wouldn’t have to see him.

As the day progressed we talked occasionally on the phone, mostly about bills and the kids’ schedules and whether he would make it home in time for dinner. Communications about the running of our family business. We were good at that.

I remember every night seeing his car drive in the driveway and thinking “Ok. This is it. Tonight I am going to give him a hug and be happy to see him.” And he would walk in the door and go right to the stack of mail and rifle through it, something he knew I hated. There would be a perfunctory kiss, he would get a drink, or two, and we would spend the rest of the night operating in parallel, dealing with homework and bedtime.

My husband and I never fought but we were desperately unhappy. 18 years of a thousand little cuts, of unresolved conflicts, of the contempt of the familiar, had wrought serious damage.

And even though we were barely existing in the same space I really believed that somehow we would find our way back to each other. We had shared dreams for the future after all and how could we let those go?

One day he told me he wanted a divorce. He didn’t want to work on our marriage. He was done.

I was devastated.

What followed was one long year of divorce proceedings. It was horrible. And then it was all over. 18 years of marriage. Done.

In spite of all of that, or perhaps because of it, here I am, 5 years later, living a life that is happier than I ever could have imagined. Yes, it is different from the one that I thought I would be living with my husband but it is most notably different because I am happy. Truly happy.

Here is my latest blog – 5 Reasons that Divorce Can Make You Happier.

#1 – Your kids will thrive

The first thing that my son said to me when he learned we were separating was “Good. Because I hate coming home. There is always so much tension.” And this was true. Now, when he comes home, either to me or to his dad’s, his home is cleared of the anger that used to cloud it.

My kids also now have a much better relationship with their dad. Before the divorce I came between them. They spent more time with me and saw how unhappy I was and they distanced themselves from him. Now they see their dad separately from me and it has made them all closer. Which is a gift.

Because I talk to them more openly than I did before, and I have a good understanding of what went wrong with my marriage, my kids have a much clearer picture of what it takes to make a relationship to work. That is a something that I wish I had had when entering into my marriage.

My kids are doing great. In more ways than one. And that to me is the most important thing.

#2 – No more “thousand little cuts”

You know what I am talking about. Every day there was some kind of slight, big or small. The mail that was rifled through, the 3rd drink, the coming home late again, the snapping. We were constantly at each other, not overtly, but in ways that caused pain. We had unresolved issues and tons of resentment.  We struggled to stay calm in each others presence. We lived in the same house but were always lonely.

Now my days are filled with a happiness and contentment that I haven’t known in a long time. I wake up in the morning without that sinking feeling in my stomach. I spend my days working and being with the kids and living my life without the constant dread of that next little thing coming that would cause me pain.

This has made me a better person and a better mother. And have I mentioned? Happier.

3 – New friendships    

One of the most wonderful parts of my single life is the number of new friendships that I have developed.

When we are married we tend to insulate ourselves from the rest of the world because of our relationships. We might have friends who are other couples but really our primary relationship is with our spouse.

Now I have many, many friends, of all different stripes, who make my life fuller every day. And they say that the number one cause of sustained happiness is good friendships. How lucky am I?

#4 – Being your own person

For years I identified myself as someone’s wife. Yes, I was a successful mom, realtor and life coach but every decision that I made about my life was made in consideration of my relationship with my spouse.

Now I live life the way I want to. Yes, I have my obligations to my kids and my job and the US Treasury Department but I get to live in a way that makes my heart sing.

I recently moved from Vermont to New York City, have a thriving life coaching business and volunteer extensively with the National Alliance on Mental Illness. All things that I love.

The life that I am leading makes me happy every day.

#5 – A life full of hope

When I was married I was so lonely and sad that I never had any hope for the future. When you are living a life mired in unhappiness any positive thoughts for the future are impossible.

Now I know that the sky is the limit. I can have all of the personal success that I want as long as I am willing to go for it. I have my own business, of which I am proud, my kids are turning into amazing adults and I have a man who I love deeply with whom I hope to spend the rest of my life.

I have been through a lot but all of it makes me who I am today. And I love who I am today…

So there you go, my 5 Reason that Divorce Can Make You Happier.

Angelina Jolie filed for divorce from Brad Pitt today. Her lawyer stated that she “did it for the health of her family.” A reporter declared “Love is Dead.”

I would say that love is not dead but very much alive.  Angelina, recognizing that her marriage could not be salvaged, made the difficult decision to get out of it, for her own health and the health of her family. So that they all could have the chance to be happy again. It is the end of something that wasn’t working and the beginning of something that will. A true act of love.

I am not saying you should just walk out on your marriage but I do encourage you to consider the bigger picture…your happiness and the happiness of those around you. As I have said before, if you are living a life that makes your heart sing those you love will be better for it.

I am living proof that it happens. The photo at the top of this blog is me!

Are you living with a difficult relationship? Contact me and I can help!

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

5 Small Things to Be Grateful For – Even When Life Is Getting You Down

Two weeks ago my sister had an emergency appendectomy and I have spent most of my time since then with her in Connecticut.

My sister has two teenage boys, two dogs, a coop full of chickens, a husband and a preschool to run. She cannot drive or lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk for two weeks. So here I am. Being her.

That I can do this, take some time off from my life in NYC to help her out, makes me feel very grateful. Grateful that I have the kind of career that allows me flexibility with where and when I work. If I couldn’t be here my sister’s illness would have had a far greater impact on her family so I know she is grateful as well.

These past weeks have got me thinking about all of the things that I am grateful for in this world. There are many things, big and small, that I so appreciate. Life can be challenging and if it wasn’t for the little things it would at times seem unbearable. Here is my latest…

5 Small Things to be Grateful For – Even when Life is Getting You Down.

 

#1 – Comfort Food

We all have it. That certain something that we love to eat. That something that we fantasize about if the day is going very badly.

For me it’s Thai food. Whenever I am having a bad day I promise myself at the end of the day some Pad Thai will be part of my evening. The prospect actually calms me down immediately and lifts my spirits.

And of course, the chocolate pudding that I eat for dessert doesn’t hurt either.

And for that I am grateful.

#2 – Smiles

Think about that morning when everything went wrong. You woke up late, there was no hot water, your coffee was cold, you had nothing to wear. Really your day was gonna suck.

And then you take the elevator down to the lobby and walk out onto the street, your sunglasses on, prepared to fight the world. You round the corner and almost run into a complete stranger, a complete stranger who smiles broadly and says good morning. Reflexively you smile back.

It changes your whole day.

The actual act of smiling, the use of the muscles to turn your mouth upwards, has been proven to lift your mood. I know that when my kids were little and I was feeling overwhelmed just smiling at them made me feel better.

And for that I am grateful.

#3 – The Sun and the Moon

Imagine the world without the sun. Imagine not being able to turn your face up to it and feel immediately warmed. Imagine a world without flowers or grass or hummingbirds. Imagine a world where it is always dark. How lucky are we that have the sun and all the warmth and beauty it brings?

And then there’s the moon. There is nothing like looking up at the night sky and seeing that brilliant light shining down, the orb passing through it’s nightly phases, to truly strike awe. When it’s full it can turn the night into a magical daytime. When it’s new the world feels safe, held close by the darkness.

When I look at the moon each night I know that those I love who aren’t with me can see that same moon and it makes the world just a little smaller and the love a little brighter.

And for that I am grateful.

#4 – Hot Water

This is one thing that I never ever think about until it’s not there. And when it’s not there I definitely notice.

Think about that shower that you took this morning. Was it almost as important to you as that coffee (made with hot water) you drank right afterwards? How about that bathtub you are going to sink into tonight? To soak your weary bones and have a few moments of peace. Lovely.

Hot water keeps our clothes and dishes clean, heats our homes, cooks our pasta and dissolves our sugar. Without hot water our life would be a much different place.

And for me, I get that cup of tea at the end of the day that warms me to my toes. Right before I take my bath.

And for that I am grateful.

#5 – My Bed

Really, is there anything better in the whole world than one’s bed?

A bed with soft sheets and the perfect number of pillows and that cozy comforter on a cool night. Heaven.

It’s a place where you can take refuge at the end of an endless day, a place to curl up with your kids, a place where you get to read that fantastic book you fall asleep to every night, a place where you can talk quietly with the one you love, among other things.

No matter how crazy, jam packed and exhausting my life is, at the end of every day I have my bed.

And for that I am grateful.

So there you go. My latest….5 Small Things to be Grateful For – Even when Life is Getting You Down.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Stop for a moment. Look around. For what are you grateful?

There are days that life can be almost too hard to bear. Take a few minutes to take stock of what you are grateful for. I promise if you do you will be able to bear it.

Want to talk about some more things that you can be grateful for? Contact me and let me help!

 

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

5 TV Shows About Women That You Have Never Heard of and Should See – Even if Your DVR is Already Full

The past few weeks I have been going heavy with my blogs but today, in the spirit of fall and the new TV season, I am going to go lighter.

I LOVE TV. Love it. I think the variety of spectacular offerings on both network and cable TV has changed our lives and our culture in many ways. And not just because of the hours we lose binge watching.

(One of my favorite ads for Netflix…10:45. Otherwise known as “time for one more…”)

TV today takes us places that we have never been before. It makes our hearts beat faster and our minds race. It lets us into the lives and minds of a myriad of unfamiliar characters. It allows us insight that might not have been possible before. All from the comfort of our couches.

With that in mind I was considering my favorite shows. Top two: Sons of Anarchy and The Walking Dead. Yes, bikers and zombies. People look at me like I have two heads when I say that.

Sometimes I wonder too, particularly because there are so many amazing TV shows written for and about women. Shows that are wonderful and perfect for bingeing. Here is my latest…

5 TV Shows about Women That You Have Never Heard of and Should See

 

#1 – Masters of Sex

Set in the 1950s and 60s, the show follows the research and relationship of two of the pioneering researchers of human sexuality, Virginia Johnson and Bill Masters. Over the four season arc we witness first hand what it was, and was not, to be a sexual woman back in the day.

What did their research prove? That women could have orgasms and needed sex as much as men. That foreplay was an integral part of sexual pleasure. That it was not only okay for women to use birth control but necessary to give them the freedom to succeed on their own terms.

Was their research well received? Not so much.

In these days, when pornography is just another thing on your platform of choice, the sexual naivete of the time seems incredible. But all women should see it, to revel in how far we have come in just few decades.

#2 – Casual

This TV show is about a middle-aged women, Valerie, whose husband trades her in for a younger model. She and her teen-aged daughter, Laura, move in with her brother, Alex, the owner of a matchmaking start-up who is totally dumbfounded by relationships of any kind.

The show is multi-faceted. It covers the at times dysfunctional relationships that exist in families and also digs into the scary and often intimidating world of dating and sex in 2016.

It is alternatively hilarious and devastatingly sad but the half hour episodes are each one a gem on their own.

#3 – Unreal

The premise for this TV show is brilliant. It goes behind the scenes of a Bachelor-like reality TV show and gets into the minds of it’s two female producers, Quinn and her protégé Rachel.

This show is hilarious in it’s portrayal of the real world of reality TV but is also a picture window sized view into the heads of the two highly ambitious women, both of them deeply flawed, who will do anything to get what they want.

Over two seasons we see them manipulate the suitor, the contestants, each other and those who work with them to make the story completely their own. And that story is at times, literally, deadly.

That these women are capable of what they do, while simultaneously seeking love and happiness in their personal lives, is mind-boggling. And not entirely surprising.

It is a cautionary tale in many ways. And a guilty pleasure.

#4 – Nurse Jackie

This incredible TV show stars Edie Falco, the talented actress behind Carmela Soprano in The Sopranos.

Edie plays Nurse Jackie, a wife, a mother and the best ER nurse at All Saint’s Hospital in NYC. She is also a drug addict.

Over the seven season arc we see Jackie as she alternately soars and falls. She is a remarkably talented and empathetic nurse but her drug abuse causes her to lie, cheat and steal. And while she pulls off her double life for a while ultimately it all catches up to her.

Nurse Jackie is a real woman, with all of the issues and challenges of a real woman in this world, and one with a natural talent for giving back in a life changing way. That she lives with a secret is no different from all of us. And, as we all know, secrets can be our undoing.

#5 – Big Love

This is the story of a Morman family, Bill Henrickson and his three wives, Barb, Nickie and Margie, who live in the suburbs of Salt Lake City: . This is a man with three families in three houses all next door to each other, a man with three times the joys and heartbreak that having even one wife can bring.

It is also the story of a polygamist sect that lives off the grid in the desert and is led by a charismatic old man, Bill’s father, who has many young wives and dabbles in crime and treachery.

The juxtaposition, and overlap, of these two stories, of suburban domestic life and life in a cult, makes for fascinating TV. Even more fascinating, and at time more dangerous, is the relationship between the three wives, three women sharing a man and a marriage.

Take a moment and think about the reality of that situation.

So there you go…….5 TV Shows about Women That You Have Never Heard of and Should See.

Women are complicated. We bring so much love and grace into the world but also have a unique ability to shake everything up, in good ways and bad.

That TV these days presents these women, with all of their faults and virtues, is a gift. Gone are the days of Carol Brady and Laura Petrie, two one-dimensional characters who play off the multi-dimensions of their husbands. We are many things but we are not one-dimensional.

Every woman should watch these shows. Enjoy them. Learn from them. Tell your friends about them. Indulge.

You have my permission. Go for it!

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!