No matter who you are, change can bring on stress, anxiety, and negative thinking. The only problem is that life is full of change. Nothing is fixed, and we will have more change in our lives than we know. Therefore, it is essential to learn how to cope and manage ourselves during these times.
Change can sometimes come in the form of a job or a move; these changes can feel nerve-wracking as well as exciting. On the other hand, changes like breakups or deaths cause grief and stress. No matter how change looks, we must find ways to cope and manage our situations.
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Find your Priorities
When we are going through transition and change, it is essential to base our decisions on our goals and priorities in our lives. This way, the changes that we make become opportunities instead of scary situations.
We must decide whether a change will help us gain what we need to obtain our goals in these moments. Is moving going to offer a better standard of living, is staying with someone who at the end of the day simply mistreats me in my best interests, or can facing our grief going to help us to grow emotionally?
When you focus on your goals, whether health, family, or work, the experience of change feels purposeful and helps guide you through the difficult days of uncertainty and the unknown.
It’s like building a sort of framework or frame of reference that lets you make choices on the basis of what matters most to you and loved ones. As you are going through this, you can map out your experience writing down your goals, what the catalyst is for this change and coping mechanisms that you will use to help you along. This map will aid you on days that you might need extra support.
Change can be more challenging for some people, depending on personality, upbringing, mindset or even personal circumstances. Here we discuss factors that impact how we navigate transition as well as what to do about it. As you continue reading, think of how this relates to you and the tools that would best suit you.
How much control do you need? Evaluate your threshold
Do you find it difficult not to have full control of a situation? If things change in the moment, are you able to adapt and pivot your reaction? These are essential questions to ask yourself. How much need for control will dictate the way that you make important decisions or react to change?
People that are more flexible or who can exercise a more relaxed approach will naturally have an easier time with change. Being flexible may not be a natural state of being for you, but there is a lot that you can do to train and work at having a more relaxed approach to life.
The best place to start is to consider what you can be responsible for and acknowledge what you do not control. Once you can own a part of the situation or problem, you can work towards tangible goals.
Check your thoughts and the way that they appear
Our thoughts create the landscape for our minds. If we have tendencies to loop in negative thinking and always tie our thoughts back into the “what ifs….” Then it is vital to find ways of breaking that cycle. The saying that perception is reality may ring true in some cases but there is a difference between perception and reality and it is wise to acknowledge this(for example someone might perceive an offhanded remark to be said, only to find out that it was said ironically, sarcastically or as a joke). Our perceptions guide us – how can we use this to our advantage instead of letting it hamper us?
Perhaps you are a deep thinker and spend a lot of time ruminating about what you should have done, or how if things had been just a little bit different, then everything would have worked out. You play all the other options that you could have had. The only problem is that we cannot live in the past, so it is important to learn coping mechanisms for being present and letting go.
Here are a few recommendations of how you can train your mindscape to be more present, accept the past, and feel hopeful for the future.
– Practice being “present”. Use the mindfulness Grounding Technique 5,4,3,2, 1 with your senses to remind you of where you are and what you are doing.
– Connect to nature. Scheduling time outside walking, gardening, exercising will offer a full senses experience to get your mind out of the loop.
– Create a morning routine and include a body scan. This practice walks you through scanning your body for tension and stressors while lying down and working through those tensions before starting your day.
– If you think that you should have said something when you were last with your friends, or at a work meeting, but didn’t that’s okay. Take note and know that you will be prepared the next time – in short don’t brood since this may just force you to think or act unproductively, or even detrimentally. Always step back and think of the big picture where you are up aerially looking downwards seeing this as just one spot or segment in your overall vast life. Changing perspective can often save friendships, jobs and other important aspects of your life – if you do it right.
What Positive Thinking can accomplish
There can be many unknowns during transitions and change, so we naturally tend to focus on the negative. Instead, these moments are an opportunity for us to self-reflect on our strengths.
Journaling is a wonderful outlet to express thoughts and learn about ourselves. Putting pen to paper is a great exercise when we are feeling vulnerable and experiencing fear of the unknown. Make a list of all the ways you have shown strength and have been capable in times of change.
Once you have written your list, you can also ask friends and family what helps them get through difficult times; you can include other’s thoughts and reflections. This brainstorming exercise can offer you different perspectives.
Once your list is complete, you have proof and knowledge of your tools and potential to get through change and transition no matter how big or small.
What can being more flexible offer us?
People who are flexible and adaptable can deal with change a lot better than those who are rigid thinkers. Although it can seem like we are born one way or another, this is not true. We can all work towards changing and evolving rigid thinking.
Seeing ourselves in different circumstances and still being happy and prosperous is the key to trusting that change can be a positive experience. This requires that we believe that we can be flexible and do different things, unknown things in some cases.
Here are a few things that you can do to practice being flexible.
– Practice flexible actions: Are you always the one that makes dinner plans? Can you pick a day of the month and leave it to the rest of your family to choose the rest? Are you always the one that sets out the agenda at the office? Could you offer that opportunity to a colleague? These small gestures start to teach your mind that there is room for “difference” in regular activities.
– Look at the bigger picture: If you have a goal in mind, don’t let the details get in the way of your outcome. Showing grace and suspending judgment on relatives that are helping you move to aid in a better experience. Once you are home, you can close the door and have your space.
– Identify places that you can compromise: Try to spend some time observing yourself and identify areas where you have tension in decision making and feel or act rigidly. Why do you work like that? Try to get to the bottom of that feeling? Are you insecure, scared? Need to feel powerful? Once you can figure that out, you can start to work on that underlying feeling to resolve what you are missing.
Show up for yourself.
It is essential to offer yourself plenty of space to experience a full range of feelings during transitions and loss. If you are experiencing grief or loss, do not push it aside. Instead, acknowledge what you are going through.
Sometimes it can be challenging to know what to do with such intense feelings, and it is helpful to seek support in these moments either from friends and family or a life coach or therapist. Here are a few other recommendations that may help to get you through the feelings of change:
– Develop a schedule. No matter how big or small, having a few routines that you can count on will offer you a sense of ownership over your life and predictability, which reduces chronic stress.
– Don’t take on extra projects or responsibilities during these moments. It is important to set healthy boundaries and let your friends, family, and co-workers know that you are unavailable in the short term.
– Take time to do something that brings you joy. Whether that is having a bath at night, getting takeout, reading a book, or connecting with friends. Including happy feelings into your life will reduce stress toxins and promote happy hormones like endorphins.
– Priorities rest. Moments of transition and change take up a lot of emotional energy and can quickly deplete our emotional tank. Emotional exhaustion can go unnoticed and turn into chronic fatigue. Resting does not have to mean sleeping, and it can be sitting in quiet, lying down to read a book.
Change and transitions are, without a doubt, sticking points for us all, although we are filled with them. If we can start to accept and work through these moments, we can certainly get better at adapting to different circumstances and finding joy in all of life’s adventures. Also know that those around you, your loved ones, friends and co-workers are also all going through some level of change pretty much constantly as well – and so if you do perceive something that seems or looks a bit off to you, think again.
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