Coping with Change
Change is inevitable in life. Whether it is change that you expect, change that is a surprise or a disappointment, or change due to events outside your control, everyone experiences its effects. Even positive changes that make you emotionally happy can cause physical stress to your body and mind, and negative changes that are emotionally painful can be even more challenging to handle. It is not in your immediate reaction to change, but in your ability to cope over time, that you can support yourself and allow transition to be an opportunity to thrive.
The following strategies can be used either as journal prompts or just as food for thought. Journaling can be a very effective way of charting your progress as you cope with change.
Accept what is.
One of the hardest parts of dealing with change is accepting it. If you find yourself having a difficult time accepting change, go easy on yourself. There are biological reasons why our brains resist change, which can feel uncomfortable or even painful, especially at first. Journaling about your feelings can help you move through them in a positive way. Validating yourself is an important part of coping with change. Accepting that you are experiencing difficulty is the first step to overcoming it.
Be honest with yourself.
Ask yourself, “How was I responsible for this change? What did I do to contribute?” Evaluate your level of control of the situation, and decide how you’d like to handle it moving forward. Rather than taking on a victim mentality and blaming things beyond your control, try to pay more attention to what you can control, especially when you are experiencing resistance to change. This will help you regain confidence and a sense of trust in your own power, which will help you give yourself credit for what you’ve done right, rather than blaming yourself for what you feel might have gone wrong.
Focus on your values.
Think about what is important to you. What are the basic values that you think matter most in life? It may help you to make a list in your journal and add to it when you come across parts of life that you realize are the most important to you. Being clear about what you value most will help you set goals that will motivate you to weather changes in a positive, productive way, so that you can get closer to reaching them.
Try to allow change to become an opportunity to move toward what you want the most. Give yourself some time and space to envision what that might be. What are your goals? Whatever it is that you don’t like about the change you’re experiencing–how can you take positive steps toward what you want more instead?
Take care of yourself.
Ground into your self care practices. Try to keep your normal sleep schedule, even if it’s not easy. Limit your use of electronic devices, your “screen time,” so that you don’t wind up staying up later than usual distracting yourself from your concerns. Don’t forget to eat healthy meals, too. It’s natural to reach for high-carb treats like pasta, bread, or sweets, which can make you feel better in the short term due to their relationship with serotonin, but might not help you feel your best in the long run. A balanced diet with plenty of green vegetables, complex rather than simple carbohydrates, and clean protein sources like baked chicken or fish can go a long way toward supporting you as you show up for yourself and cope with change in a way that ultimately leads to growth and fulfillment.
If you have tried implementing these strategies on your own and find that you need help, don’t hesitate to contact Chenal Family Therapy. One of our skilled mental health professionals will work with you to strengthen your coping mechanisms so that you can not only survive in the face of change, but also thrive.
For scheduling with Chenal Family Therapy please reach out to our scheduling team 501-781-2230.