How to cope with life altering changes

How to cope with life altering changes

Life changes are constant. Whether it’s in the workplace or our relationships, nothing in life ever remains the same for long.

Regardless of the gravity of change, it can always be a little scary. So scary, in fact, that some people are downright crippled by the idea of it, causing them to remain stagnant through anxiety.

Have you ever noticed how much of life’s transitional periods are riddled with anxious vibes? The quarter life crisis, the mid-life crisis, cold feet before getting married, retirement anxiety, and teenage angst are just a few examples of transitional periods when people tend to panic.

We can’t control every aspect of our lives, and we can’t stop change from happening. However, how we respond to change will greatly affect our overall life experience.

Here are 4 ways you can approach life changes in a positive way.

1. Don’t Fight It

I once heard one of my favorite yoga instructors say “Suffering is what occurs when we resist what is already happening.” The lesson has stuck with me ever since.

Life changes are usually out of our control. Rather than trying to manipulate the situation and wishing things were different, try flowing with it instead.

Of course, some initial resistance is natural if we’re going into survival mode. Just make sure you are conscious of when this resistance is no longer serving you.

If you’re feeling anxious about impending life changes, it’s time to practice some techniques to address the anxiety directly. These can include meditation, exercise, talking with friends about how you’re feeling, or journaling.

If you’re worried about a big life change, such as starting a new job [1] or moving in with your partner, do your best to control your expectations. It may help you to talk with people you know about their experiences going through similar changes. This will help you form a realistic picture in your mind of what things will look like post-change.

2. Find Healthy Ways to Deal With Feelings

Whenever we’re in transitional periods, it can be easy to lose track of ourselves. Sometimes we feel like we’re being tossed about by life and like we’ve lost our footing, causing some very uncomfortable feelings to arise.

One way we can channel these feelings is by finding healthy ways to release them. For instance, whenever I find myself in a difficult transitional phase, I end up in a mixed martial arts studio.

The physical activity helps me channel my emotions and release endorphins. It also helps me get in shape, which generally increases my mood and energy levels.

Exercise is important in cultivating positive emotions, but if you’re struggling with anxiety in particular, it’s important to cultivate a regular exercise routine as opposed to a one-off workout. One study found that “Aerobic exercise can promote increase in anxiety acutely and regular aerobic exercise promotes reduction in anxiety levels” [2] .

If exercise isn’t your thing, there are other, less intense ways of cultivating positive emotions and reducing anxiety around life changes. You can try stretching, meditating, reading in nature, spending time with family and friends, or cooking a healthy meal.

Find what makes you feel good and helps you ground yourself in the present moment.

3. Reframe Your Perspective

Reframing perspectives is a very powerful tool used in life coaching. It helps clients take a situation they are struggling with, such as a major life change, and find some sort of empowerment in it.

Some examples of disempowered thinking during life changes include casting blame, focusing on negative details, or victimizing [3] . These perspectives can make awkward transitional phases much worse than they have to be.

Meanwhile, if we utilize a more positive perspective, such as finding a lesson in the situation, realizing that there may be an opportunity for something, or that everything passes, we can come from a greater place of ease.

4. Find Time for Self-Reflection

Having time to reflect is important at any stage in your life, but it’s especially important during transitional periods. It’s quite simple really: we need our time to step back and get centered when things get a little crazy.

As a result, big life changes are perfect for doing some self-reflection. They are opportunities to check in with ourselves and practice getting grounded for a few minutes.

Take a look at this reflective cycle adapted from Glibb’s Self-reflection guide (1988): [4]

How to cope with life altering changes

Self-reflective exercises include meditating, yoga or journaling, [5] all of which require some quiet time to get yourself together.

One study found that journal improves “self-efficacy, locus of control, and learning” [6] . A healthy sense of self-control can make the process of change easier to bear, so that in itself is a great reason to try self-reflection through journaling.

To learn how to start journaling, you can check out this article.

Final Thoughts

Big life changes may rock us for a little while, but they don’t have to be as bad as we initially perceive them. If handled in a positive manner, transitional periods can pave the way for some serious self-growth, reflection, and awareness.

Cultivate a sense of positivity and find ways to diminish the anxiety around life changes. Once you make it to the other side, you’ll be grateful that you made it through in the best way possible.

How to cope with life altering changes

Adjusting to change can be difficult, as even positive life transitions tend to cause some stress. Over the course of a lifetime, a person can expect to experience a significant amount of change. Some of these changes, such as marriages, births, and new jobs, are generally positive, although they may be accompanied by their own unique stressors. Other major life transitions, such as moving, retirement, or entering the “empty nest” phase of life may cause a significant amount of stress.

Those who find themselves experiencing difficulty coping with life transitions may find it helpful to speak to a therapist in order to become better able to adjust to changes they cannot control.

How Can Change Be Beneficial?

Certain changes, such as entering school, starting a new job, or starting a family, can often be exciting, even when they cause some amount of stress, because they are generally considered to be positive changes. Many people look forward to obtaining a degree, rising in their chosen field, or having a home and family.

Find a Therapist

Change can encourage the development of skills or knowledge, and might also bring about greater awareness of a condition or group. For example, the family of a person diagnosed with schizophrenia might become more aware of severe mental health conditions and their effects. Or the parents of a child who comes out as gay might become interested in LGBTQIA issues and equal rights and work to increase awareness. Change can also make clear what is important in one's life and allow for greater self-discovery and self-awareness.

The Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory

In 1967, Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe developed a social readjustment rating scale that was designed to roughly approximate a person’s likelihood of future illness based on his or her stress level. The scale is a list of common stressful events, both positive and negative, all of which are assigned a numerical value of “life-changing units.” For example, marriage, the basis for comparison, was assigned 50 life-changing units. Some other events on the scale include the death of a spouse, which has a value of 100 life-changing units, being fired (47), and revision of personal habits (24).

The scale was developed and validated by male subjects, but data from both male and female subjects in cross-cultural populations has provided fairly useful results and has shown correlations between stressful events and health concerns such as heart attacks, pregnancy complications, diabetes, and broken bones, as well as non-medical difficulties such as poor performance in school or work.

Because responses to stress can vary greatly between individuals, the scale is meant to be only an estimation of the ways that stress can affect life, not a predicting tool.

Coping with Change

How to cope with life altering changes

Because change can cause stress, it can have an effect on one's daily life. A person facing a big change might, for example, experience depression, anxiety, or fatigue; have headaches; develop trouble sleeping or eating well; or abuse drugs and alcohol. Persistent symptoms of stress might improve with treatment in therapy, but an individual may also be able to prevent some of these symptoms by:

  • Researching an upcoming change. Often, stress can develop out of fear of what is unknown. When one is well-informed about a change, it may be easier to face.
  • Attending to one's physical and mental health. Being healthy in mind and body may make it easier to cope with changes in life. Sleeping well, exercising, and eating nutritional foods regularly may all be beneficial in improving both physical and mental health.
  • Taking time to relax. Remaining calm in spite of stress may be easier when one's life is well-adjusted and includes time for leisure as well as work.
  • Limiting change. It may be helpful to avoid making a large change immediately after another change. Generally, adjusting to a change takes some time, and making multiple changes at once, even smaller ones, may not allow enough time for an adequate adjustment period, which can cause stress.
  • Discussing any difficulties adapting with another person. Family members may be able to help one adjust to change, but professional help may also benefit those experiencing difficulty or stress as a result of life changes.

Adjustment Disorder

A diagnosis of adjustment disorder can occur when a major life stress or change disrupts normal coping mechanisms and makes it difficult or impossible for a person to cope with new circumstances. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, symptoms of this condition tend to begin within three months of the stress or change and often include a depressed or anxious mood, changes in daily habits, feelings of overwhelming stress and panic, difficulty enjoying activities, and changes in sleeping or eating. For example, a man whose wife died suddenly might become anxious and panicked as he tries to cope with his new situation, finding it difficult to go on his typical daily walks or prepare meals.

This condition may also lead an individual to engage in reckless or dangerous behavior, avoid family and friends, or have thoughts of suicide. A diagnosed adjustment disorder generally indicates that a person is experiencing more emotional turmoil than others facing the same situation might experience. For example, a young woman who cries frequently after the death of her mother is likely experiencing distress typical to the major life change she has experienced, but a man who quits his job and stops speaking to his children after the death of his wife might be experiencing a significant amount of difficulty adjusting to his changed situation.

Therapy for Change

There is no particular treatment for adjusting to change, but several different tactics may be helpful. Talking about changes in life with a therapist, such as a marriage, the death of a family member, the loss of a job, or the approach of middle age, can be helpful to some. Any type of therapy is likely to be well suited to helping a person cope with dramatic changes in life.

When life changes prove difficult and lead to stress, anxiety, or depression, a therapist can also help treat those issues and help one explore coping strategies. When people know that they do not cope well with change, speaking with a therapist before any significant changes in life occur may be warranted. In this way, one can prepare for changes and become better able to face them in the future, even without prior knowledge of potential changes.

Support groups and group therapy sessions also might benefit some individuals who have experienced a particular type of change, such as a life-altering illness or disability or a divorce.

Change is inevitable. Here's how to come out of it a better person.

How to cope with life altering changes

The one constant in life is change. That doesn’t mean we ever get used to it or fully embrace it, though.

Here are 10 tips for coping with big changes in your life and coming out a better person for it.

1. Acknowledge that things are changing.

Sometimes we get so caught up in fighting change that we put off actually dealing with it. Denial is a powerful force, and it protects us in many ways. However, stepping outside of it and saying to yourself, “Things are changing, and it is okay” can be less stressful than putting it off.

2. Realize that even good change can cause stress.

Sometimes when people go through a positive life change, such as graduating or having a baby, they still feel a great deal of stress—or even dread. Keep in mind that positive change can create stress just like not-so-positive change. Stress is just your body’s way of reacting to change. It’s okay to feel stressed even when something good has happened—in fact, it’s normal. (If you’ve just had a baby, talk to your doctor about whether you may be experiencing postpartum depression.)

3. Keep up your regular schedule as much as possible.

The more change that is happening, the more important it is to stick to your regular schedule—as much as possible. Having some things that stay the same, like walking the dog every morning at 8 am, gives us an anchor. An anchor is a reminder that some things are still the same, and it gives your brain a little bit of a rest. Sometimes when you are going through a lot of change it helps to write down your routine and check it off as you go. It’s one less thing for your brain to have to hold inside.

4. Try to eat as healthily as possible.

When change happens, a lot of us tend to reach for carbs—bread, muffins, cake, etc. This may be because eating carbs boosts serotonin—a brain chemical that may be somewhat depleted when you undergo change (stress). It’s okay to soothe yourself with comfort foods—in moderation. One way to track what you are eating is to write it down. You can either do this in a notebook or use an app. When you see what you are eating, it makes you take a step back and think about whether you want to eat that second muffin or not. (If you have a history of eating disorders, it is not recommended that you write down what you are eating.) Also notice if you are exepriencing an increased use of alcohol or other substances; your use can sneak up on you when you are under stress.

5. Exercise.

Keeping up regular exercise could be a part of the “keep up your regular schedule” tip. If exercise is not currently part of your routine, try adding it. Exercising two to three times a week has been found to significantly decrease symptoms of depression (Barclay, et al. 2014.) Even just walking around the block can help you feel better. (Check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.) Remember, you don’t have to feel like getting some exercise; just get out there and move. You’ll find that many times your motivation will kick in while you are active.

6. Seek support.

No one gets through life alone. It is okay to ask for help; that’s a sign that you know yourself well enough to realize you need some assistance. Think of your trusted friends or family members. Chances are that they are happy to help if you need them to watch your kids while you run some errands, or if you just need some alone time. There may a neighbor who has asked you for help in the past—now maybe you can ask them for help. Apps like NextDoor have been helpful for connecting neighbors. If you are thinking about hurting yourself or killing yourself, please contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline online or at 1-800-273-8255.

7. Write down the positives that have come from this change.

Maybe due to this change in your life you have met new people. Maybe you started practicing healthier habits. Maybe you became more politically active. Maybe you became more assertive. Maybe the change helped you prioritize what is most important in your life. Change presents us with the opportunity to grow, and it’s important to acknowledge how things have become better as a result.

8. Get proactive.

Being proactive means taking charge and working preventatively. This means you figure out what steps you need to take before something happens. Being reactive means you wait until something has happened and then you take action. Being proactive means you make an appointment with your doctor for a physical because you know something stressful is coming up and you want to make sure you are in good health. It means becoming active with groups that help you realize that you can make a positive impact on the world.

9. Vent, but to a point.

Having a support group to whom you can vent can be helpful—to a point. If you and your support group are solely venting, that feeling of frustration can be contagious. Try gearing the conversation toward action: What can you do to make things better? When people brainstorm together, their creativity and hopefulness can be contagious as well.

10. Back away from social media.

When you go through change, you may gravitate toward social media—maybe posting to your friends on Facebook what is going on in your life. First, make sure you are in a calm state when you post—and keep in mind that whatever you post never really disappears. Also, if you are comparing your life to your friends’ lives on social media, remember that most people post only the “highlight reel” of their lives, not the stressful moments. This can give you a skewed view that everyone else’s lives are going just fine. Everyone has battles they are fighting; it’s just different battles with different people. Step away from social media if you are starting to compare your life to others.

And finally, give yourself a break. In a time of change, you may feel a little out of control. You may feel like you are not living up to your expectations for yourself. Remember that you are allowed to do less than what is humanly possible. Nothing says you have to function at 100 percent all the time. People make mistakes—it’s one of the great things about being human. It’s learning from the mistakes that really counts. Think about it like this: There are no mistakes, only good stories for later. Make a point to incorporate more laughter and fun into your life. Laughing increases dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins—and that makes you feel good (Yim, 2016). Laughing also decreases cortisol—a stress-producing hormone (Yim, 2016.)

Barclay, T. H., Richards, S., Schoffstall, J., Magnuson, C., McPhee, C., Price, J., . & Price, J. (2014). A pilot study on the effects of exercise on depression symptoms using levels of neurotransmitters and EEG as markers. European Journal of Psychology and Educational Studies, 1(1), 30.

Yim, J. (2016). Therapeutic Benefits of Laughter in Mental Health: A Theoretical Review. The Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine, 239(3), 243-249.

There’s been lots of change due to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which can be stressful or scary to deal with. It might feel like as soon as you get used to one thing (e.g. studying at home), things change again. If you’re feeling uneasy about returning to school (or any other change), here are some things you can do to make coping a bit easier.

This can help if:

  • you’re finding it hard to cope with change
  • you resist change
  • you’re feeling out of control and overwhelmed.

How to cope with life altering changes

1. Think things through and ask, ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’

We’re often scared of change because we’re afraid of the unknown. And a good way to deal with the unknown is to think things through carefully. Imagine all of the different possible outcomes, and then decide what would be your best- and worst-case scenarios. Write them down, if it helps. Another great strategy is to think about the last time you were faced with a big change and got through it okay. Remember how scary it was starting high school or learning to drive? Sometimes it’s not as bad as it seems at first, and may just take a little time to get used to.

2. Ask yourself how much you can control

When a big change occurs, it’s important to figure out how much control over the situation you really have. Understanding your role and how much you can change can help you put things in perspective. For example, if you’ve just moved out of home, there are many small things you can do to make the process easier. Make a to-do list and check each item off when you complete it.

3. Accept and reframe

If the unwanted change is beyond your control, try taking a reflective approach. Accepting that there are things beyond your control, and choosing to be comfortable with that fact, is likely to bring greater peace of mind than waging an unwinnable war. View change as an opportunity to learn and grow, rather than as a setback, even if you have to fake it til you make it!

4. Celebrate the positives

Even though it can be a tough ask, focusing on the positives can really help you manage change. While the positive aspects of a situation might not be obvious to begin with, it’s worth seeking them out – no matter how small they might be. For example, if you’ve moved recently, you might be away from your friends, but it’s also a great way to learn how to be more independent. Try to make the best of the situation. You can still call and write to those friends, and plan to visit them!

5. Take action

If the unwanted change is within your control, take an active approach to dealing with it. Try some problem-solving techniques, or set some goals to proactively address any challenges. Focusing on the problem at hand, developing a plan of action, and asking for advice are useful active strategies.

6. Manage your stress

Improving your ability to handle stress will go a long way to helping you deal with change. Try practising mindfulness or meditation, or engaging in other relaxation techniques. See more tips on how to deal with stress here.

7. Seek support

It’s perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed if the change you’re facing is really big, or there’s too much change happening all at once. This is when it might be best to seek support. Consider asking friends or family for help or emotional support. Even a phone/video call or chatting online can help you feel connected to your loved ones.

Or you can look at some options for getting professional help. Whether you’re coping with a Game of Thrones season ending or dealing with something more serious, there are always others in similar situations and professionals available to help.

Telephone and online support is a great way to access help for free. Some of these include:

  • Lifeline (13 11 14) has 24/7 phone and online support.
  • Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) has 24/7 phone and online support for young people aged 5 to 25. has free online and phone support for young people aged 12 to 25.
  • Online forums, like the ReachOut Forums, are a great way to anonymously connect with others.
  • If you can’t get a face-to-face appointment, you could ask your health professional if you can have a session over FaceTime/Skype/Zoom.

What can I do now?

  • Head to the ReachOut Forums and join the discussion about turning negatives to positives.
  • Try to identify and acknowledge a positive element of your recent change.
  • Check out the app Smiling Mind for a guided mindfulness meditation.

Explore other topics

It’s not always easy to find the right place to start. Our ‘What’s on your mind?’ tool can help you explore what’s right for you.

How to cope with life altering changes

Life is interesting, isn’t it? We go through different stages of life in what seems like a blink of an eye. Big changes can come at any age, time, or season of life – when we least expect it.

Each phase of our lives can contain stressful situations. Even new, exciting changes can cause stress and even fear. Those big life changes can take us away from what we’ve known in the past and cause us to worry about the future. Our concerns can consume us with dread – or bring us closer, in our desperate need, to the One who created us and knows us better than anyone else!

God’s Plans for Our Lives

I thought I had almost figured out dealing with the Big Life Changes concept after having lived overseas for many years as a missionary. I’d been through many moves, learned a new language, and dealt with hard situations. Lots of changes, right? Years later, as I prepared to retire, I thought my husband and I could finally go back overseas as volunteers.

Notice how many times the word “I” was used in the last paragraph. I had been looking at our future through my own eyes, but God had other plans. Had I forgotten to check with Him? Surely He would want us helping on the mission field. However, God’s plan for our lives shocked my socks off! My husband of 48 years was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. We’ve now gone through many stages – denial, anger, fear, and years later, I’m learning to accept God’s plan for our lives.

Give it all to the Lord

For me, fear was the worst! In my head I kept hearing a little voice that said “There’s no way you’re going to be able to handle all that this disease will bring!” But it wasn’t until I began to give it all to God, almost daily, that I was able to stop feeling overwhelmed. I had to give all those worries to God and recognize that I can’t, but HE CAN! He tells us so in one of my favorite verses, Matthew 11:28-29 CSB:

Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

When I took that verse to heart, I not only felt relief and comfort, but I found that He was leading me, helping me make big decisions with a clear mind and a real sense of relief! Sure, I still get tired, but when I do, it helps to remember what Deuteronomy 31:8 CSB tells us:

The Lord is the one who will go before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or abandon you. Do not be afraid or discouraged.

How encouraged I was as I rested in those beautiful verses, finally beginning to understand the impact of each word. Another verse that encouraged me in the hard times was Philippians 4:6 CSB:

Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Did He say everything? Yes, Everything. I find myself talking to God many times a day. Sometimes it’s as simple as “Help!” And what’s so exciting is that we are told to come in confidence, knowing, with relief, that He loves us enough to want us there, right at His feet resting in His love.

Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need. Hebrews 4:16 CSB

Thank you, Lord, for Your wonderful Words of Life!

Are you going through a big life change? I invite you to rest in the four Scriptures above and lean into God as He guides and comforts you in these next steps of your journey. And always remember to place your trust in the One who loves you most.

Looking for more inspiration? Browse our entire Devotional Library and be sure to check out our new Digital Resource Library.

How to cope with life altering changes

There are many ways to define and measure stress. You can measure it in terms of chronic stress–the little worries, anxieties, and challenges you face on a daily basis. You can think about how “stressed” you are in your life; in other words, how stressed do you feel when there’s nothing immediate to stress “about?” Then there are high-stress events; these are single changes, challenges, or situations that have the power to cause you a great deal of stress all at once.

While all forms of stress require active management, these life-changing events serve as some of your biggest potential challenges. That’s partly because they often arise unexpectedly, giving you little chance to prepare, but it’s also because of the sheer impact they have on your life. As you’ll see, these events can impact you professionally, financially, and personally all at the same time, resulting in a perfect storm of difficulty and anxiety.

Learning how to anticipate these changes, and combat the stress they bring with them, is important–and you’re best off doing it long before they happen.

The Most Stressful Life Changes

Stress is hard to objectively measure, and of course, individuals will vary, but the best tool we have to estimate the sheer impact of a life event is the Rahe stress scale, a 100-point inventory on some of life’s most unexpected and devastating events.

These are the seven most stressful life changes on that scale, in order from most stressful to least stressful (relatively speaking):

1. Death of a spouse.

You probably aren’t surprised to hear that the death of a spouse is the most stressful event on this list. You’ll have lost the partner you’ve likely spent years with, a parent to your children, a financial supporter, and perhaps most significantly, your biggest source of emotional support. There’s no easy way to get over this event, but you can start by taking time away from work to grieve, spending time with your friends and family, and finding ways to honor your spouse, such as volunteering for causes they believed in.

2. Divorce.

Just below the death of a spouse is divorce–which has almost all the same hallmarks, and can be nearly as painful. One of the most important things for you to do during a divorce is to seek emotional support. Reach out to friends, family, and loved ones to talk about what you’re going through, or at least distract yourself for a while. It also doesn’t hurt to get a good attorney to protect your rights and your assets.

3. Marital separation.

Marital separation is very similar to a divorce, but may not come with the same sense of finality. Accordingly, you’ll need to seek emotional support from other people to reduce the impact of that stress.

4. Detention in jail or prison.

Committing a crime and being imprisoned can be enormously stressful, not to mention seriously derail your career. This is probably the most preventable item on this list, so obey the law. And if you do find yourself in prison, make the most of it by finding new hobbies and goals, whether it’s reading up on a new subject or working on your physical fitness.

5. The death of a close family member.

When a family member dies (other than your spouse), it can feel like your world is falling apart. It’s vital that you take some time away from work to grieve, rather than burying yourself in work responsibilities, and find healthy outlets that can help you cope with the pain (like exercising, meditation, or group activities).

6. A major injury or illness.

Suffering from a major illness or injury can rob you of the things you used to enjoy, and/or limit your capacity to work. To get through an event like this, you’ll need to find new ways to occupy your attention–and new things to get excited about. That is, of course, in addition to emotional support.

7. Marriage.

Marriage may seem out of place on this list, since it’s supposed to be a happy event, but living with a partner can take some serious adjustment. Make sure to find time for yourself, and maintain bonds with other friends and family members while you get used to it.

If you’re curious, some of the other items high on the list include being fired, reconciling with a spouse, and retiring. General stress management strategies (and of course, support from others) can help you get through almost any of these events.

Ongoing Management

Stress has the potential not only to make your life subjectively harder and interfere with your career progress; it can also take a significant toll on your physical health. And while some of these events can happen in an instant, their effects can persist for a long time.

You owe it to yourself to prioritize your stress management, even long after the initial event, to prevent yourself from succumbing to them. You can’t eliminate the stress in your life, but you can learn to reduce and manage it healthily.

Wait a minute! Never mind HOW to deal with change!

“WHY should I deal with change?” might be the better question to start with!

And the answer is . because change is coming.

Change is always coming.

And whether you look forward to a change or dread it, change triggers powerful effects in your body and your emotions (sometimes called “stress!”). You can increase your sense of control and steer your life into positive territory when you know how to deal with change.

So, nix the go-with-the-flow attitude. That just sets you up for a lifetime of stress, anxiety, pain, and fear.

Coping? Not enough. As long as you are just coping, your have limited choices. You feel trapped and victimized. Cocooned and isolated, you miss out on many opportunities.

Maybe you’d rather fight the change. Fueled by anger and frustration, you sap your strength and find yourself lonely and, once again, victimized.

Before learning these 7 tips for how to deal with change .

Adjust your thinking

I’m going to give you seven tips on how to deal with change, but first, I’m asking you to change your thinking. The 7 tips work best when you make these adjustments.

  • Approach dealing with change as a process. Dealing with change is not like an electric switch that is either on or off. It is like baking bread. There are many steps and ingredients. Both baking bread and dealing with change take time.
  • Reframe the way you think about change. Choose to give positive meaning to life changes. Even if you’ve never moved your furniture, you still have the hair style you wore in High School, and you always the same lunch, you CAN thrive on change.
  • Breathe and be flexible. Prepare to move with the changes because they are going to happen. No one’s life is free of change. And you wouldn’t like it if it WAS!

Easier said than done? Maybe.

But when you consciously choose to think this way, you experience a positive difference in how you deal with change.

7 Tips for How to Deal with Change

Ready for more joy and a greater sense of well-being and fulfillment? Follow the tips below.

  1. Simply notice that you are in the midst of change and that change is a part of you. This might seem like a no-brainer, but it takes some practice to become aware of change instead of subconsciously denying it. Don’t try to run and hide. If you have a journal, write about changes you notice.
  2. Face your feelings about the change, especially when the change is imposed and beyond your control. Get past “Why me?” “But I don’t want to!” and “It isn’t fair!” Figure out what your fears or worries are. That takes work. You don’t have to be a victim, even when you are not in control of the change. Write about your feelings.
  3. Figure out when to accept and when to reject the change.Have you heard the serenity prayer? (Go ahead and click the link if you need to refresh your memory. The link will open in a new page so this page will still be here when you are done.) Reflect on what you are accepting, what you are rejecting, and what you are doing something about. You will be amazed at how effective your choices are.
  4. Adopt an attitude of anticipation, and be grateful. Welcome change as an opportunity. Find the benefit somewhere in the change. There is always a benefit and an opportunity. Start by keeping a written record for 3 days. Every day, note 3 things, large or small, that you are grateful for. You will notice a more powerful attitude of anticipation growing (hey! that might be a nice change!).
  5. Choose your thoughts and attitudes about each change.Negative thoughts block your creativity and problem-solving abilities. Positive thoughts build bridges to possibilities and opportunities. Keep a record of the choices you make in your thoughts and attitudes.
  6. Learn to relax (more). Deep breathing works for many people. Exercise helps most of us to relax. Choose the way that works best for you. Relaxation allows you to deal well with change.
  7. Set smart goals so you can consciously guide the change. Smart goal setting helps you decide how to make the change happen and to recognize your successes. Write out your goals and your plans to meet them. See this additional page for more on smart goal setting. The link opens in a new page so you can get right back here easily because there’s more about dealing with change.

There’s one more really important tip.

Communicate with supportive people who can help you deal with stress.

In the workplace, change is inevitable. Many people will look toward a workplace leader for help in coping with these changes. For a more in depth look at these tips, as well as a number of other leadership skills, check out the information about how personal and professional success is a result of becoming a more effective leader, which is part and parcel of dealing with change effectively.

Family and friends also provide important help to figure out how to deal with change. Talk to them, and listen.  But you may need more focused help. Writing things down in a journal focuses your attention and clarifies your thoughts, leading to healthy decision making and greater life balance.

Writing about your internal processes in a regular and focused way is called journaling (not talking about keeping a log of your dailiy activities!)

An interesting thing about writing in a journal . . . You begin to respect yourself as one of the key supportive people in your own life.

You may already have a journal where you regularly record reflections on your life. If so, you can intensify the benefit by sharing that journal with a positive changes life coach or with other journalers. If you haven’t begun a journal yet, I can help you get started. And it’s all for free.

Learn more about free supported journaling with a simple click of the Free Online Journal button in the right column above!

Knowing that it is part of life doesn’t make learning how to deal with change any easier or any more natural, does it? Here are 6 types of change you CAN learn to deal with . especially if you find a good life coach!

What is A Life Coach? Among other things, a professional life coach helps you deal with change and manage the stress it brings to your life!

About Me

How to cope with life altering changes

An Independent Certified Coach,Teacher and Speaker with The John Maxwell Leadership Team.

Positive Changes Coaching Programs are customized to suit the dreams and aspirations,needs and challenges,of individual clients.

Each person’s journey is unique and magical on its own.

Whether you work with a coach 1-1, in a group,or with a mastermind learning group,your coaching experience will have a profound and lasting impact.

You will experience significant and lasting personal transformation as a result of coaching. 

© 2009-12 | Terri Babers | All Rights Reserved
Contact Terri Babers

Dealing with change can be hard. Whether you’re switching careers, starting a new family, moving to a new city, or ending a relationship, these major life events can throw your world into a tailspin and it can feel very disorienting. However, it doesn’t have to be that way.

We all handle change differently. Some of us may relish it while others barricade themselves against it at all costs. The only common denominator is that change is a constant part of life. Because of this, it’s important to have a toolbox of positive coping mechanisms for dealing with change.

The next time you’re faced with a big life change, keep these six tips in mind:

Know That It’s OK to Be Upset

Change, especially life-altering events, can cause a lot of emotions. It’s natural to grieve, be sad, or feel upset. However, your instinct may be to hide these feelings, put up a strong facade, or find someone or something else to blame. Often, dealing with change in a healthy way means acknowledging how you feel, rather than ignoring your emotions. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a few moments to write down your feelings, or talk to a friend or family member about what’s going on.

2. Expect Things to Be Messy

When there’s a major upheaval, it’s inevitable that the situation will be messy at first. After all, change—whether you’re moving or starting a new career—is bound to disrupt your day-to-day routine. Be patient, and know that a new, less chaotic normal will begin to emerge as the dust settles.

Lean on Others

If things feel overwhelming, seek out your support system. Family, friends, or coworkers can be a great sounding board, or they may be able to lend you an extra helping hand. You can also talk to people who have been through a similar situation. They may understand some of the challenges you’re up against, and can likely offer valuable insight. You may also feel less alone when you connect with others who have been through a similar experience.

Take Care of Yourself

It can be easy to forget to take care of yourself when you’re going through a major change. However, tending to your basic needs is crucial during tough times. Don’t skimp on sleep or eating foods that are good for you. Try to move your body every day and find an outlet to relieve stress, such as exercise, yoga, knitting, or meditating. These healthy habits can give you the foundation you need to deal with change.

Find a Routine

While new beginnings offer the promise of a clean slate and a fresh start, you may feel disoriented without an established routine. Start by establishing (or re-establishing) your morning routine. These early hours can help set the tone (and your mindset) for the rest of the day. This is also the time of day that’s most likely to remain under your control. Try to take a few moments to enjoy a cup of coffee, meditate, or head out for a run before you start your day.

Step Back, Reflect, and Reframe

When things are in flux, it’s tempting to assume a gloom-and-doom perspective. Instead of diving headfirst into a downward spiral, take a step back and reframe the situation. Take it one day at a time rather than thinking about the future, which can feel overwhelming. Instead of obsessing over things that are out of your control, identify what’s within your control and determine what you can do to adapt. Taking time to reflect on the situation can give you insight into how you can make your current situation work instead of fighting through it.

The bottom line is that change is hard, but new beginnings also offer the promise of opportunities on the horizon. While everyone will approach major life changes differently, these positive coping mechanisms can help you stay grounded when faced with a major life-changing event.