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Last Updated on November 25, 2019

Adapting to Change: Why It Matters and How to Do It

Adapting to Change: Why It Matters and How to Do It

The one constant thing in our lives is change.

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future” – John F Kennedy

We cannot avoid it and the more we resist change the tougher our life becomes. Change as John F Kennedy quoted is a Law of Life. We are surrounded by change and it is the one thing that has the most dramatic impact on our lives. There is no avoiding change as it will find you, challenge you and force you to reconsider how to live your life.

In this article, we will look into the importance of adapting to change and how you can adjust yourself to an ever-changing life.

Why Do You Have to Adapt to Change?

“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” —Jim Rohn

Change can come into our lives as a result of a crisis, as a result of choice or just by chance. In either situation, we are all faced with having to make a choice – do we make the change or not?

I believe that it is better to be prepared for change because we have more control over how we react to the change we are having to face in our lives.

When you are unprepared and resistant to change, then you have no control or choice as to how you want to live your life. You live your life as a reactionary rather than an activator of change.

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“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” —Lao Tzu

We cannot avoid the unexpected events (crisis) in our lives, as it is these events that challenge us and force us to step out of our comfort zone. If we ignore or hide away from the challenge of change, we deny ourselves the opportunity to learn and grow.

“To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.” —Henri Bergson

Our resilience in life can only grow stronger when we embrace change and manage these challenges in a positive way, rather than hide away and ignore the opportunities that change can bring to our lives.

There is no escaping the impact that change can bring into in your life. Managing change in life is key to living a life where you are not only surviving but thriving as well.

5 Strategies for Adapting to Change

These 5 strategies below are the key steps that will enable you to adapt and successfully manage change in your life.

1. Changing Your Mindset – Your Power Choice

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything”.— George Bernard Shaw

We like to live our lives in our comfort zone. Our subconscious likes this because it is the “known”. Embracing change is stepping into the unknown and our subconscious will does not like the “unknown.” so it will resist.

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Our fear and self-limiting beliefs will kick into action when we are faced with the disruptive consequences of change. There is no escaping the fact that change is a disruptor and it feels uncomfortable and scary. However, it is our power of choice that enables us to activate positive change in our lives.

We cannot control the events of change in our life, but we can control how we react to the impact that these events have on our lives.

“Life is about choices. Some we regret, some we’re proud of. Some will haunt us forever. The message: we are what we chose to be.” — Graham Brown

The more you use your power of choice and the more you focus your mindset on positively adapting to change, the more resilient you will be to dealing with impact that change will bring to your life.

2. Find Meaning In Life

“Step out of your comfort zone. Comfort zones, where your unrealized dreams are buried, are the enemies of achievement. Leadership begins when you step outside your comfort zone.” ― Roy T. Bennett

Knowing what is important in your life gives you purpose and sets the direction of how you want to live your life. With a sense of purpose and meaning in life, you have clarity and focus and both these elements are essential to you being able to successfully adapt and manage the impact of change in your life.

Having no purpose or meaning means that you tend to drift in life within the confines of your comfort zone. Purpose and meaning in life gives you the courage to step out of your comfort zone – which is where you will find change and the opportunities it can offer to you.

3. Let Go of Your Regrets

The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.” – Steve Maraboli

Regrets have a huge impact on how you respond to change and they hold you back in life. Letting go of your regrets is key to you being able to move forward in life.

It is the events of change that present opportunities in life, so if are looking back at your past you may miss the opportunities of the present and the future.

You cannot change what you did or did not do in the past so let it go. The only control you have now is to choose to live in your present and future life.

A great exercise to deal with regrets in life is to blow up a heap of balloons and on each balloon write a regret. Then, let the balloon go. As the balloon drifts off, out loud say goodbye to that regret.

Very simple but an effective way of dealing with the pile of regrets that you have collected in your lives.

4. Write a List of Scary Things to Do – Then Go Do Them

Change is scary and it is all about stepping out of your comfort zone into the unknown. Our subconscious needs to get familiar with us stepping out of a comfort zone and doing scary things. In fact we want to train our subconscious into believing that stepping out of our comfort zone and doing scary things is a normal thing for us to do.

Make a list of scary things that you would like to do but have been too afraid to. Put a plan in place and then go do them. Go have fun, challenge yourself and get yourself use to the feeling of being scared and stepping into the unknown.

Public speaking is one of the most frightening things for me and for many other people to do. To overcome my fear of public speaking, I joined Toast Masters My first speech I gave was a nightmare. My knees were knocking (didn’t know that was possible – but it is!) and I broke out in a sweat and my voice was a whisper when I started my speech.

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I got through it and though it wasn’t the greatest speech the exhilaration of actually overcoming my fear was amazing. I kept going and know enjoy public speaking so much that I jump at any opportunity to speak.

5. Focus on Living a Balanced and Healthy Life

“To keep the body in good health is a duty…otherwise we shall not be able to keep the mind strong and clear.” – Buddha

Living a balanced and healthy active life builds our resilience and ability to successfully manage the disruption that change can have on our lives.

Stress is a normal response to dealing with changes and challenges in daily life. In the short term, stress can help you perform better under pressure, but constant stress can pose problems for your health.

Finding positive ways to deal with the stress and pressure that we face daily is key to our survival on both a physical and emotional level.

Some healthy lifestyle actions you can use to successfully manage change and disruption in your life are:

There are many more things you can to do to live a health balanced life. The key is that you commit to activities that enable you to be resilient, optimitic, physically and mentally fit to successful work through the impact that change can bring to your life.

Final Thoughts

We all desire to live successful, happy and long lives. To achieve what we all desire we need to be proactive about how we mange the change we face in our lives.

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Denial and resisting change will only result in you living a miserable life. This is why it is so important to learn how to be adaptable, resilient and bold in life because these 3 things are key to you successfully adapting to the constant impact that change will have on your life.

More to Help You Adapt Change

Featured photo credit: diana spatariu via unsplash.com

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Kathryn Sandford

Career Resilience Coach passionate about supporting others to grow and thrive in a complex world.

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Published on February 14, 2020

5 Ways to Help You Get Through Depression

5 Ways to Help You Get Through Depression

Don’t let the feelings you feel and thoughts you think overtake your well being. Easier said than done, right? In general, we have control over only so much. But the question is, how to not be depressed?

In life, you need to process things authentically but not get stuck in them. That means it’s okay to feel what you feel as long as you don’t stay there forever. That’s the goal of emotional regulation, but many people get stuck. They stay there in negative or difficult emotions. They can start to fall into a depression

Depression can feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders. You might even feel a heaviness in your chest. It can show up for people differently.

There’s high functioning depression where on the outside, you appear okay, but in reality, you are falling apart. And then there’s the debilitating depression where it’s hard to get out of bed. How not to be depressed may come up in your mind many times if you’ve been in this state.

The answer is that for everyone, it’s a little bit different. Overall, it’s sadness or even a numbness from emotional overload that simply won’t go away.

According to American Psychiatric Association,[1]

“Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or loss of interest in activities once enjoyed.”

For a formal diagnosis of depression, it must last at least two weeks.

But anyone can have depressed days. It can happen to people of all different lifestyles, backgrounds, attitudes and more. Attitude, in fact, has nothing to do with it. It’s not about the will power. It’s about resilience. You can’t just will yourself out of depression, but you can seek treatment and find ways to get through it.

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Here are five ways on how to not be depressed:

1. Understand It’s Not Your Fault

Being “normal” or “perfect” is a myth. We all experience difficult times and difficult emotions. But when experiencing depression, one can feel isolated in their thoughts and feelings which if unchecked or untreated can lead to suicidal ideations. That’s why depression is so important to act upon rather than let linger.

Negative feelings will always come up. No one can walk around full of sunshine and happiness 24/7. We all get worn down. We all experience losses. We all need rest.

But when negative feelings overtake you, when you can’t face the real world because of the sadness or difficult emotions you are feeling, that’s when it can turn into depression.

We are a society that wants instant gratification. With that “fix it now mentality” we find it even harder to overcome our depression and find instead that we are masking our own feelings. It doesn’t just go away. There’s no quick fix on how to not be depressed, as much as we want there to be one.

There are many causes of depression and many misconceptions about it as well. Namely, people think it’s an attitude thing or ungratefulness towards life. But there are many factors like genetics, chemical imbalance, stress, loss, trauma and more. “Snapping out if it” is not always possible. Read this article to read more about other factors that affects depression: Why Do I Feel Depressed Every Once in a While for No Reason?

2. Self Care Instead of Spiral

It’s time to invest in yourself. Maybe you’ve been pouring it all into others, into your duties, your activities, your efforts for success. Maybe you’ve just kept going, white-knuckling as you go rather than processing to feel or think or simply be. That’s why scheduling self care in your life is so important.

When you’re feeling depressed, you also are feeling disconnected. Most of all, you’re feeling disconnected from yourself. You suffer in silence so the world will not judge you for it. But when you start to love yourself, you start to grow.

Self care can be many things. It can be walking the dog, taking a shower, writing in a journal, expressing yourself in any way or helping someone else in need can even be a way back to loving yourself.

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Make a list of things you can do that are simple, that can help you how to not be depressed by connect with yourself when you feel detached, lonely, isolated and drained, the many symptoms of depression. This plan will help how to not be depressed and to adopt self care in the face of struggle rather than to spiral.

If you have to start somewhere, start in self love. That’s what self care is really all about. You are showing up to face the day because you love yourself. Because you matter. This doesn’t mean you have to face everything. You don’t have to figure it all out. You just have to meet yourself where you are and simply show up.

Put yourself first. Self advocate your needs whether it be with friends, family or a mental health/medical provider. This is where you need to stand tall the most because only you know what you’re going through. Only you know what it means to be you.

3. Know You’re Not Alone

What you’ll find when you practice self advocacy is that people actually want to help. Ask for help in these times. It doesn’t mean everyone is trained to handle your struggle, or that they can relate or that they are emotionally equipped to respond. But you can assess your needs and theirs and see if someone can simply be a support. You can also research support groups that may more appropriately fit your needs.

Reach out to a professional on how to not be depressed. You may be able to meet with someone who is trained in order to help you. They are meant to help you and are able to handle the emotional depth of what you are struggling with.

Someone who has high functioning depression may be harder to track for depression. But open conversations make it possible to figure out the signs that anyone could be experiencing. Speaking out about it may even deepen current relationships. It may lead to transparency and a renewal of a relationship.

If anything, talking to a trained professional or crisis line may help you navigate how to not be depressed the most. For example, The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.

When you feel it is on the verge of taking over, come up with a crisis plan and contacts in preventative measures. In advance, come up with a list of people you trust or someone who could even take you to the Emergency Room if you are starting to spiral to suicidal ideations.

Write down a list of signs and symptoms you have experienced when feeling depressed, to help communicate this to others. Rate your mood on a scale of one to ten on a daily basis to gauge what you are feeling generally. This will help you communicate to a doctor the level of severity you are experiencing depression and help you navigate whether it is a crisis.[2]

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4. Get Proactive Rather Than Reactive

Reactivity is when you act on impulses and over identify with your emotional state. Alternatively, you may be acting productive to cover the painful emotions and thoughts to detach, but that is not the same thing as being proactive. Being proactive means you process things better and decide to be positive despite the negative experience. That’s because of the mindset you choose.

Become solution oriented. Become gratitude driven. Become someone who focuses on the good.

Use what is happening for something greater than yourself, whether it be a project, a personal connection or a new path that you can find purpose in. You don’t have to necessarily “fix it” overnight. But you can use it.

Create something that brings light into your darkness. Tell someone you love them. Do a small act of kindness. Figure out what your needs are and seek to meet them. Learn to listen to the silence and meditate rather than avoid it. Be present, be mindful in actions taken. When you are doing simple acts such as cleaning, take deep breaths and meditate. In any activity, you can become mindful. You can become awake.

Become purposeful in what you think about. Think about what you look forward to tomorrow. And be kind to yourself while you’re at it. Trust your instincts. Know that you are good, you are worthy. Depression does not have to define you. Nothing that happens to you defines you. What defines you is your character, your attitude, your will, the way you treat others. When you understand that, you can move forward.

5. Honor Your Truth

There is something sacred about sharing and honoring your story. Bring light to the darkness by speaking up. Your voice matters. Being here matters. Putting it out there relieves you of shame and removes the influence of stigma from your self discovery journey. It is here that we can truly find ourselves at peace: Acceptance.

Cheryl Strayed says,[3]

“Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be. Sometimes you’ll put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you’ll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go. Acceptance is a small, quiet room.”

You are not stuck here. This isn’t the end, this just the beginning. While it’s good to accept your feelings as valid, it’s also important to recognize when they may be misleading you. You can use your situation to shed light on mental health issues and use it to connect yourself to others too who may need your insights.

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Kevin Hines struggles with bipolar disorder, and he found a way how to not be depressed and use his story of a suicide attempt to spread awareness of mental illness. He also advocates for changes in the mental health system and strategies we use.[4]

You can rise again too. Today isn’t your last day. Reach out. Ask for help. Do good so you can feel good. And let yourself be seen. You can still feel fulfilled and appreciate life when experiencing a difficult time. The step on how to not be depressed takes courage. That is what will pull you through. That is what resilience looks like.

Final Thoughts

How to not be depressed is not about repression or masking one’s feelings. It’s about processing your reality in such a way that you can cope with it. It starts with self love and acceptance.

The worst thing you can do when depressed is judge yourself for it. You are human. You are going to feel. When those feelings take over, you need help. It’s not your fault. If depression doesn’t pass, it’s time to reach out for help. The work on yourself how to not be depressed is lifelong and should be a profound and powerful process.

You are brave, you are a survivor, you are worth saving. Hold space for yourself and others with feelings that are difficult. As you would just listen and not judge someone else, do this for yourself. Then, you find that the days get lighter and the life you had returns to you.

Honor your feelings, but do not detach from life. It is worth it to stay. It is worth it to be here. It is worth it to know you in this life, so stay.

Featured photo credit: Cristian Newman via unsplash.com

Reference

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