Life changes are constant. Whether it’s in the workplace or our relationships, nothing in life ever remains the same for long.
Regardless of the gravity of change, it can always be a little scary. So scary, in fact, that some people are downright crippled by the idea of it, causing them to remain stagnant through anxiety.
Have you ever noticed how much of life’s transitional periods are riddled with anxious vibes? The quarter life crisis, the mid-life crisis, cold feet before getting married, retirement anxiety, and teenage angst are just a few examples of transitional periods when people tend to panic.
We can’t control every aspect of our lives, and we can’t stop change from happening. However, how we respond to change will greatly affect our overall life experience.
Here are 4 ways you can approach life changes in a positive way.
1. Don’t Fight It
I once heard one of my favorite yoga instructors say “Suffering is what occurs when we resist what is already happening.” The lesson has stuck with me ever since.
Life changes are usually out of our control. Rather than trying to manipulate the situation and wishing things were different, try flowing with it instead.
Of course, some initial resistance is natural if we’re going into survival mode. Just make sure you are conscious of when this resistance is no longer serving you.
If you’re feeling anxious about impending life changes, it’s time to practice some techniques to address the anxiety directly. These can include meditation, exercise, talking with friends about how you’re feeling, or journaling.
If you’re worried about a big life change, such as starting a new job or moving in with your partner, do your best to control your expectations. It may help you to talk with people you know about their experiences going through similar changes. This will help you form a realistic picture in your mind of what things will look like post-change.
2. Find Healthy Ways to Deal With Feelings
Whenever we’re in transitional periods, it can be easy to lose track of ourselves. Sometimes we feel like we’re being tossed about by life and like we’ve lost our footing, causing some very uncomfortable feelings to arise.
One way we can channel these feelings is by finding healthy ways to release them. For instance, whenever I find myself in a difficult transitional phase, I end up in a mixed martial arts studio.
The physical activity helps me channel my emotions and release endorphins. It also helps me get in shape, which generally increases my mood and energy levels.
Exercise is important in cultivating positive emotions, but if you’re struggling with anxiety in particular, it’s important to cultivate a regular exercise routine as opposed to a one-off workout. One study found that “Aerobic exercise can promote increase in anxiety acutely and regular aerobic exercise promotes reduction in anxiety levels”.
If exercise isn’t your thing, there are other, less intense ways of cultivating positive emotions and reducing anxiety around life changes. You can try stretching, meditating, reading in nature, spending time with family and friends, or cooking a healthy meal.
Find what makes you feel good and helps you ground yourself in the present moment.
3. Reframe Your Perspective
Reframing perspectives is a very powerful tool used in life coaching. It helps clients take a situation they are struggling with, such as a major life change, and find some sort of empowerment in it.
Some examples of disempowered thinking during life changes include casting blame, focusing on negative details, or victimizing. These perspectives can make awkward transitional phases much worse than they have to be.
Meanwhile, if we utilize a more positive perspective, such as finding a lesson in the situation, realizing that there may be an opportunity for something, or that everything passes, we can come from a greater place of ease.
4. Find Time for Self-Reflection
Having time to reflect is important at any stage in your life, but it’s especially important during transitional periods. It’s quite simple really: we need our time to step back and get centered when things get a little crazy.
As a result, big life changes are perfect for doing some self-reflection. They are opportunities to check in with ourselves and practice getting grounded for a few minutes.
Take a look at this reflective cycle adapted from Glibb’s Self-reflection guide (1988):
Self-reflective exercises include meditating, yoga or journaling, all of which require some quiet time to get yourself together.
One study found that journal improves “self-efficacy, locus of control, and learning”. A healthy sense of self-control can make the process of change easier to bear, so that in itself is a great reason to try self-reflection through journaling.
To learn how to start journaling, you can check out this article.
Big life changes may rock us for a little while, but they don’t have to be as bad as we initially perceive them. If handled in a positive manner, transitional periods can pave the way for some serious self-growth, reflection, and awareness.
Cultivate a sense of positivity and find ways to diminish the anxiety around life changes. Once you make it to the other side, you’ll be grateful that you made it through in the best way possible.
More Tips on Facing Life Changes
- How to Make Changes in Life To Be the Best Version of You
- Adapting to Change: Why It Matters and How to Do It
- 11 Tips for Maintaining a Positive Attitude
Featured photo credit: Alora Griffiths via unsplash.com
|||^||Indeed: How to Overcome New Job Nerves: Steps and Tips|
|||^||Clinical Practice & Epidemiology in Mental Health: Effects of Aerobic Exercise on Anxiety Symptoms and Cortical Activity in Patients with Panic Disorder: A Pilot Study|
|||^||Healthline: How to Identify and Deal with a Victim Mentality|
|||^||Research Gate: Glibb’s Self-reflection guide (1988)|
|||^||TinyBuddha: How to Come Home to Yourself|
|||^||A Journal of Scholarly Teaching: Impact of Journaling on Students’ Self-Efficacy and Locus of Control|