By Ava Roman
Change is a certainty. You grow older every year and experience new phases of life—a career change, a big move, additions to your family. Anything new can be scary. Here are some ways to keep your mind focused on the bright side when coping with change.
1. Remember Your Blessings
When you’re feeling hopeless because of an unwanted change, think of the things that lift your spirits. What do you live for? Your family might be your answer, as could friends or hobbies. Think of every little thing you’re grateful for, from the relationships in your life to the comforts of home. Keeping your blessings in mind can help you weather any storm, no matter how difficult.
You might consider documenting your blessings in a gratitude journal. Writing can relieve some of your stress, and gratitude journaling helps with staying positive. There’s science behind this, too. Those who practice gratitude are shown to have better mental health than those who don’t. Remind yourself daily to appreciate all the good in your life.
2. Find a Reason to Smile
Even if it’s the tiniest, seemingly most insignificant thing, if it makes you smile, then it’s worth pursuing. Buy something online that makes you happy. Even an inanimate object like a new pair of shoes or a jigsaw puzzle can make you smile.
Look deeper into your life. Who makes you smile? Maybe it’s a comedian or a movie star, or perhaps it’s your partner or pet. Someone in your life makes you happy, so lean into him or her when times are tough. You can’t call celebrities or favorite authors, but you can watch a show or movie they star in or read a book they wrote to brighten your day.
3. Reminisce on Good Times
When coping with change, the best thing you can do for yourself is to remember the good times. Everything may be different going forward, but you can still look back on your memories with fondness, realizing that you made the most of the time you had.
For example, if your child is preparing to go off to college, you will likely have plenty of memories to look back on as he or she enters a new phase of life. In addition, photo albums or pictures posted online always helps to remember happy times.
4. Contact Loved Ones
You should always turn to your family or friends when you’re having a difficult time. They love you and want to see you be the best person you can be. Expressing your difficulties to loved ones will bring support from the people close to you. You’ll learn from obstacles you’ve encountered and overcame in the past. It’s empowering to remember other changes you’ve endured and know you can pick yourself up from this one too.
5. Give Yourself Responsibilities
Sometimes the best thing to do, when going through a change, is to make a list of concrete, actionable tasks you can complete to ground yourself. For example, if you’re stressing out about packing boxes for a move, consider working on things around the house that need to be done, like a load of laundry. Distract yourself with something productive.
If it feels too difficult to get out of bed, motivate yourself by breaking your day down into little steps. Go to the bathroom, get some water and have a nice snack. Doable, actionable items can inspire you to get going. Even if that doesn’t work, think of others or things you have to care for—whether it’s a partner, kids, pets, or plants. Start your day for them, if not for yourself.
6. Search for the Good News
Stepping away from the world isn’t always ideal, but if the state of things is hurting you more than helping you these days, you may need a break. The internet and television news help you feel more connected to the world around you, but can sometimes lead to emotional burnout, which you don’t need while coping with change.
Instead, focus on the good news. Actively seek positive information on social media, and ask your loved ones about good things that have happened to them recently. You’ll be surrounded by positivity that can help you feel like everything is okay. Once you feel better, you can return to the general news.
7. Look for New Opportunities
It’s challenging to reframe your mindset, but it could be necessary in hard times. Change may bring negative emotions, and it’s healthy to let yourself feel them. Once you’re finished taking inventory of and understanding your feelings, try to think more opportunistically. What may this change bring for you? Do you have any hidden gems of opportunity you didn’t realize you had before?
It’s okay to grieve for what you’ve lost, but you should not lose sight of the future. Instead, continue to work toward your dreams. Aim to see the silver lining in every cloud. It might be difficult at first, but you’ll get the hang of seeing opportunities before too long.
It’s OK to Keep Your Head in the Clouds
Sometimes, when you’re coping with change, the last thing you may want is to be rooted in reality. So allow yourself to be distracted, feel off-balance, or not yourself. But remain in the present rather than focusing on what could have happened. Take the time you need to absorb what happened, reminisce on what was, and look to the future with hope.
About the Author
Ava Roman is the Managing Editor of Revivalist, a women’s lifestyle magazine that empowers women to live their most authentic life.
When Ava is not writing you’ll find her in a yoga class, advocating for body positivity, whipping up something delicious in the kitchen, or smashing the patriarchy.