6 Steps to Adapting to Change
Transitions can be exciting: A move to another country, a job with more responsibility, the birth of a child, marriage to someone you love, a new puppy, a new house – the list is endless. All of these can be happy and fulfilling changes. But with every change, we can also sometimes feel overwhelmed, depressed, or hopeless.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
How can we cope with change? First of all, acknowledge your feelings. Even with happy changes, such as the ones mentioned above, there is also a loss, and it is not unusual to feel depressed or anxious over the change. Angie was excited about marrying the love of her life and couldn’t wait to get started with their married life – so why is she feeling anxious and a little hesitant? Judy wanted to be a mother from the time she was three, but now that she’s pregnant she is worrying about her ability to be a good mother.
Change Means Moving into the Unknown
Transition means leaving behind something that we know and moving toward the unknown. Even if the known wasn’t ideal, it was something known and understood. John was forced to sell his home and move in with his parents because of a job loss. He was upset at his boss and blamed him for downsizing the company, and for the fact that he had to live with his parents. Yet John had always wanted to become his own boss and do something he loved, so this change might also be a positive one for him, if he can stop dwelling on the past.
Try to prepare for the change. Do your homework if you are moving to another town, have some premarital counseling, or take parenting or mother-and-baby classes.
Your Reactions to Change
Remember that even if you have no control over the change around you, you can have control over your reactions to it. Preparation is key. Pretending that something is not happening will not prevent it from happening. So it is important to recognize the change, whether you want it or not. Ask yourself: “What can I do about it?” and “How do I want to feel about it?”
Stop worrying. Although this is easier said than done, worry only fosters fear and will keep you from seeing yourself successful. Talking to others who have gone through the same things can help. A trained professional can also help you to interpret your fears and work toward seeing yourself in a new role.
Learn to Relax
Try to relax – learn some mindfulness skills, or practice some relaxation exercises. One of the more fun ways to relax into mindfulness is to color. There are all kinds of coloring books for adults available now, and there may just be one for you.
Exercise can help – any type. You can take the dog for a walk, go swimming, go to the gym, rollerblade, or ski – just think about what gives you enjoyment and start doing it.
Don’t Blame Others for Change
If the transition involved something that you didn’t want, try to stop blaming others for it. The more positive your outlook, the better you will feel and the more you will be able to cope with things. If you find this difficult, consider seeking counseling. A therapist can help.
Christian Counseling to Cope with Change
As a Christian counselor, I am here to help you with the difficulties you face.