It is human nature to resist change. We feel comfortable with the predictability of sameness. Some people dread change because they fear losing control, being abandoned, having to assume too much responsibility, or fear of the unknown. Yet change is always occurring in our lives. It is how we deal with these changes that will ultimately determine our acceptance and personal happiness.
We can predict that changes dealing with loss will be inherently difficult. Yet, even changes in our lives that are associated with great joy, such as the birth of a new baby, a promotion, and purchasing a new home, can result in unsettled feelings.
The positive aspect of experiencing stress from life transitions is that we are more keenly aware that our lives are moving in a new direction. This increased awareness offers us the opportunity to reassess our goals, and make determinations if they are in line with our personal values.
The key variable for successfully transitioning through change is to face your fears. This serves to take some of the uncertainty about the unknowns away from the issue at hand, and in turn, empower you. Identify the goals you are aiming towards. This vision will help you as you gradually let go of the familiar past and move towards the untried future.
As the changes start to occur, accept that you may experience a range of feelings, including self-doubt, anger, and anxiety. These uncomfortable feelings will be temporary and can be relieved to an extent by developing a support system as you make the desired transitions. Avoid turning to drug, alcohol or food when encountering emotionally stressful feelings. Rather, make a list of reliable, non-judgmental people you trust (family, friends, clergy, professionals, colleagues) to whom you can turn if needed. Be kind to yourself as you go through these changes. Talking about your feelings will help you remain in control and stay focused on making the changes. Some people find the act of journaling – writing their feelings and thoughts down on paper – to be helpful. Be sure to schedule in time to unwind daily.
Be fair to yourself. You are not super human. Take time to rest and relax. When you have successfully transitioned past this significant change in your life, jot down notes on what you did that made it smoother, and what steps you took that hindered the process. You will have learned a lot about yourself and coping with trying times; all skills you now possess and from which you can derive comfort next time you encounter a significant life changing event.