10 Ways to Handle Life Changes with Courage Don’t add stress to your life when changes occur. Use these tips to help embrace the uncertainties in your life. BY ANN GATTY
Some changes we have control over, some we don't, but we can embrace all of them and move forward.
“ When change happens in your life, react by being excited, stimulated and inspired—not threatened, terrified or immobilized.”
Changes in life happen, and they happen all the time. Things happen for good and bad reasons and much of change is beyond our control. How we handle change is within our control. There will always be external events that cause change, but you still need to take control of your own reactions and attitudes toward change. Here are 10 tips to help you handle changes in your life without adding undue stress.
1. Expect change. The best way to design an effective change outcome in your life is to be proactive and design a management strategy that is easy for you to follow. You want this transition period to be as comfortable and productive as possible. Your life can be viewed as a succession of chapters, each with its own theme and characteristics. Enjoy the journey and view changes in each chapter as an opportunity for self-improvement and growth.
2. Check your attitude. Change can definitely cause disruption in your life. If you have chosen to make the change, then you probably feel more in control of the situation. If the change is occurring without your consent, then you need immediately to make certain that this transition does not take control of your decisions. When change happens in your life, react by being excited, stimulated and inspired—not threatened, terrified or immobilized.
3. Protect your health. Change causes stress, and stress can be detrimental to your health. So whether you think you have the energy or not, take positive action. Start moving physically and do not allow yourself to become complacent. Get eight hours of sleep—regardless of whether you want it; eat well—regardless of whether you feel like it; exercise everyday to burn off some of the stress; and drink more water to flush out the impurities caused by toxic stress levels. When you handle change in your life, taking care of your physical body often is neglected. Keep moving—you’ll feel better—even in tough times.
4. Get out there. Regardless of the changes you are experiencing, life is worth living. So, go out and embrace life. Make life an adventure worth exploring. Not every part of your day is going to be exciting, but if you start noticing the little details of life situations, you can begin finding your surroundings more beautiful, people more inspiring and situations more interesting. Opening your eyes to the world around you allows you less time to spend focusing on things that may be worrying you.
5. Build relationships and network. Change can lead you to meet new and inspiring, helpful people, or it can lead you toward isolation. How you handle change in your life can cause you to become afraid and turn inward, not wanting to share your fears, sadness, or anxieties with others. But during life transitions, change is easiest when you let others help. Build a network of support. Surround yourself with a team of two-to-three people who will keep you moving on your forward path to success.
6. Be yourself. You’re good at that. Nobody else can be you. You have unique talents, skills, knowledge and opinions. Use them. But use them wisely and with respect for others. You will do a better job at handling change in your life if you handle change with your own set of tools rather than trying to work with somebody else’s. You can be yourself better than anyone else. And stop trying to be someone else that you think people want you to be. That will not bring you success.
7. Set goals. How you handle change in your life can have good or bad results. If you set goals for what you believe could be the best outcome, you will have a positive target to work toward. Focusing on a goal allows you to establish an action plan to move, one step at a time, toward that goal.
8. Believe in yourself. Self-doubt is a destructive perspective to hold, and it denies your self-confidence. Maybe you have experienced a conflict with someone. Maybe you feel unqualified to complete a task because you compare yourself to someone else you think is more capable. Maybe you have been criticized for work you have done. Build your self-confidence by naming these doubts and identifying what is triggering them. You can replace self-doubt with self-belief when you realize that you are human and have your own capabilities, even if other people disagree.
9. Pick yourself up. We all make mistakes. That is part of being human. The best way to move forward when life changes cause missteps is to be honest. Own your mistakes; don’t put the blame on someone else. When you make a mistake admit that you were wrong and learn from the situation. Use the experience to grow in wisdom.
10. Embrace your dream. Know your passion and don’t be afraid to follow your dream. Ask yourself—plug in the answers to the following questions: "Where am I now?" And, "Where do I want to be in the future?" You are moving forward. As you handle the change in your life, celebrate your successes, small or large. You are on a journey we call life, and change is part of the process.
Dr. Ann Gatty coaches individuals in stress management strategies and building life transitions to balance personal and professional goals. Visit her website, www.stress-management-4-women.com to learn more about stress management tools, stress reducing tips, and information to help women, moms and teens effectively manage their daily stressors so that they can reach their full potential in their personal and professional lives.