We can have mixed feelings about change. On one hand, we tend to crave change when life gets stale, but on the other hand, we also tend to fear change when it’s sudden or completely unexpected. Even changes that are exciting can be colored by fear and anxiety. So, why do we make change so hard? Why do we feel like we need change? And how can we cope with changes that catch us off guard? If you’re looking for answers to these questions, these tips can help you build the resilience you need to cope with change.
Major Life Transitions Can Be So Stressful
Certain major life events, including moving and changing careers, can be more stressful than others. But for most of us, these big changes are unavoidable and even desirable. We may even experience these transitions multiple times in our lives, which makes it even more important to learn how to adapt and cope.
For example, moving homes is one of the most stressful processes that you can go through, but it can also be one of the most fulfilling. If you are moving in the next few months, you will also likely cope with COVID-19 changes. This is especially true when it comes to selling a home since housing market impacts have resulted in some major changes in this process. Learning how to leverage these changes, including the use of virtual tours, can make selling or buying a new home far less stressful. Whether it’s selling your home or expanding your family, the main thing you need to know is that change may always trigger feelings of uncertainty and anxiety, but you can learn better ways to cope with those feelings.
Smaller Changes Can Also Feel Distressing
It makes sense that such huge transitions in life cause people to stress but what about more trivial life events? For instance, even though COVID-19 restrictions are beginning to be lifted across the country, many people are still cutting their own hair. Hair grows back so these changes aren’t really permanent and they aren’t necessarily life-changing.
Why do these moments feel so important? And why do we crave these changes in the first place? It turns out that sometimes making even a small change to your external appearance, whether it’s cutting bangs or wearing red lipstick, is really just a way to process deeper transitions that are going on inside. We don’t always know how to handle these internal feelings and changes, which is why those trivial alterations can feel so monumental. If you find yourself constantly struggling with small changes in your life, talking with a counselor can help you make sense of what you’re feeling. But also know that those anxieties can be completely normal.
Unexpected Changes Can Especially Difficult
One of the main reasons why the pandemic has been so stressful is that most changes came with little warning and people love to plan. As ironic as it may sound, planning helps us feel freer and in control of our own lives. So when things seem chaotic we feel like we are losing some of that control, and losing some of our autonomy. Of course some unexpected changes, like losing a loved one, can also come with additional pain that can make processing the resulting changes even more difficult. With all of this said, resiliency is all about planning just enough to achieve your goals while leaving enough flexibility to not get overwhelmed by unforeseen changes in that plan. You can plan for those changes by building a network of support and learning your strengths. You can remain strong in the face of those changes by recognizing that you still have control over your life and how you cope with life changes.
Both small and big changes can be jarring. Even so, change is an integral part of life, and our lives are always changing in some sense. Learning to adapt and thrive in the face of change is such an essential life skill. While you can’t always escape change, you can find ways to escape, or at least process, the overwhelming feelings that can come with change.
by Jennifer Scott