We always say the same thing: nobody likes change. It’s far too easy to get stuck in a rut, to become friends with routine and to find comfort in knowing what is just around the corner. So, when things do upturn and flip around, how can we cope with negative changes taking place in our lives?
If we are diagnosed with a devastating debilitating illness, or we lose someone dear to us, perhaps made redundant in our job or find a relationship has come to an end; how can we cope with these changes and what can make things easier when trying to come to terms with such difficult circumstances surrounding us?
While all of these incidents may seem far separated from each other, the fundamentals of how we can adapt to a new direction in our lives are similar. The first major psychological hurdle is acknowledging and accepting the new things coming your way.
It may be easier to read these words on paper than to actually act them out, to not feel anger or bitterness that circumstances are happening out of our control. However, the sooner we accept the changes occurring, the sooner we can adapt and learn to thrive in this new identity.
There are, of course, barriers to limit how soon we are likely to come to terms with the new events: financial uncertainty, changes in physical and mental health, not having the full picture of what will happen in the future, being just a few. However, we can seek out a variety of support options, whether it be by speaking to a friend who has been in the same situation or joining a community group that advocates a positive response to something negative. That being said, coming to terms with change isn’t something that occurs only in one direction. See it as a rollercoaster with its up and downs, not each day will be easy but, hopefully over time, by learning to cope, the downs won’t feel so torturous.
So, what can we do to actively cope with these changes? As well as the aforementioned acceptance, we can practise a little self-care. Seek out our comforts such as reading, walking or enjoying time with our friends, as well as taking a break from social media, exercising, and eating healthily.
All of these things can promote good psychological health in week-to-week living but will be exceptionally beneficial when we may feel on the edge of a knifepoint as negative changes take control. Create your own personalised mind plan to focus on the issues that are most concerning you, take notes of what’s bothering you to release it from the cloud in your head and speak to someone you trust to gain advice or simply to feel listened to.
We can never foreshadow the events coming our way, and there is no perfect method in which to deal with the negative changes that can take place. But we have to remain positive. Seek support from those we trust and above all, remember to be patient with ourselves until we feel some sense of normality again. Keep these four iconic words in your mind: This too shall pass.
Katie Bagshawe is a student diagnostic radiographer at the University of Derby. She holds an MSc in Psychology from Sheffield Hallam University.
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