Updated: May 4, 2019
Everything changes, in fact it's the one constant thing we can expect in our lives. So why, if we are so accustom to #change, is it so stressful, and difficult to handle? Well, that's because your brain takes in information in one of two ways; #pain or #pleasure. Pain is anything that is unknown, while pleasure is anything that is known. Change is simply an unknown to us. Here are some helpful tips for handling, adapting, and accepting change.
1. Acknowledgement and Acceptance.
Now most of you might be thinking, wouldn't acceptance be one of the last steps? Nope. Acknowledgement and acceptance actually minimizes the stress involved. Doing this early on will make the entire process easier. Acknowledging the changes, and accepting that change is happening, allows you to tell yourself, "this is happening, and it is ok".
2. Take a Step Back
There are many ways to temporarily detach yourself from the experience to gain a different perspective. Writing things down is a great way to get your thoughts, and concerns out so they can be addressed. Perhaps list all the positive things that have or will come from the change. Journaling is always a fantastic way to work through your thoughts, and feelings too.
Keeping as much familiar as possible is important. Remember, what is known is pleasure. Maintaining a familiar schedule, and routine will allow your brain time to relax. If you do not currently have a daily or weekly schedule, start one by adding exercise two or even three times a week.
4. Exercise and Diet
I know, I know, this is on every de-stress, depression, anxiety, etc, list out there, but that should tell you just how important it actually is. Regular exercise and good food showers your brain with all kinds of feel good chemicals. In times of stress we tend to move towards foods that are not only easy, but high in carbs, fats, and sugars. This is a quick fix to 'feel good' but it's not sustainable, or healthy. You may even notice an increase in alcohol or other substance usage too. While fine in moderation, be mindful of abuse.
5. Be Present
Change can be overwhelming, especially when it is outside of our control. Focus only on what is within your control. Now break that down into smaller, simpler steps, so that things become much more manageable. When you take care of the small things, the big things seem to take care of themselves.
6. Don't be Afraid
We are all afraid of what we don't know, because the unknown is 'painful'. Knowing, and accepting, that change is just something new to you, will reduce that fear. Move into a place of calmness before making any important decisions. This can be done through writing, meditation, even while exercising. There is no need to rush any decision, life maybe short, but it isn't that short. You have the time you need.
Reframing is an amazing tool. This is the process of taking a negative situation, idea, or belief and turning it into a positive one. It takes practice to do this quickly and effortlessly, but once you got it, you'll be hard pressed to let yourself be down.
8. Give it Your All
Let's face it, we are not always at 100%. During times of stress and change, we may be spacy, or make more mistakes than usual. This is ok, no where does it say everyday needs to be a certain way. You are allowed to give yourself a break. If you are at 70% today, then give 70%, if you're at 50% then give 50%. Allow yourself to function at the capacity you are at, rather than forcing the capacity you may feel the need to be at.
9. Ask for Help
There are around 7 billion people on this planet, all of them experiencing changes just like you and me. There are people who know what you are going through, because they may have gone through it themselves, or something very similar. In most cases, they are closer than you could possibly imagine. You are never alone. Often people just don't know what to say, or how to ask for help. Even more so, the people you want to ask don't know what to do or say either! It is your job to tell people what it is you need. If you can clearly define what it is you need, you will put everyone at ease. Believe it or not, people actually want to be told how they can help. When people don't know what to do, or say, they feel helpless, and usually end up doing nothing. If they know what you need, they feel empowered that what they are doing is actually helping you. It's ok, support can be found all around you, you need only ask.
10. Be Like Water
Proactive is when you take steps and measures to minimize effect. Reactive is when you wait until something happens before taking steps and measures. Being adaptable means you are good at both. Proactive when you know changes are coming, and reactive when change is thrust onto you. Like water, you flow over, around, and even through these obstacles. Over time, step by step, you can break down those obstacles too. You adapt and change, freely, willingly, and happily, just like water.
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