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How to deal with big changes in your life

"UGH! This is going to be so different. I'm nervous that it won't work."

"No. I'm not going to do it. They can tell me to adopt this new (insert unwanted change here), but I'm going to keep doing it my way. It's worked for me so far."

"I'm excited! But not at the same time..."

These and similar thoughts cross many people's minds when they are faced with an upcoming change, whether it was their idea or not. Dealing with change is hard. It makes sense that many people would try to avoid avoidable pain and continue to do things the way they have been doing them. As human begins, we tend to gravitate more towards what we know and what is comfortable. When something changes, it isn't comfortable, so often times we try to avoid it, resist it, or prolong it. However, when we are stuck in certain ways, it doesn't leave much room for growth and often times we end up experiencing pain anyway as we resist certain inevitable changes. If you are willing to try something that may help make the change easier, continue reading. I've complied a list of things that other people have tried when they were faced with big changes and reported being extremely helpful. While they may not all work for you, there may be at least one that does.

1. Breathe. When we begin to stress about the change, our breathing gets more shallow, thus restricting oxygen flow, tightening muscles, and creating the illusion that we are more stressed out than we actually are.

2. Create a plan. Have you ever heard the quote, “Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere”. ― Erma Bombeck? When we worry without a plan, we tend to think worst case scenario and often times this leaves us stunted and less motivated to move forward. If you can make the time to sit down and create 'sub-goals' (or tasks of what you are going to do to reach your goal and when you're going to do them), you'll reach your goal much faster.

3. Be open minded. Yes, the way you were doing it before worked, so why change it, right? While it may still work, it may not suit you anymore the way it once did. We grow with the more experience we have. So how is it possible that what we did in the beginning when we had less experience, is 100% of the time still going to suit us now that we have more knowledge? It is quite possible that it still does, but isn't it also possible that it no longer does and there is another way of doing it that may work better? This leads me to number 4...

4. Make a pro/con list. I know - this is so cliche. But for many people, it really works. Being able to visually see what worked in the beginning, what still works now, and what is no longer working, can be eye opening.

5. Ask for help. It is okay to talk it out with someone. It might not seem like a fun option because "then they will know I'm bothered" - but often times when we hear out loud what our thoughts are on the subject, it can help us make decisions on a whole new level. Of course, it also helps to get feedback and opinions from the friends, family, and perhaps therapist that are in your life as well. They can sometimes provide us with perspectives we did not originally see.

6. Take care of yourself. If you are one of those people who are physically affected by stress, and many of us are, this is especially for you. When we get wrapped up in change, we can forget to eat, get the right amount of sleep, and take time to do things we enjoy because we feel pressured to get it done as fast as we can. This can result in headaches, stomach aches, and irritability. Anytime there are more negative side effects to the change we were already dreading, physical ailments makes it much worse. Don't do that to yourself. It's not worth it. Refer back to number two - make a schedule, and include time for yourself. Go get coffee with a friend, go for a walk, meditate, watch your favorite movie, or go to bed early. You'll thank yourself later.

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