As you look back over the year or anticipate the new one, chances are you did—or will go through–some sort of change, whether wanted or unwanted. And while the old saying “the only constant in life is change” is certainly true, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to live through. Change usually means facing the unknown, which can be particularly scary or stressful if you’ve faced a loss of some kind—whether it’s a loss of income, a home, a loved one or even your health. Most of us have a natural resistance to change and want to keep our lives on a familiar, even keel. But no matter what the event, by following a few simple strategies, you can navigate change with less stress and successfully come out the other side.
Try these tips:
Reframe your thoughts. For example, if your nearly grown child is moving out of the nest, switch from focusing on your fears or loss. Instead, think about how your child is successfully growing into adulthood, poised for exciting opportunities ahead.
Don’t succumb to the stress of change, adapt to it! If you’ve had to move to a new location, think about it as a chance to explore interesting sights and activities in your new community and expand your social circle.
Practice acceptance. Many of the changes we experience in life are out of our control. The hardest part of dealing with the loss of a loved one, for example, is being able to accept it. Acknowledge that feeling sad is normal, but keep positive memories top of mind to avoid becoming overwhelmed by grief.
Change your reaction. It’s the only part of change you can truly control! For example, if your spouse was recently laid off, rather than becoming angry about the loss of income, use the experience as a chance to re-evaluate life and affirm what matters most.
Make counting your blessings a habit. Each day, think of three things for which you are grateful. Research suggests that gratitude helps improve your mood and increases your resilience to bounce back from upsets.
Seek support. Whether it is family, friends, coworkers or a support group, having people who you can rely on and talk to helps remind you that you’re still the same worthy, capable person and you will make it through the change.
Remember, as stressful as change might seem, you can make it less difficult by strengthening your resilience, remaining optimistic, and focusing on what you can control.