Coping with Change

For me this week has seen a plethora of changes at work. We have been going through a ‘Transformation’. Peoples roles and job titles have changed, their line management has changed, some have found themselves in a position of not knowing their future. We all cope with change differently but there are some fundamental coping mechanisms which we can all use to help us.

I mention change A LOT in Web to Success as change is a key component of self-awareness.

‘In our modern, technology-filled, world we have to deal with an increasing amount of change. The important thing is to create a mindset to survive that change. Part of that mindset is the ability to be resilient. To bend instead of break. To persevere and adapt when faced with challenges.’

‘Self-awareness involves change. There’s no getting away from it. If we want to be self-aware we need to change how we see and react to everything. It’s all about challenging the way we see and react to ourselves. If we really don’t like change in our lives we need to take this section to heart and try to understand why we don’t like it and then do something about it. Change it!’

‘Embracing change involves going on a journey with our emotions. This journey has a path and involves feelings of denial, resistance, desperation, exploration and then finally commitment. For each of these, there are coping mechanisms we can use. Being self-aware ensures we’re able to comfortably and successfully cope with change. In other words, we can be resilient.’

7 tips for dealing with change

Dealing with change isn't always easy. It can be uncomfortable, stressful or even scary at times. But the good news is, there are things you can do to make coping with life changes a little easier.

1. Recognise the worst

Understanding a change is the important first step to managing it. We're usually scared of change because we’re afraid of the unknown. Try to figure out if the worst that can happen is actually as bad as what you think can happen? Learning about the details of the change can help things feel easier. Remember how scary the idea of starting high school or learning to drive once was? Sometimes it's not as bad as it may seem at first, and it just takes a little time to get used to.

2. Ask yourself how much you can control

When a big change happens, figure out how if it's something you have control over, and how much control you have. Understanding your role and how much you can change, can sometimes help you to put things in perspective. For example, if you've just moved out of home, there are many things you can do to make it an easier process. Other changes like unexpected sickness are harder to control.

3. Celebrate the positives

Focusing on the positives can help you feel better about the change overall. They might not be completely obvious to begin with, and it might also take some time, but it’s worth it. 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. In time, you might also find a new group of friends to keep you company.

4. Take action

If the unwanted change is within your control, taking an active approach to coping has been shown to be useful. Try engaging in problem solving or goal setting to proactively address unwanted developments. Focusing on the problem at hand, developing a plan of action, and asking for advice are useful active strategies.

5. Accept and reframe

If the unwanted change is beyond your control, taking a reflective approach may be the way to go. Accepting that there are things beyond your control and choosing to be comfortable with this is likely to bring greater calm than playing the blame game or waging unwinnable wars. Viewing change as an opportunity to learn and grow, rather than a setback, might also help you to turn that frown upside down!

6. Manage your stress

Improving your ability to handle stress will go a long way to helping you deal with change. Try practicing mindfulness or meditation, or engaging in other relaxation techniques.

7. Seek support

Changes come in all different sizes. It’s perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed if there is too much happening at once. This is when your best approach is to start by seeking support. Consider talking to friends or family for advice or emotional support, or by investigating options for 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!

This article could help...

How to Deal With Change When Change Is Hard Hannah Braime

“You must welcome change as the rule but not your ruler” ~Denis Waitley

My name is Hannah, and I find it hard to deal with change.

As much as I used to want to think of myself as flexible and easy-going, I struggle to live up to these ideals. I like to know where I am, what I’m doing, where I’m going, and to have my near future mapped out in lists, to-dos, and ideas. In short, I do whatever I can to minimize the level of uncertainty in my life.

My discomfort around uncertainty means I am usually very decisive. In some ways this has been beneficial; for example, it’s allowed me to make hard decisions that I might have otherwise been tempted to avoid or delay.

In other ways, it’s been a disadvantage, especially when I’ve prioritized removing my discomfort above anything else, and made decisions without having all the information I really needed first.

Historically, when life’s ups and downs have left me feeling uncertain, I’ve done whatever I need to do to regain my sense of control. Keeping my options open or “going with the flow” provokes feelings of restlessness, impatience, and eventually frustration; after all, why leave things up to chance when you could have a plan?

Here are five elements that have been invaluable in this process of adapting to change:

1. Learn to differentiate between what you can and can’t control.

One of the most important lessons I learned early on in my travels was the difference between factors I could control and factors I couldn’t control. For example, I could control whether I left enough time to get to an airport or a bus station to catch my next connection to a different city or country; however, I couldn’t control whether that plane or bus actually left on time.

As well as learning to place events in their rightful control-related categories, I learned to appreciate the importance of acceptance, and the emotional freedom this provides. Once I accepted that I couldn’t control some changes, I felt less anxious about them.

2. Keep a journal.

Keeping a diary or journal has been one of the most helpful activities for processing the changes I’ve experienced. Through keeping a journal, I’ve realized that my aversion to change was based on a fear that I wouldn’t be able to cope with it. Reflecting on some of the experiences I’ve had and the way I’ve processed them, however, I recognized that I actually have far more internal strength than I previously gave myself credit for.

3. Develop routines, even small ones.

Developing small routines and habits has helped me stay grounded and connected to myself. In turn, this has enabled me to feel more accepting of other changes happening around me.

As well as morning pages, I have developed other routines (such as having the same breakfast most days and dedicating Saturday mornings to learning Spanish), that have helped meet my need for consistency and stability. When it feels like everything else around us is in flux, finding small comforts to hold on to can make all the difference in how we process and deal with other changes in our lives.

4. Connect with others who are sharing a similar experience.

Talking to other travelers and hearing about their experience of long-term travel has helped me realize that I’m not alone in how I feel. Change is hard, even if you’ve volunteered for it. As one friend said to me a few days ago: “Just because you’ve chosen to do this doesn’t mean it has to be perfect.” Talking to people back home about the struggles I’ve encountered has felt hard. Part of me feels guilty complaining about enormous bugs and travel sickness when people back home are enduring a freakishly cold winter and still doing the 9 to 5. But fellow travelers understand, and knowing that I’m not alone has helped me accept some of the more negative aspects of the changes I’ve experienced.

5. Take care of your basic needs.

Taking care of your basic needs is absolutely crucial if you are in a period of change. These needs are like the foundations of our physical and mental health; without them, we’re unlikely to be able to process additional challenges in a healthy way. My non-negotiables are sleep, hygiene, exercise, and healthy food. When I have these things, I am a happy camper and can deal with external changes far more easily. When I don’t have them, my tolerance levels drop, I feel stressed and I find it hard to flow with other changes that are happening around me.

Your basic needs might be similar to mine, or they might be different. When you’re able to identify and prioritize them, however, you give yourself a much better chance of encountering change with minimal stress and anxiety.

10 Quotes That Will Help You Deal With Change by Jessica Booth

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that change can be really, really hard to deal with. Whether it’s a great, much-needed change or a change that you never in a million years would have asked for, adjusting to something new can be super difficult. Sometimes you just want things to stay the same, you know?

But as much as change can be a total pain in the butt, it’s also really necessary. I mean, how boring would it be if things were always the same? For those of you dealing with changes in your life, whether it’s being in a new school, going through a breakup or losing a friend, we’ve got some quotes that will help get you through it.

Coping with Change by Dr. Bruce Gordon

It’s been said that the only constant in our world today is change. As we look back over our marriage to this point, we would have to agree. The words “imposed change” were part of the fabric of our life. Coping with change is never easy. Most of us resist it, because we are comfortable and secure in our world as we know it. And yet, if change is an inevitable reality of life (and it is), then we’d better be prepared to respond when the unexpected comes knocking on our door.

We’d like to share with you some principles for dealing with change, which we developed. Because change comes in countless different forms, every situation is unique. Nevertheless, these lessons will be helpful for you to keep in mind and adapt to whatever circumstances you may face.

1. Recognize that you are in change

As we have said, most of us have a natural aversion to change. We have a tendency to want to stick our heads in the sand and hope that it will go away by the time we come up for air.

This strategy may provide short-term relief, but it never helps in the long-run. Denial does not make our problems disappear; instead it usually makes things worse by giving us less time to think through a reasoned response. Instead, when unexpected circumstances arise, it is best to face them head on.

2. Honestly face your fears

Not every person has the same tolerance to risk. Some adventurous souls actually relish the adventure of new situations. Others like their life exactly as it is: nice and predictable. For these people, the idea of change produces fear. We recommend developing an accountability relationship with another person. An accountability partner can give you the encouragement you need to press on.

3. Communicate, communicate, communicate!

John Kotter, Management Consultant and Author, writes that one error leaders make during times of change is that they underestimate the issue of communication by a factor of 10. Certainly the same is true of couples. In order to successfully navigate change as a couple, it is vital that you be on the same page with one another. You need to know how your spouse feels about the impending transition. You also need one another’s wisdom and ideas as you explore all of your options. If you are approaching a major change in your life, set aside a special date night to talk through the issues with your spouse. Coping with change is difficult enough when we are united; it is much harder when we are pulling in different directions.

4. Take stock of your resources

Anytime unforeseen circumstances arise, a key step is to evaluate the resources you have at your disposal as you deal with the issue. Depending on the specific situation you are facing, your relevant resources could include finances, time, skills, or even other people in your life that can help you through the adjustment. At times, change might require you to make some tough decisions, like perhaps re-working your budget. For us, it meant the sale of our dream home, to pay off debt. You may need to seek some outside counsel from someone on this.

5. Anticipate stress

Change is rarely easy; it is often a source of great stress. To make matters worse, you and your spouse may deal with it completely differently. We would suggest that both of you obtain an assessment on your individual styles and how you each handle stress. This will help you to understand one another’s stress reactions and will enable you to work together more effectively.

Times of intense pressure can either pull you together or push you apart. Stress will come, and you need to ensure that it does not divide and conquer.

It's often said that change is the only constant in life. Yet humans are evolutionarily predisposed to resist change because of the risk associated with it. Despite this resistance to change, it is more important than ever. Napoleon once said, "One must change one's tactics every 10 years if one wishes to maintain one's superiority." In today's society the pace of change is immensely faster, and it will only continue to accelerate.

Organizations and people that don't embrace change are bound to lose ground and stagnate. When you are anxiously anticipating a change--or in the midst of a challenging one--grab one of these quotes to help you or your team plow through it.

  • The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking. -Albert Einstein

  • Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts. -Arnold Bennett

  • Change is inevitable. Change is constant. -Benjamin Disraeli

  • When you're finished changing, you're finished. -Benjamin Franklin

  • The price of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change. -Bill Clinton

  • The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress. -Charles Kettering

  • Change means that what was before wasn't perfect. People want things to be better. -Esther Dyson

  • If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living. -Gail Sheehy

  • Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. -George Bernard Shaw

  • When people shake their heads because we are living in a restless age, ask them how they would like to life in a stationary one, and do without change. -George Bernard Shaw

  • I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better. -Georg C. Lichtenberg

  • He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery. -Harold Wilson

  • Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. -John F. Kennedy

  • Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof. -John Kenneth Galbraith

  • Be the change that you wish to see in the world. -Mahatma Gandhi

  • Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. -Margaret Mead

  • Your success in life isn't based on your ability to simply change. It is based on your ability to change faster than your competition, customers, and business. -Mark Sanborn

  • If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. -Maya Angelou

  • The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance. -Nathaniel Branden

  • Change your thoughts and you change your world. -Norman Vincent Peale

  • People don't resist change. They resist being changed. -Peter Senge

  • Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better. -Sydney J. Harris

  • It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory. -W. Edwards Deming

  • There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction. -Winston Churchill

  • To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often. -Winston Churchill

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