There are lots of situations where you could find yourself facing change, for example:
- You might have been made redundant from your job
- A close family member or friend might have passed away
- You may have to sell your home and move somewhere new
- An unforeseen accident might have left you unable to continue with your usual routine.
Whatever the reason for change in your life, when it happens unexpectedly and you aren’t mentally prepared, it can lead to feelings of fear, anxiety and even depression. These kinds of unexpected stressful events are also believed to be the cause of adjustment disorder.
Embracing changeFirstly, it’s important to realise that many things in life are out of our control and no matter how much we would like to be the master of our own destiny, we must accept that now and again we have to adjust. Initially, it might seem impossible to put a positive spin on a situation or to visualise how we can make the best of a bad, or different, situation. But you’ll be surprised at how we can turn things around and focus on positive outcomes.
Unless you’re the kind of person who thrives on new experiences, facing change can be challenging and uncomfortable. It might also mean you have to get out of old routines and patterns of behaviour, which in itself can be daunting. But change can also be rewarding and beneficial, it’s just that you’ve yet to recognise these benefits. So how can you learn to deal with changes that you haven’t planned for and embrace a new direction in life?
Mentally prepare yourselfCarefully consider what the change will mean to your life and how it will affect your daily routine and long-term future. It might seem difficult at first but the longer you refuse to face your fears, the worse it becomes. Once you start to rationalise the situation, reflecting on and planning for worst-case scenarios, you’ll feel more prepared to deal with the unknown. But also consider the benefits and positive opportunities that might arise from this.
You could also try meditation and visualisation to help you feel more at peace with what’s to come. Visualisation is a great way to imagine a situation and create a positive outcome in your mind.
Respond to the imminent changeOnce you’ve spent some time thinking about the impending situation, you’ll need to take action. Depending on what the change involves, there are certain things you might need to put in place. By being proactive, adapting and facing the situation head on, you’ll start to feel more in control. Sudden change can be scary because it feels like you’re not in control of your destiny so when you’re being proactive, you can begin to take back the feeling of control, which will give you a more positive outlook and mindset.
Reflect and learn from the experienceWhen you’re confronted with sudden change, you might find it hard to imagine the benefits. But as you adapt and work through the situation, you’ll be able to look back on the experience and recognise all the positive changes you’ve made. Each time you overcome a difficult situation, you’ll feel stronger and more equipped to deal with any future changes that might come your way. Take a look at the bigger picture and make a note of what you learned from stepping out of your comfort zone. How did you feel at the time, what did you achieve, and what skills and strengths did you develop during the process?
At the end of the day, it’s not the change that’s important, it’s how you responded to a situation that made you feel frightened at the time.