Change in most situations can be tricky. I say most because good changes are happening to us all the time, like a deposit for a new apartment going through, a pay rise or a name change. However, there are ‘bad’ changes like the death of someone we love, a break-up; heck, we are currently living in a pandemic, and that’s been the worst change of all.
So, how do you cope with change when it’s terrible? How do you stop it from overwhelming you? Well, I will impart some wisdom, so you are more prepared when the following significant change comes along.
Ways to deal with change.
Much like Empathy or anger with handling change, there are different types.
The two different types.
Escape: You deal with the emotion by avoiding it. You don’t talk about what is happening or why and ignore it. You’ll take extra steps not to face something head-on, and that can be damaging.
An example of this would be moving away to a different uni and actively avoiding emails from student finance to fill out the forms for the maintenance loan. So you don’t pay for the placement and get kicked out of the university.
Control: This way of dealing with this emotion is the healthier way of doing things. You ask for support and get the help you need. With this one, a person actively participates in the change and doesn’t avoid anything.
I used earlier not to answer student finance emails and not fill out the forms if we take that example. You would answer the emails, ring up student finance and fill out the forms with support if needed.
It is better to adapt to the emotion and change with the control coping mechanism. However, many experts conclude that we all cope with both types of responses. But we need to do it with balance as it can lead to horrible consequences.
Responses to change we don’t like.
When we encounter changes that we don’t like, there are several reactions we have and include:
Shock leads to disorientation
Because the difference to a situation that we are feeling is so intense can lead to people feeling shocked. In some cases, this can go as far as disorientation. This could be because you might not know where you are or because someone changed something around. Or it can be that world-changing it can take you out of the moment.
Now depending on the situation, it can cause a lot of anger (and it’s something I’ve written about previously on how to cope with anger.) because maybe everything is too stressful or because people aren’t listening to why you are so reluctant for something new to happen in life.
If you want a real-life example, whenever my mum would change the furniture around in my room, I’d feel anger and disorientated because she changed the room without my permission, and I wouldn’t know where anything was.
Ways to cope with it all
There are several ways people can cope with change. Below are some ways that can help you deal with it.
Reframe your thinking
When a lousy change you don’t like happens, view it as a way to grow and change or see it as an opportunity to build on your character and solve your way through the situation if needed. Learning to see the emotion in a new light can make the experience less overwhelming and stressful and lower the amount of emotional trauma you would have to deal with otherwise.
Worst that can happen.
Whenever something like this happens, always try to ask yourself, ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’ Doing this will allow you to access the situation. It’ll help you figure out what the outcomes will be at most. You’ll find out the worst-case scenario won’t be that bad.
Many psychologists also give out this advice to people with anxiety to help them through situations to analyse why a problem they are worried about won’t go as badly as they think.
This technique is also great at getting rid of intrusive thoughts.
Once you’ve tried the two steps above, another thing you can do is look for the positives in a situation. I know it’s complicated when a change has made you upset and sad. But looking for the positives in a crisis can make it feel less harsh, soften the blow, and make things easier. Try to make the best of any case. Especially if you can’t do anything about it, only seeing the negatives will make you feel worse.
Whilst change can be very overwhelming, stressful and discomforting. There are several things you can do to stop avoiding it and take control of a situation. It’ll help make everything seem easier to deal with and prevent this hiccup along the big road of life appear less bumpy than your brain is making it out to be. So next time you face unwanted change, try these steps to see if it makes it any better!
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