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How To Deal with Change: 5 Ways To Cope

One thing’s for sure, change is inevitable and finding a way to deal with change and adjusting to it is a better approach than resisting it. 

If we have learned anything over the last 18 months, it is that people are extremely adaptable. Whether it’s experiencing a pandemic, coming in and out of lockdowns, having certain freedoms taken away or making difficult decisions on career, family, health, etc, we have had to face an upheaval of ‘normality’. It’s also clear that there are good and bad aspects of both lockdowns and restrictions. But adjusting to the changes takes time.

Change can be both expected and unexpected, but regardless of whether the change is good or bad, as human beings we often don’t welcome it. This is in part due to its uncertain and ambiguous nature. We are used to things being a certain way and sometimes this unpredictability can shake up the consistency we like to have in our life i.e. our routines, habits and patterns.

When things aren’t as they usually are or our reality suddenly looks different to what it used to be, our brains naturally seek out the predictable to reassure our nervous system that we are safe. It will attempt to find ways to manage and feel like we have control over it. Worry can set in when things feel out of our control but often no amount of worry can impact or change what is taking place. Becoming slowly more and more familiar with change can help our mind and body soothe itself when unpredicted change does arise.  

So how can you become more familiar with change?

Below are 5 ways to help cope with change: 

1. Drawing Resilience from Past Experiences

We can be much stronger and more resilient than we think and when faced with uncertainty it can be helpful to think back on the times you have been in a similar position. Make a list of times in the past where you experienced a big change or were presented with something unexpected, this will remind you of how you can cope with the unknown. Drawing strength and insight from previous experiences and situations of uncertainty can prove that you have gone through something similar before and managed to adapt and cope with the future.

2. Creating a Flexible Mindset 

Changing your mindset is a key element in facing change head on and embracing what comes with it. We are much more resilient than we realise and having clarity and focus during difficult or uncertain times is key to moving forward. Our thoughts affect our emotions and our emotions lead to our behaviours. Being mindful of what we are thinking and feeling, and having a professional to guide us through can be extremely beneficial to improving our thoughts and actions, and making sure we are working towards our best interest and peace of mind. 

3. Approaching Change with Gratitude 

When we are presented with changes in life, one question to ask is ‘Do I have control over it?’. And if the answer is ‘No’, it’s then good to see if there is anything positive that comes with it? Finding the valuable life lessons we learn along the way or seeing the positives that come with the changes we experience helps us navigate through uncertain times. There are always positives that come with change regardless of how scary or overwhelming it may seem and having someone to help you seek out the good things can set you in the right direction for managing the unpredictable nature of life. 

4. Start Learning Acceptance 

Accepting that I don’t have control over it. It’s the age old saying of ‘what you resist, persists’ and it is extremely true when it comes to facing changes that are out of our control. Accepting what is and reality as it presents itself is the first step towards easing our inner suffering. By continuing to resist the present or wishing it was different, it continues to loop our thinking and perpetuates the feelings of lack of control and helplessness. As difficult as accepting certain changes can be, taking your own power back in how you deal with it can be a big step towards finding more peace and acceptance with the new reality. 

5. Shifting Default Mode from Catastrophising to Curiosity 

We are used to things being a certain way and know what to expect from daily life so when we are faced with something unexpected, we can often fall into thinking it’s for the worse. We see it as a disruption to our sense of certainty and it can be easy to slip into catastrophising a situation. Seeking the help of a professional can assist you in gaining some perspective into the situation so you don’t feel overwhelmed by the change or believe the worst to be true. Scoping out the positive things in your life can also help to see it in proportion, and that our lives are multifaceted with many positive aspects coinciding with our grief or ambiguity.

All in all, change is uncomfortable. It gets us out of our regular routines and patterns, and oftentimes we need to learn new ways of being. But just because things appear different doesn’t always mean it’s for the worst. Change is inevitable and it’s about finding the tools that will help us grow, transition and adapt through the uncertainty with as much ease and self empowerment as possible. It’s time to embrace change.

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