Many of the most stressful situations we go through in our life involve change of some sort: moving house, starting a new course of study or a new job, ending a relationship, etc. In one way, humans are wired for change as we are constantly evolving, but in other ways, we tend to resist and struggle with it, even when we know it’s necessary and can see the benefits.
So what are some strategies we can use to make it easier for ourselves?
Be clear about what needs to change and what doesn’t
It helps to have some familiar routines, things or people around when other things are changing. For example, say a long-term relationship has just ended. You’ll get through it more easily if you stick to your normal study and exercise routine, and stay in contact with family and friends who can support you, rather than wallowing in misery alone in your room.
Figure out what your change pattern is and work with that
Some people are great at just diving in to new things and others need information before they feel safe to make a change. If you’re the first type, just do it and work out the next step from there. If you’re the second, research as much as you can before you make the change. For example, if you’re moving to a new town to study, get a map of the area and check out the places you’ll be frequenting, like where the campus and your digs are. Google the best coffee shops and activities in that area. Even though it may still be scary, it will be easier if you know what to expect.
Connect with someone else who has made the same, or a similar, change
Having someone with whom you can commiserate on the difficulties and get excited about the possibilities makes a big difference. If you can’t find a ‘real live’ person, look for a community online. People who have done it before you or who are going through the same thing now will understand and may even be able to offer advice. Exchanging different perspectives and ideas is a powerful way of moving into something new.
They say a change can be as good as a holiday, so make it work for you!
Image credit: Live Life Happy via Flickr