Adapting To Change
One of the universal facts of life is that change is inevitable. One way or another, life is constantly throwing us for a loop, whether we become first-time parents, are offered incredible career opportunities, or experience a divorce or the death of a loved one.
In the face of unexpected change, it's not abnormal to experience anxiety from uncertainty. Thankfully, many strategies help increase our ability to adapt.
Why is adapting to change crucial?
In a highly chaotic world, learning how to adapt to change is not only a life skill but also supports a healthy mind when faced with situations we have little or no control over. These areas of personal growth are as follows:
- Stronger resilience
- More balanced emotional well being
- Increased life experience to your skill set
- Improved problem-solving capabilities
- Better self-esteem/confidence
- More opportunities in careers, relationships, etc.
- Conserving your resources
- Development of a sense of internal security; less reliance on external factors
What results from a lack of adaptability?
Opposition to change is expected, as new situations are full of unknown outcomes and what-if scenarios. However, resisting change to the point of complacency becomes counterproductive and raises its own set of challenges:
- Feeling stagnant or "stuck in a rut."
- Limited self-growth
- Diminished creativity
- Reduced opportunities, or trouble maintaining connections
Tips To Navigate Through Change Gracefully
- Give yourself enough time to process.
Remain realistic about your expectations; you're a human, not a robot. It's tough to jump from one thought process to another in an instant. When faced with change, take the time to fully process the entire picture to best asses the most appropriate course of action.
- Practice cognitive restructuring.
This habit of changing your negative thoughts is a helpful strategy to acknowledge what is out of your control.
For example, instead of saying:
- "I've lost my identity now that the relationship is over."
- "My new schedule has completely thrown my workflow off balance."
- "My pet would still be alive if I had noticed that suspicious bump sooner."
- "I now have the opportunity to explore new hobbies and reconnect with old friends."
- "Adjusting to this new schedule with help improve my time management skills."
- "I had no way to know my pet had cancer - they displayed no symptoms. And I gave them the best life possible."
- Treat yourself to self-care and mindfulness practices.
Sometimes change can be beneficial, such as receiving a promotion, moving into a better home, or welcoming a newborn. But challenging, unexpected change full of uncertainty strains our moods, energy levels, and sleep cycles. These challenges may last for weeks, even months at a time. In this case, you can take the edge off in the following ways:
- A warm bubble bath (with relaxing, soothing soap scents)
- Massage therapy
- Walks in nature
- An exercise routine
- Puzzles, arts and crafts
- Socializing, having a fun night out
- Guided meditation
- Self-reflection journaling
- Tai chi