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Published:December 5, 2023

Ways to Cope with Change

The one constant in life is change. That doesn't mean we ever get used to it we just learn how to embrace it fully.

Acknowledge that things are changing around you.

Sometimes we get so caught up in fighting change that we put off actually dealing with it. Denial is a powerful force, and it protects us in many ways. However, stepping outside of it and saying to yourself, "Things are changing, and it is okay" can be less stressful than putting it off.

Realize that even good change can cause stress.

Sometimes when people go through a positive life change, such as graduating or having a baby, they still feel a great deal of stress. Keep in mind that positive change can create stress, just like not-so-positive change. Stress is just your body's way of reacting to change, and it's okay to feel that.

Keep up your regular schedule.

Sometimes, when you are going through a lot of change, it helps to write down your routine and check it off as you go. It's one less thing for your brain to have to hold inside.

Exercise when you can.

If exercise is not currently part of your routine, try adding it. Exercising two to three times a week has been found to decrease symptoms of depression significantly (Barclay, et al. 2014.)

6. Seek support.

No one gets through life alone. It is okay to ask for help; that's a sign that you know yourself well enough to realize you need some assistance. Think of your trusted friends or family members you can call or go to.

8. Get proactive; take the initiative

Being proactive means taking charge and working preventatively. This means you figure out what steps you need to take before something happens that you didn't want to happen.

9. Vent, but to a certain point.

Finding your support group to whom you can vent can be helpful—to a point. If you and your support group are solely venting, that feeling of frustration can be contagious. Try gearing the conversation toward a goal. What can you do to make things better?

. Stay away from social media.

When you go through change, you may gravitate toward social media—maybe posting to your friends on Facebook what is going on in your life. First, make sure you are in a calm state when you post—and keep in mind that whatever you post never really disappears. Also, if you are comparing your life to your friends' lives on social media, remember that most people post only the "highlight reel" of their lives, not the stressful moments that they are experiencing.

And finally, give yourself a break/grace. In a time of change, you may feel a little out of control. You may feel like you are not meeting your expectations or others.  Remember that you are allowed to do less than what is humanly possible do what you can. Nothing says you have to function right all the time. People make mistakes—it's one of the great things about being human. It's learning from the mistakes that count.

  • - Mechelle Taylor, AMFT

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