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Change can be hard, but we know that it’s an unavoidable fact of life. With that said, it’s important to learn how to embrace change so that we can move forward gracefully.
Embracing change involves acceptance of both the changing event and our thoughts and emotions surrounding the event.
From there, we can grow resilience and a stronger stress-tolerance and tackle change in a healthy way.
If you struggle with change, here’s how to embrace it in a way that’s most productive and beneficial for your mental health and wellbeing!
This post is all about how to embrace change.
Accept that change is a normal and necessary part of life
Change happens. It’s a (somewhat unfortunate) part of life.
Even though change can sometimes bring negative emotions with it, this doesn’t mean that all change is bad or detrimental for us.
Sometimes negative circumstances, such as a breakup, having to move when you don’t want to, or losing a job can help us in our self-growth and teach us powerful lessons along the way.
Whether or not you believe in the notion that “everything happens for a reason,” more often than not, many things align in ways that we might not even realize we need.
It can be absolutely devastating to experience a breakup, for example. And in the moment, you can’t fathom any way that the breakup could possibly benefit you.
But then you meet someone who is even more perfect for you. Then, you think, “wow, I wouldn’t be with this amazing person if that breakup never happened!”
The change that happens to you brings you the strength, experiences, and wisdom you need for the present day. Accept that this occurrence is necessary.
Make peace with what is out of your control
This is one of the hardest things about learning how to embrace change! It does NOT sit well with us when we experience things that are outside of our control.
You’ll need to work on recognizing, accepting, and making peace with what is out of your control. Shifting your mindset to one of acceptance, rather than fear and tension, will help you cope with what is out of your control.
Try not to pass judgment or have any particular opinion over what is out of your control. Just observe that some aspects are not within your control and come to terms with this.
This approach is very similar to what is practiced in mindfulness meditation. You can acknowledge negative sensations or events, but aim not to pass judgment on what is happening.
Feel empowered by what is in your control
On the flip side, let what is in your control empower you.
For example, if you lost your job, you can respond in a way that does give you a level of control over the situation.
You can take this as an opportunity to explore different fields or appreciate the temporary free time you may have while you look for another job.
Just because one negative event is out of your control does not mean everything associated with that event is.
You are in charge of your actions and response to that event, and that should feel empowering!
Grow your resilience
Now that you’re getting a feel for how to shift your mindset in response to change, the next part of learning how to embrace change is to strengthen your resilience and stress-tolerance.
Thinking back to my first breakup, I was only 13 years old. With this being my first experience, I was so devastated that it didn’t feel like I would ever recover!
But by the time I was 16, I had gone through a few breakups. And while breakups never exactly get any less painful, my resilience, recovery, and the way that I handled this breakup was MUCH more productive than my first breakup.
The better-equipped you are to deal with change (which often comes from repeated exposure to change), the more you can grow your resilience and be on your way to embrace change.
Ask for help
Ideally, you should turn to your family and friends for help and support when you’re going through a tough time. Support from loved ones can help you feel less like you’re going through change on your own.
It’s also a great idea to turn to therapy for help. This can be so beneficial because your therapist can offer a different perspective and professional guidance that you can’t get from friends and family.
Therapists can also give you the tools you need to redirect your thoughts and emotions into a more positive direction.
I personally recommend (through both my personal experiences and what I’ve learned from my B.A. degree in Psychology) finding a therapist that specializes in CBT: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
This model of therapy is all about the connection between thoughts, emotions, and actions. This can help tremendously in adjusting to change in your life, or even just dealing with life’s daily stressors.
Don’t be afraid to reach out and speak with a professional about anything you may be struggling with. Online-Therapy.com offers CBT and I highly recommend giving them a try!
Celebrate your growth and wins
Celebrate what you are able to manage as you embrace change! Change can be very tough to deal with, so pat yourself on the back for doing the best you can.
Acknowledge your progress and the growth you’ve made over the years as you’ve gotten older, wiser, and more adaptable to change.
Continue to do the same as you find ways to improve in learning how to embrace change.
Reflect on your journey (your emotions, thoughts, etc.) as you process change
Piggybacking off of the last point, it’s a good idea to document where you’re at in your emotions and thoughts as you process an event of change.
This can help you gain a better understanding of what you’re feeling throughout the days, weeks, and months.
It’s also incredibly helpful to be able to look back on your thoughts and see how you’ve changed in adapting to change over the years.
Pick yourself out a new favorite journal below that you can dedicate to reflecting on your experiences!
(By the way…each of these are customizable and can have your name printed on the front!)
Keep yourself busy with creative activities
Did you know that creative activities can have a healing and protective effect on wellbeing?
If the aspect of change that you’re struggling with is simply dwelling on the change and overthinking it, it may be wise to focus your attention on enjoyable activities.
And creative activities in particular are wonderful resources for pouring our energy into something positive!
In the last several months, I’ve been a real big fan of doing paint by number paintings. They’re an excellent long term project that you can keep going back to each day, or each week, and will keep you busy for a while.
Here are some beautiful paint by number paintings you might want to try!
Acknowledge fears of the future, but come to terms with them
If change has warped your perception and concerns for the future, this is perfectly normal and something you should accept for the time being.
Don’t try to push away these fears or ignore them. They are perfectly valid and make every bit of sense as a natural response to difficult change.
Instead, work on coming to terms with any fears or concerns of the future. For example, with a break up, it’s very common to have “trust issues,” and find it difficult to trust future partners.
You’ll want to acknowledge that a negative experience damaged your trust, while also working to see how you can reconcile these concerns so that they don’t impact your experiences in future relationships.
Change how you perceive stressful events
In an interesting study on stress and perception at the University of Wisconsin, results found that people who both A. experienced high stress and B. believed that stress was harmful for their health, increased their risk of death by 43%.
So according to that study, the biggest contributing factor to death was the perception of stress and its effects on health.
That’s a little terrifying, right?!
But it goes to show how powerful our perception is. If we are stressed AND we’re worried about our stress (it’s like having anxiety about anxiety!), it’s no surprise that that has an even stronger impact than stress alone.
Don’t blame yourself
If the change is something very negative, the last thing you need to do is blame yourself.
Remember, many aspects are out of our control, so we need to make peace with them rather than point fingers at ourselves.
Loss, change, and negative events happen to everyone. And they aren’t always our fault. Don’t even focus on who or what is at fault at all. What’s more important is getting through the change, not fixating on unproductive parts of the change.
If you can get a good grasp on how to embrace change, then you’ll be able to move forward gracefully.
Much of this, as with many topics in mental health, has to do with a mindset shift as well as an adjustment in your behaviors and attitudes.
Building up your resilience to change and stress is a HUGE key factor in how to embrace change, especially. It takes a lot of practice, but can absolutely be accomplished!
Wishing you the best out there.
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