We all know that things change, people change, and times change, but how do we deal with it? I have had a lot of change in my life recently and thought I would write about how I feel about it and how I am dealing with it.
So lately there has been a lot of change in my life. They say that change is the only constant in life, but why do some people deal with change easier than others? And what can you do to be better able to deal with change. Dealing with change is an important part of your well-being and great for your mental health. We all love some change – maybe a new hairstyle, a new car, a new partner. But some changes involve us having to deal with things we may not want to. Getting older, changing life stages, taking on more responsibilities, losing friends, friendships or family members are all things we may not want to deal with, and it can have a negative effect on your mental health – so it’s important to be able to deal with change in life.
So why am I writing about change?
Okay so in the last month there have been many changes in my life that have got me thinking about change. One of my best friends just had a baby (we grew up together and he is practically the same age as me), and he is married with a newborn, while I am still enjoying the single bachelor life. Another friend recently got married, and at the wedding I noticed how much his life has changed since our time at school over 10 years ago. I noticed new friends, old friends who were missing (who were once close but not so close anymore), and new families that weren’t around only a few years ago. My birthday was last week and I turned 29 which has also has been a massive reason for my thinking about change. Have I changed enough over the past few years? Even if I have, it looks like there is going to be even more change ahead. Potentially a girlfriend, a wife, kids, more responsibility – these changes will ultimately lead to not having as much freedom to do things that I am doing now. So I had to sit down and work this one out. Why do we love some changes, but other changes can give us a range of emotions we don’t want? And what can we do to deal with the change in a positive way? After much reflection I have put the following together to help you and I deal with change in a positive way.
Why don’t we always like change?
I think that change can be scary. Whether we see the change as good or bad, it can still take us out of our comfort zone. Change is going into the unknown. We might have really enjoyed things the way they were before the change, and now we feel anxious because we might lose that enjoyment. Without knowing if the result will be better or worse, we look to the negative and want things to stay the same. To play it safe. In my own life recently it feels like my life is forcing change upon me. I am fairly comfortable living the lifestyle I have now, and seeing what lies ahead for the next few years has made me feel that I don’t want things to change. But then I realised that things have always been changing. Even if I think back to this time last year – I was living in a different house, in a different role at work and with less life experience. In the past year I have travelled to Europe, been promoted at work, moved in with new housemates (and made new friendships from it), became more independent, grown my confidence, started a mental health blog, studied my masters degree, and had more fun along the way. So with all this good change, it is now time to put in place some positive techniques to help deal with the upcoming changes and turn any change into a positive.
Accept the change, and accept that change is a part of life
No matter what you are dealing with in life, I believe that acceptance is the first step. If you can build the acceptance that change is a part of life, then I think you will do really well. It feels like at times we only appreciate something once it changes. You know, like the saying ‘you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone’? Accept that everything will change one day. Accept that change is the only constant in life, and everything else will change at some point. Don’t try and fight the change, it will only make it worse. This leads me to my number 1 tip.
The #1 tip – embrace the change
So now that you have accepted the change, and that change is just a part of life, you can now choose to embrace the change. You know it is going to happen, so why not get excited about it? Just because things are different, it doesn’t mean that they are going to get worse. In fact things might actually get better. But how are you to know? Unless you let the change happen, you will never find out. Embrace the change, because you can have fun with it either way. With my own changes, I have embraced that I now know a lot more about myself then what I did a few years ago. Would I love to go back to 25 and know what I know now? Yes! But that’s not possible. What is possible – is knowing that I enjoyed my time at 25, and now at 29 I can enjoy what lies ahead of me. If we show gratitude for what we have got, what has remained the same, and what will change – then we can’t go wrong. When changes present themselves it is a great chance to show gratitude towards ourselves and others. If you want to truly embrace the change, you can be grateful for what you had before because you got to enjoy that experience – and now you are grateful for the new experience you are about to have. Find out more about gratitude and how to be grateful here.
Change means that you are growing
This is a good one! If you are not growing, you are dying. We might think that we want things to remain the same, but really we don’t. We need change, we need growth, we need to be challenged. Whilst some changes may not be fun at the time, we need them to be able to grow. By going through change, you are growing yourself as a person, your strengths, your resilience and your life experiences.
Life would be boring if you did the same thing all the time
Just imagine that things never changed. Take yourself back to an age where you think that you were truly your happiest, and imagine that you lived the rest of your days in a Groundhog Day like fashion of that time. Whilst it might seem fun at first, you will eventually get bored and find the same day to day activities as a drag. You might say that I am having a laugh, but I can prove it! Have you ever been on the best holiday, and then at the end of the trip you were ready to come home? You wanted change. If you said yes, then you know that you want change. If you said no, then you just fell into my trap, because you still want change. It means that before you took the holiday, you wanted change. You wanted to change your life and your experience by going on a holiday, and when you were there, you loved it! Even if you knew it would be painful to come home, you still wanted to have the change for a short time and enjoy yourself on holiday. Don’t be boring people, get excited and embrace the change.
Write down the positives that the change will bring
Ok if you are really struggling with a change and it feels like the change is not for the better – write down all of the positives that will come out of the change. Even if the change is a tough one, a massive challenge; you can still write down that the positive is 1. You will be able to learn from this experience, or 2. You will have more resilience once you get through this. If your partner broke up with you, the positive is that you can now go out and meet new people, you can enjoy more time with your friends, you can try new experiences on your own etc etc. Train your mind to look at the positives and this will help you deal with the change.
Time for a change
It has been a big month for me with a lot of change going on. For me the first step was acceptance, and then embracing the change. Just because things are different, it does not mean that things won’t be better. By embracing the change I have found that my mindset towards the changes has improved massively, and I am actually looking forward to the changes! Who knows what the next year will bring and it’s all about enjoying the moment, because before you know it, you will be looking at this last ‘change’ in your life thinking how good it was in hindsight!
About the author – Stef – Mental Health Advocate
Stef is a mental health advocate who dedicates much of his free time to improving his own and others mental health. Click here to have a read about Stef’s story and why he is so passionate about mental health, wellness and positive living.