Life is all about change.
After all, change is a key indicator of life and growth. There are a host of changes we can face in our lifetime, and while challenging, we can face and conquer those changes in our lives. Let’s take a look at four common major life changes that most people experience at some point and outline healthy strategies to cope with those changes.
Death is inevitable. At some point in our lives, we will all lose someone who holds a special place in our lives and hearts. The death of a loved one brings a lot of complex emotions with it. The Kubler-Ross model of grief outlines the typical grieving process as one that begins with denial, transitions to anger, followed by bargaining, a depression, and then finally acceptance.
In order to move successfully through the stages and to the desired target of acceptance, one must first allow and acknowledge the emotions one feels regarding the passing of a loved one. Giving yourself the space to feel what you feel will better and more quickly help you to move forward (Sarkis, 2017).
Another healthy way to cope with death is to get support from those around you. Having people in your life you can talk to and rely on can help you better process your feelings and not get lost in sorrow or anger. Then you’ll be able to move on to acceptance, which allows you to accept what has happened and no longer dwell on it.
End of A Relationship
Whether a romantic relationship, friendship, or business relationship, we are all bound to face the end of a relationship in our lives at some point. This can cause heartbreak, confusion, anxiety, and depression among many other emotions and feelings. The end of a relationship does not have to mean the end of us.
The first step in dealing with the end of a relationship is accepting it. This means, not trying to hold on to memories of the past or exerting energy trying to put it back together. It’s facing the situation for what it is.
The second step in this process is ascertaining what was learned from the relationship. This shifts focus from what was wrong about the relationship and changes the focus to something positive by having us look at how we grew or matured as a result of the relationship (Sarkis, 2017).
A final way to deal with the end of a relationship in a healthy way is to surround yourself with people you love. When a relationship ends it tends to make us feel isolated and alone. But by surrounding yourself with people you love and whom you know love you, you can keep feelings of loneliness at bay and be reminded of just how many people in your life love and value you.
Not all changes are bad changes. Marriage is generally a positive change, but that doesn’t mean it comes without stressors and challenges. Learning a new person and adjusting to sharing everything with someone is a change that requires a lot of effort. If not careful, marriage can become a source of negative stress rather than happiness in your life.
One healthy way to deal with the change that marriage brings is to communicate clearly and openly with your partner. When you discuss things within the marriage that might be causing stress or negativity, you can partner together to solve the problem versus sweeping it under the rug and allowing it to fester. Another healthy way to deal with the change marriage brings is to see a marriage or family therapist.
There doesn’t have to be a major problem for a therapist to be consulted. The idea is to have this person on hand who can help you develop strategies for dealing with challenges and issues that may arise in the future. This acts as a preemptive measure rather than a reactive one (Alton, 2018).
The birth of children, while joyous, brings a wide array of changes and challenges. Children often infringe on our personal time, drain our energy, put pressure on our finances, and cause strain in our relationships (marriage/friendships). One way to cope with these changes is to have a strong support system.
Having people in your inner circle who can offer support by lending a hand or an ear when you need it will help you maintain your control and sanity (Sarkis, 2017). Another healthy way to deal with the changes parenthood brings is to practice self-care. By implementing small ways, you can take time to invest in yourself each day or week, you’ll maintain sanity and personal wellness that will sustain you.
A final step to take is having a well developed plan. Parenting doesn’t come with a manual, but you should have a general idea of how you’d like to raise your child. Having such a plan then allows you to put practices and systems in place to assist (Sarkis, 2017). This helps you feel more in control and less like you’re “winging it.”
Learning how to cope with change is an essential life skill we all must develop in order to survive and thrive in life. It helps us to adapt and adjust in a way that allows us to learn more and grow more, which allows us to contribute more and helps others grow and develop as a result.
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Alton, L. (2018, November 19). The 7 most stressful life changes (and how to cope with them). Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/larry-alton/the-7-most-stressful-life-changes-and-how-to-cope-with-them.html
Journey Through Grief. (n.d.). Kubler Ross stages of grief. Retrieved from https://www.journey-through-grief.com/kubler-ross-stages-of-grief.html
Reach Out. (n.d.). 7 tips for dealing with change. Retrieved from https://au.reachout.com/articles/7-tips-for-dealing-with-change
Sarkis, S. (2017, January 19). 10 ways to cope with big changes. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/here-there-and-everywhere/201701/10-ways-cope-big-changes