Dealing with Major Life Changes – 8 Practical Strategies

By Sharon Moore on October 23, 2013

They say nothing is constant in this world but change. In life, changes are inevitable. You will meet new people, you will lose some. You will grow old and there will be things you won’t be able to do anymore. You will achieve new accomplishments, but you will also encounter failures. All these changes, big or small, can have a dramatic impact on your life, health and well-being.

Dealing with major changes in life is not easy, but there are ways to stay intact and strong. Whilst these changes can make you feel anxious, uneasy, or depressed, they also provide opportunities for growth and personal development. Whether you’re moving to a new place, leaving for college, shifting career, or experiencing a divorce, here are tips and insights that you might find useful.

Accept it. When dealing with a negative transition like a divorce, an accident, or a chronic illness, one of the most usual responses of people is to deny such change. Whilst it can be difficult, the best way to deal with major changes in life is to face them and acknowledge the fact that they are happening. Instead of staying with what you have left behind, focus on getting through the transition and be hopeful about a better, brighter tomorrow. But in order to do that, you have to accept first that your life would never be the same again.

Let the pain linger. You won’t be able to accept the change if you are afraid to experience pain. It is perfectly fine to be emotional in times like this. You are not a superhuman. You are fragile and vulnerable to pain, just like everyone else. Cry if you want and pity yourself. Allow yourself to feel the anger, frustration, disappointment, regret and all those negative emotions, but only for a short period of time. If you spend more time on them, you won’t be able to adapt with the change. Remember, your goal is to move on. Let the pain linger, but only for a while.

Understand that change is part of life. Sometimes, when we are going through difficult changes, we think that we are dealing with something that no one can ever understand. We tend to think we are very unfortunate to have experienced difficulties. But again, change is inevitable. Every day, millions of people around the world deal with change. It is also difficult for them. Knowing that you are not alone in this battle can give you strength and hope that just like the others, you too can efficiently deal with it.

Know you can always adapt. We, humans, have an amazing ability to adapt. Our brain is flexible enough to help us deal with challenges in life.  You may have seen people with disabilities being able to do things like healthy, completely able people would. You may have known people who were able to find a new love after a major divorce or breakup. You may feel so helpless now. But it’s going to be temporary. Over time, the pain will subside.

Find time to reflect. Changes offer us opportunities to discover ourselves even further and improve our ways. Whether it’s writing about your feelings, taking long walks on your own, meditating, or talking to a therapist – find time for self-reflection. It can help you determine the root cause of your worries or fears, and help you come up with solutions to your problems. Self-refection allows you to recognise unhelpful emotions from the helpful ones, and be able to think more clearly and deal with the situation in the best possible way.

Take things one at a time. When dealing with major changes, even the smallest issues like the clutter in your house can feel overwhelming. It can be helpful to be more organised. Plan ahead. List down what you need to accomplish for a particular day and allocate enough time for them. Set small, achievable goals. Accomplishments, no matter how small they are, can boost your confidence and self-esteem, which in turn help you deal with changes better.

Find someone to talk to. Talking to a friend, a family member or someone who had gone through a similar life transition you are going through today is really helpful. If you don’t know of anyone, consider joining a support group or talking to a professional therapist. These people can give you advice on dealing with change.

Think positive! Believe that every change has something beneficial to bring to your life. Try not to focus your attention to the negative side, but to the opportunities change could provide you. Being optimist can do you a long way.

Changes – positive or negative – are part of life. When the change you’re going through is causing you too much pain and distress, follow these tips. And remember the line from famous song, “It will all get better in time”.

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