Life is a series of changes. Learning to deal with change is something we all must learn to handle. We experience changes in work and relationships, changes in our physical and mental health, and new events in our local communities and our world. Sometimes we know a change will occur, while other times it comes suddenly and unexpectedly.
Many people spend a great deal of time and energy trying to avoid change, but it will catch up to you. If you can learn to cope with change, you’ll lower your risk for anxiety and depression. With nearly every kind of change, stress is part of the equation. Trouble is, when you’re stressed – eating well, exercise, sleep and social time – tend to fall off your priority list. Being able to cope with change is called resilience.
How best to handle change:
- Plan ahead: If you know change is coming, prepare. Change is less stressful when you have a contingency plan in place.
- Evaluate Your Level of Control: Rather than blaming others or moving the unmovable, set your sights on what you can control. When you look for opportunities to empower yourself and work towards change that is possible, you’re less likely to feel stuck in difficult situations.
- Reframe your thinking. Figure out what’s going on in your mind and break negative patterns. Once you become aware of negative thoughts, you’re better equipped to shift them to emphasize the positive. For example, instead of “I don’t deserve this raise,” tweak the thought to “I worked hard for this recognition.”
- Practice Self-Care: Often life’s transitions involve losses, don’t push away any grief you might feel. Acknowledge the loss, seek support among friends and family, and consider speaking with a counselor or other mental health professional.
- Strive to maintain some normalcy. Structure and routine are comforting, so the more you can maintain your tried-and-true routine in the midst of a change, the better off you’ll be.