Whether it’s the transition from youth into adulthood, switching to remote work because of the pandemic, or moving house, change is an unavoidable part of life.
But that doesn’t make it easy! In fact, many of us expend significant amounts of energy trying to avoid change at all costs because it’s so uncomfortable…
Thankfully, the impact of change doesn’t have to be as negative as you think. With a few tips, tools, and strategies to call upon, you can deal with whatever life throws at you without the usual upset. Sound good?
Read on for our best advice on how to deal with change and uncertainty.
How Can Change and Uncertainty Affect One’s Mental Health?
Change and uncertainty affect some people worse than others, but nobody gets off scot-free! And the fallout’s far from trivial.
Indeed, the general result of change is stress, which can lead to a host of horrible physical, mental, and emotional experiences – especially for people with a track record of negative thoughts and feelings.
Most notable in terms of mental health is a spike in anxiety and depression.
Yet people also report feeling more irritable than usual and dealing with higher levels of worry. Many individuals resort to negative coping strategies as well, such as abusing drugs and alcohol. Unfortunately, the depressive impact of substance misuse can, in turn, exacerbate the original issue.
Steps to Overcome Change and Build Resilience
Overcoming the stress of change is more possible than many people think. Here are 3 top tips on how to do it:
1. Understand Why It’s Hard
The first thing to appreciate is that we have an ancient brain that’s evolved over millennia to keep us safe! Hard-wired for survival, it reacts positively to anything that seems safe and secure, and negatively to anything that doesn’t.
That’s why routines are so enticing. We love what’s known and crave stability because it feels safe. In contrast, change represents danger!
In other words, it isn’t necessarily your fault that change and uncertainty are so hard to handle. So go easy on yourself, be gentle, and start focusing on solutions…
2. Practice Self-Care
Dealing with change is ten times harder when you’re tired, rundown, and lethargic. That’s why it’s so important to be diligent with your self-care. Make sure you get enough sleep each night, socialize with loved ones regularly, exercise every day, and eat a healthy, balanced diet.
This is of particular importance in the aftermath of major change too, like the death of a loved one, or the end of a relationship. Don’t ignore your feelings! Acknowledge them, be kind to yourself, and seek support from friends, family, and mental health professionals if you’re really struggling.
3. Stay Present
Our minds tend to rush to worst-case scenarios in times of change. We jump ahead, imagining all the awful eventualities that could occur, no matter how irrational they might be! Enter the value of staying present.
A natural antidote to anxiety (which is future-based), remaining in the here-and-now helps the worry subside. We can notice our thoughts and bring them under control; feel the emotions and let them move through us without judgment.
Next time you realize you’re preoccupied with the future, try to tune in with your body. Focus on your breathing, hone in on a particular sensation, and allow your mind to quieten down. All of a sudden, the change won’t feel so oppressive.
Understand the Psychology of Change
Change is inevitable. Whether it’s big or small, positive or negative, entered into voluntarily or forced upon us, it happens all the time! Unfortunately, the uncertainty of change is also hard to handle. With any luck, though, the insights in this article will help boost your resilience and deal with it a little better.