Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change. – Wayne Dyer
It is often said that there is nothing as permanent as the impermanence itself. Sooner or later, it becomes clear that the impermanence or change is an inherent ingredient of life, without change life on earth would become pretty mundane and uninspiring. Be it lockdown, relocating, COVID-related stress, marriage, breakups, career changes, job loss, illness, having a baby, promotion, starting a new venture, retirement, financial downturns, moving, graduating, or losing someone you love. The change may arrive in any form. It becomes increasingly difficult to deal with change when it comes with undesirable consequences and immense uncertainty. At one point or another, we all have to deal with these common transitions and life-altering changes. The big picture question is how to deal with the change effectively and prudently. In this regard, this research-based article would help you immensely. Let’s now look at the ways and means to cope with change especially the big and scary ones.
8 Ways to Deal with Change
1. Mental Preparedness
Studies show that it’s not what kind of change you are facing but how you to choose to respond to that change speaks volume about who you are as a person. Mental preparedness plays a vital in shaping your responses and psychological adjustments when confronted with dramatic changes in life. Any kind of change causes psychological stress accompanied with a feeling of fear, which in turn triggers flight or fight responses in the body. When you are mentally prepared, you view any change as an opportunity for growth. With this positive shift in mental attitude towards life changes, you will gradually become strong and confident self.
2. Connect & Communicate
More often than not life will hit with a brick and overwhelming stress caused by crisis or change will get better of you. During those turbulent times, it is okay to ask for help from your trusted friends or family members. But when you connect with people who have gone through same transitions, it will give you better insights about how to manage such change effectively. When you connect and communicate about major life-changes such as switching jobs, divorce, chronic illness like anxiety and depression, new pathways to overcome these scary changes are created for you where you can get a semblance of direction. Social support is imperative in coping with the big stressful changes in life.
3. Gratitude & Fortitude
Friedrich Nietzsche says, “that which does not kill us makes us stronger.” There is merit to Nietzsche’s philosophy that compels one to seek strength while facing a tide of life changes. It is very helpful to write down the positives that have come from the change in your gratitude journal. Maybe due to this change in your life, you have met a new person. Maybe you became more spiritually active. Maybe you became more vocal or assertive. Maybe you discovered your hidden talent or inner strength. Maybe you started practicing healthier habits. Maybe the change helped you prioritize your life. You must be grateful for all the positive things that came along with that disruptive change. Because in the longer run, this gratitude translates into mental fortitude that would make you a better and stronger person.
4. Emotional Acceptance
To manage change effectively, it is vital that you must acknowledge the change and accept the fact that things are changing. With the change comes a plethora of feelings, these can be overpowering at times – confusion, being overwhelmed, anxiety, uncertainty, self-doubt, disappointment, frustration and even short-term depression. Believing that the change is inevitable, then deciding to accept these feelings is the positive step. Research shows that in these situations, denial is a powerful defence mechanism that we create for ourselves, and it protects us in many ways. However, stepping outside of it and overcoming it by emotionally embracing the change will bring many positive psychological rewards for us in the longer run.
5. Power of routine
Bigger the change that is happening, the more important it is to stick to your regular schedule – as much as possible. Doing certain things you love that remain the same, like going for a run every morning or watching a movie on weekends, gives us an anchor. Psychologically speaking, anchoring is important as it sends a firm reminder to your brain that some things are still the same, and it gives your brain a sense of familiarity and certainty despite the change you are undergoing. Staying committed to your routine helps you manage stress well. In case you don’t yet have a routine, it’s time to create one!
6. Reflect & Relax
Going through significant life changes can be challenging, and as with any meaningful journey, there will be speed bumps as well as milestones along the way. When the change is happening, instead of fighting it hardcore take a pause to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses and pros and cons of the situation. After deep inner introspection, give yourself a chance to relax and rejuvenate via meditation, breathing technique, yoga or any kind of fitness regimen. Researchers point out that self-compassion and visual relaxation can do wonders to beat COVID-related stressful changes or other transitions.
7. Actionable Goals
To stay on top of this game of managing change well, the next logical thing to do after self-analysis and relaxation is to set your priorities straight and create a set of actionable goals. Instead of overly obsessing about the future, you must have clearly defined goals to channelize your mental resources in the right direction. Repurpose your mind strongly so you can see a clear path with a positive outcome. When you are facing health-related changes, it is vital to set actionable goals like eating a healthier diet, taking adequate sleep and seeking the right treatment for your ailments.
8. Digital Detox
Quoting Friedrich Nietzsche again, “no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”
When you go through change, you may gravitate toward social media. It may bring more harm than good because you may become the recipient of ill-thought advice or suggestion. Also, you may start comparing your life to your friends’ lives on social media without realising that most people post only the “sunny side” of their lives, not the “shadowy moments.” Psychologists point out that such unwarranted comparisons may cause “Facebook-induced depression.” It is advised that you must step away from social media for a while and do a “digital detox’ to stay focused and realistic. “Detoxing” from digital devices and social media is often seen as a way to focus on real-life transitions and social interactions without distractions.
Way Forward – Reinvent & Stay Resilient
It is often said that, “he who cannot obey himself will be commanded by others.” Your current situation will not improve if you wait for some other person or some other time. You are the change that you seek. And therefore, you are the only one who is responsible to change yourself for a better life. The bottom line, every change in your life, big or small, will require you to change and reinvent yourself into a more resilient self. And laughter is a good start point. Make a point to incorporate more laughter and fun into your life. Laughing increases dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins – and that makes you feel good. Laughing also decreases cortisol – a stress-producing hormone.
Reinvent yourself and stay resilient, and you will be the change you have always wanted!