We all have to face change. Whether it is forced on us by such things as a relationship break-up or illness or if, more positively we decide to make that change by choice, change is never easy and will often need time for adjustment. We actually face change more often than we think but the bigger changes are the ones that clearly have more impact.
Transition and change are a part of life and the human experience, come in many forms and can be sudden or gradually evolving, stressful, pleasurable, or a mixture of both! We change our relationships, jobs, where we live, sometimes our values and beliefs, our goals in life; as well as changes in health. With transition and change comes some type of adjustment and roles and responsibilities can change with changing life circumstances. The more organic transitions in life are obvious, the cycle from birth to death for example. In fact all of life is made up of “little deaths”. As we transition through life we let go of childhood for adolescence, through to old age.
There are many positive aspects to change, these include, new experiences and opportunities, stimulation for new ideas and ways of thinking, new strengths such as more self-confidence and change helps to prioritise and problem solve. There can be many different emotions and feelings associated with change and transition depending on life experience, situation and circumstances. Some of these might be: fear of the unknown, stress and/or anxiety, depression or anger. Often we find it hard to associate these feelings with the change such is the impact on us but many people experience typical symptoms associated with these feelings or emotions such as: tiredness or lack of sleep, lack of concentration, feeling pessimistic and feeling overwhelmed.
The feeling of being overwhelmed is something very common to change as we transition through from one phase in our life to another. It is also a dangerous phase if not handled correctly as new experiences take over. Especially when the change is sudden or forced upon us, the world can seem a very different place as everything we knew and took for granted appears to be diminishing before our eyes.There are a few simple steps that can help to reduce the impact of transition:
- Stay flexible. Keeping to a rigid routine during change will likely bring disappointment.
- Care for your physical and emotional health.
- Maintain your life flow by keeping some kind of “routine”.
- Stay in touch with friends and social networks.
- Use stress reduction techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, breathing exercises.
- Start a wish list of new plans and goals to fit your new circumstances.
- Embrace the new changes and look for the positive.
- Take it one step at a time. This is very important.
- Smaller goals can seem less overwhelming, so identify these.
- Keep your sense of humour.
- Talk to helpful people, such as a counsellor or someone you can trust.
We cannot avoid change, it is a necessary part of our lives and helps to build resilience physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually. Even though change at times can be painful and difficult we can usually find something positive from the experience if we look for it and it should never be forgotten that even in the worst possible circumstances, there may well be opportunities waiting for us.