Change Is Constant: Here Are 10 Ways to Handle It Better
Without a doubt, the one thing in life we can’t control is change. However, we’re fully capable of how we manage our reaction to it. This is important to remember in recovery, especially during stressful times, when we’re doing all we can not to fall back into maladaptive behaviors. Here are 10 ways to manage change more effectively.
Learn Your Reasons for Avoidance
Many of us prefer to avoid change. According to psychologist David R. Blackburn of Baylor, Scott & White Health, there are many reasons for this, which we provide verbatim:
- Fear of the unknown
- Getting out of a comfort zone
- Not knowing how to change
- Fear of failure/fear of success
- Not wanting to be the only one who changes
- A real benefit for not changing
- Not willing to face the consequences
- Pessimism or skepticism about change
- A sense of fatalism or paralysis of will
- Change will interfere
Once you understand more about why you might be adverse to change, it’s easier to process those thoughts and emotions and then adapt.
- Vent If You Need To
Negative change is a shock to the system. If blowing off steam is helpful in the short term, learn how to vent healthfully. Then, stabilize yourself with some of the following tips.
- Recognize What’s in Your Control
Often, not much is in our control except for our actions and reactions. Knowing what you can take responsibility for in any given situation is actually empowering and helps you take the next step in the change process.
- Plan Ahead
When you know change is coming, reduce stress by plotting a course. For example, if layoffs happened at work and you feel nervous, take some time to update your resume or job skills. If you’re concerned about entering addiction rehab, talk with various facilities to learn more about different approaches and make a pros and cons list.
- Take Care of Yourself
This is another terrific example of how you’re in control of your response, even if you can’t dictate what’s happening around you. Acknowledge and process the change, and take time for nurturing. Then, return to your essential daily routines and rituals. This helps you establish a sense of normalcy. So continue to exercise, eat well-balanced meals, and get plenty of rest. Also? Don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether from a trusted friend or a therapist.
- Reaffirm Your Priorities
Change tends to cloud how we think and feel. Whether it’s a crushing blow, a stunning loss, or an incredible lift, it’s easy to lose sight of our core priorities in the upheaval. Maintaining a clear sense of your foundational goals and values helps build resilience and provide a ballast in changing times.
- Stay Present
When change happens, especially suddenly, we quickly become worried about the future and spend a lot of time ruminating. This mind jumble creates anxiety and additional stress. Instead, use your self-care methods to stay grounded and focused in the now, and take thoughtful action with planning. Staying present also allows for valuable reflection on the circumstances, which provides critical insight into how you really feel.
- Draw on Your Strengths
Just because something different happens doesn’t mean you’re completely at its mercy. Take time to assess your individual strengths and how they apply to the new circumstance. This is another way to demonstrate what responsibility you have in the face of change and how to overcome fear of it. You’re also able to lessen the stress of it all by trusting in your abilities.
- Reinforce Gratitude
It’s challenging to remember to be grateful when life seems to be in a spiral, but expressing gratitude helps release toxic emotions, shifts negative thinking, and contributes to your ability to shift into acceptance more easily. The Greater Good Science Center offers tips on cultivating gratitude.
- Consider the Possibilities
Not all change is negative; sometimes change presents new opportunities. For example, although it’s totally natural to feel apprehensive about doing the hard work to manage alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder, knowing the possibility of a healthy, sober life is within your grasp can help you reframe the situation.
Seabrook: Addiction Treatment and Recovery for Life
You’re never alone on your journey to better health. More than 40 years ago, the Diehl family knew it was time for a healthy change not only for themselves, but also for others struggling with addiction. If you or a loved one realizes this too, trust that the board-certified professionals at Seabrook’s four New Jersey locations are ready to form a partnership of wellness with you—ask us how.