A few weeks ago, I wrote Clearing the Clouds: How to Cope with Panic, where I delved into the financial aspects of running my own business and shared some of the tactics I'd been using to make the most of a difficult time. Since then, I've had the great fortune to be connected with a number of companies and opportunities. (It's amazing what a little bit of time can do!) I'm thrilled about the opportunities that have come my way, but with new opportunities comes change — and, even when change is positive, it can be difficult to cope with.
Change is an inevitable fact of life, but knowing that doesn't make it easier to deal with if you're a fan of routine and consistency. Even positive change — like an exciting new job opportunity, going to a new school, or moving to a new place — can be a challenge. And, in some ways, positive change can be more challenging in some ways. One, because it's often something you've chosen, which can make you wonder, Am I doing the right thing? And, two, because the change is good, it can be even more difficult to address the less-than-positive emotions that might come with it. You might feel as if you should only be excited and optimistic when you might, in fact, be feeling a little anxious or scared, too.
No matter how good a change might be, I always find myself feeling overwhelmed and anxious about it. Here are some of the best ways I've found for coping with these feelings so I can make the most of the good things coming my way!
KEEP AN OPEN MIND.
One of my most popular blog post is 7 Benefits of Being Open-Minded, and that always makes me so happy because I think it's so important to keep an open mind, no matter what you're going through. When it comes to coping with change — positive or negative — and open mind is essential. You never know what's going to happen, and being open to anything will make everything you encounter, good and bad, easier to cope with. When facing positive change, it's tempting to imagine all the ways things could go wrong, but I've found that combatting these thoughts with positive possibilities (or even just a "let's see what happens!" mentality) really helps.
CONTEMPLATE THE PAST.
I know, this isn't usually my go-to advice, but I've found it really helpful to look back at changes I've faced in the past and reflect on what they brought to my life. For example, when I went from my first to second job, I was really nervous about the change, but it led to so many great opportunities and one of the best friendships of my life. Had I not accepted that job and been brave enough to choose change, I would have missed out on so much. Contemplating the past changes not only helps you recall the positive aspects of life that have happened as a result of changes, but it'll also remind you that you've conquered change before. You're braver than you think!
PRACTICE LETTING GO.
Nothing is forever. Even if you're like me and you love your routines, you won't always have them (no matter how much you might want to!). Positive change is the perfect time to practice letting go, a skill you'll need throughout your life, in good times and in bad. Things are going to change, but you don't have to always think of this as a bad thing. Rather than focusing on what you'll have to change, use positive change as an opportunity to figure out what you can change. Letting go of routines can be a really wonderful thing, and one of the best times to practice letting go is when you're in the midst of a positive change. Also, focusing on choosing to let go instead of having to let go is super helpful.
EMBRACE THE UNCOMFORTABLE.
Change, even of the good variety, is uncomfortable. Like most people, I generally try to avoid being uncomfortable. But, if I'm honest, the times when I grow and learn and experience the most are the times when I force myself out of my comfort zone. So, instead of thinking, Ugh, I'm so out of my element right now. I wish I was doing what I'm used to doing, I try to shift my mindset and think, This isn't what I'm used to, but what can I learn from it? How do I actually feel about it? Sometimes I find that, when I ask myself this question, I realize that I'm not actually uncomfortable, but, instead, think I should be uncomfortable so I've made myself feel that way. The mind is powerful, and if you choose to embrace being uncomfortable, you'll most likely find that it's not actually as unsettling as you told yourself it was.
DON'T STRESS ABOUT STRESSING.
One of the most important things I've been doing lately is reminding myself that, when it comes to times of change, it's okay to be a little stressed. It's not okay to make it worse by stressing about the fact that I'm stressing. See, when it comes to good change, we often tell ourselves that we should be happy and not stressed. As a result, we may make the stress worse by thinking we shouldn't be experiencing it. But change, no matter where it comes from, is unsettling. It shakes up our lives, even if it's the good kind of shake-up. And it's okay (and normal!) to feel stressed. Instead of resisting stress, I've been striving to face the feelings head-on, and doing so has made them so much easier to cope with!
If you're going through change — either the good or the bad kind — I hope these tips will help you make the most of your situation. If you have any additional tips or advice for going through times of change, I'd love hear them in the comments section below!