There are really two options, you can resist the change and fight against it, which creates stress, anxiety, frustration and a sense of powerlessness.
The second option is to embrace the change and move forward, even if it’s not what you want, to open yourself up to new possibilities.
In this article I’ll share 10 of the strategies that I’ve found to be helpful when it comes to coping with and learning to embrace change.
How to Benefit From Change
Coping with change isn’t always easy, but I’ve learned to embrace it because I know that change is the only way to learn, grow and become a better version of myself.
Life becomes better and more fulfilling when you do embrace change, and these strategies will help:
- Step 1: Accept the situation
People often make the mistake of thinking that accepting something means giving in and doing nothing. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Accepting does not mean doing nothing. If you don’t accept what’s happening you’ll be in resistance. Resisting what’s happening is what causes the most pain, stress, and worry.
You may be resisting the change because it’s not what you want and you think it shouldn’t be happening. But it is happening. Accept the situation, even if it doesn’t feel good. It is what it is.
The situation cannot change until you do accept it. You can say “this is happening and I don’t like it,” that’s fine. You are still acknowledging that it is, in fact, happening.
Perhaps you don’t like the word acceptance - in which case, choose another word that feels better. Perhaps ‘acknowledge the situation’ would work better for you.
- Step 2: Be aware of ‘the voice’
How do you accept a situation when it’s not what you want? You can start by noticing the voice in your head when it complains and resists. It’s important to acknowledge it and recognize that you can choose to let the voice take over or you can choose to focus on what you can do and what can be positive about the situation, rather than on what you can’t do and what you don’t like about it.
The voice will pop up from time to time. It’s always your choice whether to follow it or not and sometimes it’s easier than others.
It’s not about ignoring it, or trying to force yourself to be positive. Rather, you acknowledge the thoughts, and acknowledge that you’re afraid, worried, sad, etc., and then choose to look for thoughts that are more constructive and supportive, instead of letting that voice take over.
- Step 3: Acknowledge how you feel
Just as you must acknowledge your thoughts and ‘the voice’ in your head, it’s also important to acknowledge how you feel. It’s no good trying to put a positive spin on it and pretend that you feel great about it. Be honest about the fact that you’d rather this wasn’t happening at this particular time. Acknowledge that you don’t know what to do.
All you can do is notice when any discomfort arises and recognize what it is that you’re feeling (stress, anxiety, worry, etc.) Notice where you feel it in your body and put your attention on it. When you recognize it and allow yourself to feel it, then eventually it passes. If you try to ignore what you’re feeling, you’ll feel a lot worse and it will affect your ability to find clarity and solutions.
- Step 4: Know what you want – intention
Rather than focusing exclusively on what you don’t want (this situation/change), put more energy into what you do want.
You get more of what you put your energy and thoughts towards. So if you only focus on the fact that ‘this shouldn’t be happening,’ or ‘this isn’t fair,’ you’ll stay stuck much longer and feel worse.
Instead, think about what you DO want. What would be an acceptable or more positive outcome. How do you want to feel? What experience would you rather have? Put some energy into those thoughts and you’ll move yourself in a better direction.
- Step 5: Detach
This is the step that is often the most difficult. Once you set your intention and, perhaps you have an idea of what you can do to get there, you have to detach from the outcome and from how it happens.
Why? The more attached you are to the outcome, the more you can block yourself energetically from receiving it. If you’re too attached you’re setting yourself up for disappointment if you don’t get exactly what you want in the way that you want it.
Detaching from the outcome allows for the possibility that things can work out even better than you had imagined.
- Step 6: Take inspired action
Most of us feel best when we’re doing something. If you’re not taking action of some kind then the voice in your head wants to tell you about all the things that you ‘could’ and ‘should’ be doing. However, running around just doing things for the sake of doing things is exhausting and doesn’t get you anywhere. It’s also more likely to block you from getting what you want, because you can be so busy doing that you miss an opportunity.
When you are acknowledging your situation, and your mind is calm and focused on what you want, that’s when clarity can come to you about what steps you can take. It’s much better to take calm, focused, inspired action than to run around doing things just because you think you should.
- Step 7: Monitor your energy
As you go through a process of change like this, particularly when it’s something you hadn’t planned, you’ll find that you have periods when you feel really positive and inspired and your energy feels great. There also may be times when you feel overwhelmed, when it all feels difficult and you can’t see how you can possibly have a positive outcome.
The most important thing is to notice when your energy gets low, and when you feel worried, anxious or overwhelmed. Notice it, and see if you can discover what’s really behind it. Allow yourself to feel it and then when you’re ready you can let it go.
- Step 8: Stay away from negative people
This can be hard because sometimes the negative people are those who are closest to us. They may not mean to be unhelpful or negative, but they want to tell you of their experience or the experience of someone they know, or they want to tell you what you ‘should’ be doing or how your way isn’t the right way, or how you should be feeling.
You must trust yourself. You are the only one who knows what is right for you. Yes, you can ask for help and you can ask for input from others, but ultimately you are the only one who can decide what is right for you. Trust yourself.
- Step 9: Know that a breakthrough is near
If you look back at your life, you’ll realize that your biggest breakthroughs came as a result of difficult change. The more uncomfortable you feel, and the more difficult the situation feels, the bigger the breakthrough will be.
Remind yourself that what you are experiencing is temporary. This will not last forever. Tell yourself that you are willing to move on and work on staying as calm and focused as possible. The more you can do this, the sooner the breakthroughs will come.
- Step 10: Accept that change is inevitable
If there’s one thing you can be certain of in life, it’s that things can and will change. Things never stay the same. Life is always moving and changing. You can either embrace change and actively seek it, or you can resist it and try to fight a losing battle. It’s your choice.
Remember that resistance to change is what causes the most stress and anxiety. Resistance is what makes you feel that change is unbearable.
Don’t give your power away to situations or to other people. These strategies will empower you to take control of your own experience.