Psychologist Robert Epstein surveyed people and found that 25% of happiness depends on how well you manage stress(1). Thus, you can directly control a large portion of happiness simply by reducing your stress levels. Learning how to adapt to change is crucial as it helps alleviate stress.
Adapting to change can be tricky. Some changes are exciting and fun, while others are scary and uncomfortable. However, the brain sees change as a single entity and triggers your stress response to combat the pressure it exerts on you. Understanding change and adapting to it can be both a psychological and physical process.
Adapting to change is crucial to keep your cortisol levels low and increase your resilience. Here are four top ways.
Take some time to process.
It’s completely natural to experience a range of emotions when faced with change- anxiousness, worry, and anger. Embracing these emotions and allowing yourself to acknowledge them is a healthy way to navigate through transitions. Take the time to process your feelings authentically. Writing them down is a great way to get your emotions out healthily- it’s much better than barking at your kids or coworkers.
Understand the cause of the change.
Sometimes, you may find yourself in situations where change happens unexpectedly, and you’re forced to adapt without much opportunity to question it. At other times, you can take a step back and assess the situation healthily and objectively. You can ask yourself, “What is the reasoning behind this change or decision?” Even if you may not initially like the answer, it can be empowering to acknowledge the reasons behind the shift causing you some distress.
Take a moment to view the situation from a different perspective. Have a conversation with yourself. Walk through the reasons for the change. For instance, you might say, “Even though I may not be thrilled about the change in managerial staff, it makes sense from a business perspective. While I preferred having Frank as my manager, I can see that Tammy’s experience and tenure make her better equipped to lead our team. I might feel apprehensive, but I understand why this change occurred.”
Tackle the problem with an action plan.
In the face of change, taking action is crucial. It’s common to feel overwhelmed when change occurs, and you have the power to influence the situation by proactively planning and taking steps forward.
Develop a specific action plan tailored to the change you’re experiencing. This plan includes clear, achievable goals and a timeline for accomplishing them. Doing this gives you a sense of control and direction, which helps alleviate the anxiety and uncertainty associated with change.
Having a well-thought-out action plan empowers you and provides a roadmap for navigating the transition. It allows you to break down the change into manageable steps, making the adaptation process smoother and more manageable. So, when change comes your way, don’t hesitate to take charge and create a plan to help you move forward confidently and purposefully.
Talk about it.
In times of change, it’s crucial to lean on someone you trust, whether a close friend, a family member, or a therapist. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with them can provide much-needed support and empathy. It’s like having a lifeline to help you navigate the challenges that change often brings.
Remember, communication is the key to managing change effectively. By sharing your experiences and seeking support from trusted individuals, you alleviate feelings of isolation and set the stage for personal growth and resilience. So, don’t hesitate to contact someone you trust when facing change; it can make the journey smoother and less daunting.
- Pelaez, M. (2011) Plan You Way to Less Stress, More Happiness. Time. May.