Coping with Change
Have you lost your job or your dear friend? Are you grieving? Did your favorite boss just let you know he is relocating? Did you get robbed or have an accident? Was your child bullied at school? in addition to the rewards and benefits of life there are many hardships.
We all know in our minds that change will happen to everyone, but when change happens unexpectedly the challenges can seem overwhelming.
Are you afraid of change or do you seek it? Are you worried about bad things happening or do you expect good to come? Reactions to stress and difficulty can come from how much you have had to deal with in your life and how young you were when it happened. If you had to deal with a death or serious loss or illness, etc. as a child, you may have more trouble feeling resilient in your adult life. In addition, a positive and stable person in your early life can be tremendously helpful in later years.
If you are having a relationship break-up, experienced a death, an illness, a trauma from the past or present, or even a positive change like marriage or having a child, having the skills to adjust to your life experience and even grow in the process can make a big difference in your transition.
For many people, the most important factor in coping with change is getting support which can come in the form of friends, family, support groups, religious and spiritual groups, and work community. It is a fact that people can transcend and heal from many different kinds of traumatic events when they are able to talk about what happened repeatedly and feel secure in not being alone.
Other important elements in coping with change:
- Develop healthy habits that will be there for you when you need them. Exercise or yoga practice is hard to start when you are in the middle of a transition, but can be comforting and supportive if you are accustomed to a routine.
- Know how to set boundaries and say no when you need to. Also know when to say yes even when you would rather not. Overcompensating and isolating are equally bad for you. Finding a balance of being busy but not overly busy is really helpful.
- Look for a way to see the positive as well as the negative in your circumstances. This doesn’t mean forcing yourself to be Pollyanna. An example of a positive spin on a negative experience would be to think of change as an opening that comes into your life so something new can emerge.
- Accept emotional pain instead of trying to push it away. Suppressing your feelings can cause inner turmoil and conflict. Distraction and soothing are helpful, if you are overwhelmed, but it is most useful in the long run to experience your feelings.
If you are feel overwhelmed, out of control, or unable to manage, it might be time to get some extra help. Counseling can help you connect to your strength, understand yourself better, and learn new skills to cope with change.