Whether for good or for bad, our lives are filled with change that we can’t control. Sometimes these changes are beneficial; sometimes they are not.
Recently, millions of people have experienced mostly negative changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly all aspects of their lives have been affected. Many have had incredible changes thrust upon them as a result of the pandemic: loved ones lost and jobs lost, to name a few.
How do you feel you handle change? Does it overwhelm you and create stress?
Even if it does, there are steps you can take to better manage your response to it. With practice, you can even find that change often brings personal growth and greater resiliency.
Actively Practice Stress Management
Times of change nearly always create stress. So, you’ve probably heard a lot about stress management techniques lately. They can include mindfulness, breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, physical exercise, and more.
If you take the time to actually use some of these techniques, you’ll find that you’re able to better control your emotional responses. The key is to practice them beforehand so that when stress shows up, you are prepared and can fall back on what you’ve rehearsed.
Learn to Release Control
Learning to recognize and admit that you have no control over certain aspects of life takes practice. It’s not easy. But it can be enormously freeing.
It allows you to direct your energy toward what you can control and stop wasting time trying to control what you can’t. And there’s always going to be change that you don’t see coming. This habit offers benefits in many aspects of life.
Look for the Good
Intentionally looking for the good in your life can go a long way toward navigating change and stress. Even when unwanted, inevitable changes come, there is always something good to appreciate.
Start by spending some time reflecting on what you’re thankful for and enjoy in your life, no matter how small it may seem. You can do this mentally or put it down in writing. Either way, you’ll warm your heart and find a boost of positivity.
Stick to Positive Routines
People need structure and healthy routines when changes turn their lives upside down. These things provide touchpoints to keep you grounded in familiarity during times of stress.
So, even when you’re going through change (whether good or bad), try to hold onto the routines you need to care for yourself and manage your daily activities. It will help you move forward, despite that you may feel like you’re dragging through mud right now.
Cultivate Healthy Relationships and Community
Leaning on friends, family, and community is an incredibly helpful way to respond to change. It offers emotional support and a place to share what you’re going through.
Not only will you build relationships and find encouragement, but it can help you grow. And you may find points of connection with others that you never thought you had.
Keep Your Finger on Your Emotional Pulse
Going through change can be tumultuous. You may be so distracted and overwhelmed by the situation that you lose touch with how you’re really feeling. Take the time to pause, breathe, and examine your emotions. Pay attention to signs that tell you you’re feeling anxious, lonely, or depressed. And tune into what your body is trying to tell you.
Once you’ve taken your emotional pulse, do something to address how you’re feeling. Call a friend, practice breathing techniques, or watch a funny movie. Knowing what you’re feeling is a start, but you need to take action to help you find calm too.
Reframe Your Thoughts
With so many things in life, much of your response to change will be determined by the way in which you think about the situation. If you’re prone to seeing things in a negative light, you can find yourself getting dragged down into pessimism.
Take a lesson from talk therapy and practice challenging the negative thoughts you have. Are they really true? Then, replace them with something more positive. Over time, this habit can really pay off.
Life is going to throw many inevitable changes at you. That’s unavoidable. But it’s possible to learn how to handle them and uncover hidden sources of growth.
If you’re going through a tough season of change right now, counseling offers an additional source of support to help you get to the other side. I’d love to talk with you about how we can find the right way forward for you. Please, feel free to contact me.