‘It seldom happens that a man changes his life through his habitual reasoning. No matter how fully he may sense the new plans and aims revealed to him by reason, he continues to plod along in old paths until his life becomes frustrating and unbearable – he finally makes the change only when his usual life can no longer be tolerated.’

Leo Tolstoy

Overview

Embracing change with an open and positive mind is essential if you want to be able to cope better with the demands and challenges of everyday living. You can be absolutely certain that there will be some degree of change in your life at some point. It is inevitable. You can’t stop it! You can’t even slow it down or delay it. What you can do, however, with a little knowledge, skill and effort, is learn how to deal with it. Learning how to consciously direct the changes in your life towards something more positive is most definitely a very important life skill.

It is now quite common for people to change jobs several times. There are those who think nothing of relocating, not only within their own country but also internationally, taking their entire families along with them. It is also now quite common for people to be married more than once and have more than one family.

Never before have so many people needed to deal with so many life changing decisions, in so many different areas of their lives, on such a consistent and accelerating basis. Indeed, one of the great challenges of our time is the ability to cope with change. As Charles Darwin observed, the ability to be adaptable is indeed the key to survival!

At times, life changes may be only minor. However on some occasions, they could have a major impact on your life. A huge amount of upheaval may well cause anxiety, especially if you don’t fully understand why the change is happening.

You will feel much better about the changes that you know or believe are going to make you better off in some way. It is the changes that you are uncertain of, or believe may be detrimental that you will get most anxious about. It is important to remember that even in the most adverse situations, there will always be some kind of positive outcome; you may just need to dig deep to find out what it is!

‘Be the change you want the world to be.
Mahatma Ghandi

Steps to success

  • Understand why the change is happening
  • Actively seek out the opportunities that arise from change
  • Be positive and open minded
  • Understand your emotions surrounding change
  • Take responsibility for your reactions
  • Keep calm and carry on

Change: Ten Tips

1. Embrace change

In avoiding change, you are wasting precious time being unhappy when you could turn your life around simply by embracing that change instead.

2. Be open-minded

Your mind is like a parachute – it works best when it is open! Sometimes you may find yourself dragging the baggage of the past into your present, and superimposing it on to situations without being open-minded and taking a fresh perspective. People who resist change often say ‘Well I tried that before and it didn’t work’. Every situation is different and just because something didn’t work last time it doesn’t mean it won’t work this time.

3. Prepare your emotions

Accept the fact that you may be emotional during the change process. In the face of change you may feel unhappy, fearful, insecure, unsettled, frustrated. On the flip side, however, you may feel enthusiastic, elated, delighted and excited. Any of those emotions will have an impact on your energy levels, so it is really important to prepare yourself for this.

4. Relax & go with the flow

Sometimes change occurs and you have absolutely no control over it. When this happens you have to choose how you are going to respond. If you resist change and remain rigid and inflexible it will be a lot more difficult and possibly even painful. So going with the flow is sometimes the best approach.

5. Be Positive

Cultivate a positive attitude and mindset towards change. If you face a change situation believing that it is negative, you are more likely to experience negative outcomes. Whilst it is important to understand some of the risks and pitfalls involved, it is also important to focus on positive outcomes.

6. Keep calm & carry on

This Second World War platitude is very apt. Some people panic when a change occurs because it totally destabilises their world.
If change is happening to you and it’s quite big, keep up as many familiar activities as you can as a reminder of how much there is in your life that isn’t changing. Stick to your usual routines, see people you normally see, and reassure yourself that not everything has to change just because some things have.

7. Get support

You don’t need to try to cope alone or keep your feelings to yourself. This can actually be very unhelpful – repressing emotion can cause stress. Being brave doesn’t really win you any awards these days and will always result in you managing your issues alone. Although seeking support may mean finding the courage to ask for help, a supportive friend can be the very best tonic and will probably also help you find another perspective.

8. Challenge perspective

Sometimes the way you view a situation can be very narrow because you perceive it through your own filter and benchmark it against your previous experiences. It is important to carefully examine the situation from all angles. Be careful not to get yourself stuck in a one-way street with your thinking. There are always alternative approaches and perspectives.

9. Chunk up change

If you are dealing with a big change, try to divide this into smaller steps where possible. For instance, a house move, a wedding or a divorce will involve several stages. When you feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the change, concentrate on the step you’ve reached and what you’ve already achieved, rather than trying to take in the bigger picture all at once.

10. Make a plan

Change can overwhelm you, especially when your mind races and you start to imagine all sorts of things that could happen. You may begin to catastrophise and before you know it, you will feel completely out of control. A good way to gain control and settle your mind is to make a plan of what you are going to do.

Menu