Managing Life Changes Without Making Yourself Miserable
by Sydney Chhabra, Ph.D.
Sometimes we choose to create change in our lives and other times change occurs outside our realm of control. Either way, we find ourselves adjusting to a new situation or a whole new way of life. How you manage change determines how peaceful or miserable you are determined to be! Here are 5 effective ways to manage life’s changes without making yourself miserable:
1- Be Flexible - When change happens, our natural response is to hold on to what is familiar. Familiarity gives us a sense of security and enables us to coast on ‘auto-pilot’. On a typical day, we can zip in and out of our neighborhoods without much thought. Change requires that we slow down, reassess our new surroundings, readjust our thinking, and implement a new plan to reach our desired goal.
Imagine if the GPS in your car insisted on following only one route to your intended destination! You wouldn’t get too far without getting stuck and feeling frustrated. Similarly, when we are flexible in our thinking, we learn to maneuver life’s detours more effectively.
2- Perception- Change can often be ‘perceived’ as a challenging & frightening time in our lives. This sense of loss of control brings on fear. Rest assured, many people feel this way initially. The key is perception! We can choose to view change as something to fear or as an opportunity for something new to manifest in our lives. Change is essential to movement and often helps us uncover our hidden skills and resilience in life.
3- Time- Give yourself time to emotionally adjust to your new situation. While it is essential to be flexible in thinking and perception, remember, it doesn’t all have to happen overnight! Continuing to resist inevitable change can make you as miserable as pretending you have suddenly adjusted at breakneck speed. Genuine, long-lasting adjustment & acceptance takes place gradually. Even when good changes like marriage, childbirth, new job, or new house occur, they all require letting go of the way it used to be, to the way it will be now.
4- Review & Reflect- Set aside time each day to review & reflect on the change or changes in your life. Busy schedules and hectic lifestyles prevent us from taking a quiet moment to reflect, accept, and plan for adapting to the changes that have occurred or are about to occur in our lives. Remember, even your car’s GPS has to continually reassess and devise optional routes to reach your intended destination. Not taking time to reflect and plan ahead can create more fear and misery. Avoidance is not the answer!
5- Support- While it’s wonderful to feel like we are totally independent beings and do not need to rely on others, do remember to reach out for support from friends, family, or professionals. Call your Personal Life Coach! Find someone who understands and can be there with you as you adjust to the changes in your life.
Whether we like it or not, sometimes life just throws us unexpected curve balls. Some good, some not so great. The more we insist on maintaining the status quo, the more painful it becomes. While we cannot predict every twist and turn that lays ahead, we can let go of limiting thinking and be open to the possibility that, there are actually many routes to our desired destination. And being miserable, is certainly not one of them!