Adapting to change in the workplace and at home doesn’t have to be as hard and stressful as it often is.
Change is a constant in human lives. Just think of the human body, right? Now, in adulthood, expand that concept to psychological, social, cognitive and emotional growth. How do we grow in those domains of adult development? Through changes, better said, through effective adaptation to Life Changes and Transitions. That is to say, ‘the overcoming’ of situations that are uncomfortable or painful. Some people spend a great deal of energy trying to avoid change. Whether it is changing jobs, moving to a new city, putting an end to a relationship or to unhealthy behaviour. When something needs to change in your life, it can impact your physical health, mental health and well-being. But, learning to manage changes will improve those and boost your future outcomes.
Why adapting to change is often so hard and stressful?
Changes can be perceived as negative or positive. Either way always stressful for human beings. Positive changes can be upsetting to some, because soon life is going to be different and this puts you out of your comfort zone. But the negative thoughts and feelings about a change bring greater stress. When stress becomes overwhelming, it can impact your mental health. Unhealthy or inexistent coping strategies and a negative mindset can make managing change feel like an impossible task. Stress aroused by a change in the workplace and in personal life has mental and physical symptoms that can harm your well-being, such as:
Trouble sleeping or insomnia
Anxiety, emotional distress, and depression
High blood pressure and heart problems
Muscle tension and back aches
Digestive problems and stomach aches
Irritability, melancholy, or sadness
Eating too much or too little
Alcohol or drug abuse
Also, have you been feeling more anxious, stressed, and consumed by worry, than usual? Can't sleep properly. Your mind is racing, has it been harder to think clearly, take action, or resolve problems recently? Have you noticed more mistakes than usual, lately? More prone to accidents, lingering in unhealthy relationships? Finally, do you struggle to make decisions now?
When changes come to your life, you’ll need to make adjustments, and better yet, adapt to them with success. Being able to take charge will boost your confidence and reduce stress levels. So, learning healthy strategies will help prevent the negative impacts on your mental health and help you thrive. In this article, we’ll look at ten proven ways of managing change in the workplace and in personal life.
Learn these Strategies to Manage Life Changes with Success.
Tip #1 - Know What You're Dealing with. What’s Going On?
Know What You're Dealing with. The first step to managing change is to identify clearly what's going on. Too often, we feel stressed out or anxious, without understanding the real problem.
Step One in Managing Life Changes with Success: clearly name the problem and acknowledge (without judgement) your emotional reaction to it. Use a piece of paper and writing tools to help you think. And while doing this, we recommend you adopt the scientist mindset. – e.g. Just take notes of what you are observing having in mind the following statement: ‘It is what it is.’
Tip #2 - Take Control of What You Can and Let Go of What You Can’t Control
There are things you can control and things you can't. For instance, you can’t control other people’s reactions, behaviours, feelings or thoughts. But you can control yourself and take charge of your situation. Accept what you can't control. Know yourself as a priority and take action towards a positive outcome.
Step Two in Managing Life Changes with Success: understanding what you can control or not, and take action where possible. A person with an internal locus of control believes that their results in life are guided by their own decisions and efforts. If they do not succeed, they believe it is due to their own lack of effort.
Tip #3 - Master your Thought Process and Enhance Emotional Self-regulation
There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it. Stress occurs through the perception (and judgement) that the external demands exceed your personal and social resources. Hence, outstanding personal achievements rely on the capacity one has in regulating one’s motivation, thought processes, affective states, and actions. Although self-regulation is a limited resource and stressful changes can cause depletion. The interpretation of stressful Life Changes is more important than the changes themselves. Thus, the secret to reducing stress lies in two steps. First, reframe your thinking about the situation. Accept whatever is happening as it is. And adopt an attitude of ‘what is my learning opportunity here?’. Second, empower yourself to feel resourceful to deal with whatever difficult situations.
Step Three in Managing Life Changes with Success: A growth mindset is very helpful to good human functioning. Choose one thought over the other, and avoid making a negative judgement of your situation. – instead, replace it with ‘It is what it is. I can do this.’ Acknowledge your emotional reactions to your situation, also without judgement, just observe it and accept ‘What it is as it is’. Focus all your energy on building the new. Your new future.
Tip #4 - Make a Plan of Action. Define What You Would Like to Have Instead of What’s Going On. Select the Strategies to Make It Happen.
Something we all struggle with, but we must accept, is that the things as we have known them, have changed. Things are no longer the same and probably will never be the same again. Although we instinctively wish to remain the same our new future must now be prepared. With the end of a known reality, you must create the ideal of what a good life looks like after the turmoil of the endings. And yes, we probably will not have the people or the circumstances we would like to have. And we are very sorry for that. But life must go on. This is your life, your future. Act on it.
Step Four in Managing Life Changes with Success: Find out what you need or want in place of what is currently happening. Write it down, use a piece of paper, a notebook and writing tools. Think of old desires, goals or projects. Things you have always wanted to do but life ended up too busy for you to make happen. Ask yourself how would things look like if they looked better? Scribble until you get it right. Feeling certain about it? Good. Now you are ready to move forward. Make a Plan of Action. What would be the best strategies to make that good life happen? Think about it. Write it down, use a piece of paper, a notebook and writing tools. Find the people and resources to support you achieve it.
Tip #5 - Believe in Yourself. Develop a Growth Mindset to Learn New Skills
The most dangerous thing is not to evolve. Success and failure are self-defined concepts, not one sole truth that society dictates. You might not be able to change the direction of the wind, but you can adjust the sails to reach your direction. Did you know? People emerge from adversity with a stronger sense of efficacy.
Self-Efficacy is the basis of human achievement. But that requires an active engagement in life and constant self-improvement. Perceived self-efficacy refers to the belief in one’s capacity to organise and execute the courses of action to achieve a given result. Why is it important? Albert Bandura discovered, that our belief in our personal efficacy (capabilities) produces great effects in regulating our motivation, thought processes, affective states, and best set of actions to achieve our goals. This, helps you take control over any challenging situation and thus reduces stress.
Step Five in Managing Life Changes with Success: Self-efficacy is something anyone can develop at any time. Two ingredients to achieve it. First, through constant self-improvement (continuous learning) and an active engagement in life. You must have the courage to get the bruises of living and learn from that to get better at it. Albert Bandura has found, that when people combine "realism about the difficulties" and "boost their conviction that they can beat those difficulties", they will persevere until they make it happen.
As a complementary note, this research finding is at the source of what we do. We called it (believe-IN) + (Make It Happen) and now teach people to develop the skills.
Tip #6 - Take Care of Yourself
Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax. Distancing yourself from the situation helps you gain a new perspective on the challenge to overcome. Nothing is worth diminishing your health. Nothing (nor no one) is worth poisoning yourself with stress, anxiety and fear. Life is the sum of all your choices. Choose yourself. Be flexible. Since we cannot change reality, allow yourself to change the eyes which see reality. And keep an open mind to new experiences, some will even become enjoyable.
Step Six in Managing Life Changes with Success: Taking care of yourself is much about giving yourself some rest. But also letting go of expectations in your life may make a new routine seem less frightening. Accept the unpredictability of life and of the things you don’t yet know. Remember, "Personal development" is the growing pains of adults. Self-improvement in the domains of psychological, social, cognitive and emotional growth is key to your health and well-being.
Tip #7 - Keep On Doing Something You Like.
Even if it is small, keep something familiar that you can focus on. This grounding rule will help guide you in unfamiliar moments and feelings.
Step Seven in Managing Life Changes with Success: keep some routines, like meeting with friends, running, and watching a series you love. Or even eating your favourite healthy food can ease the stress you have during changes. These are great ways to make yourself feel at ease and improve your outlook on life. Avoid smoking, overeating, drinking or drugs.
Tip #8 - Find the Positive and Find New Meaning
If “look on the bright side” or “be more positive,” makes your eyes roll, there is some truth there. It can feel false or dishonest to try to be positive about something bad. But it is also true that we can’t ignore that any experience has a lesson and thus, a ‘learning’ to complete. Plus, as we have seen before, stress increases with negativity, right? We tend to see change through the lens of fear, but often there's a positive aspect even to something that seems bad. – e.g. if anything bad happened, you can learn not to do X+Y again, or trust someone ever again, right? Instead, you will replace 'unhealthy' beliefs with healthier ones and boundaries.
Step Eight in Managing Life Changes with Success: Take time to analyse the events. Remember it feels better to extract what you have learned from those experiences. Look for what you can learn and focus on those aspects instead of focusing only on fear and negativity. Overcoming hardship, enhanced self-improvement, and achievement are your rewards. Find a new meaning to the events in the whole of your life course. And with it, you may find a purpose, happiness and a legacy.
Tip #9 - Find People Who Understand
When you’re dealing with a new Life Change, it is good to talk to someone you trust. Having people that understand what you are going through can support you. It is better to have a small group of trustworthy people than to try to manage change all alone.
Step Nine in Managing Life Changes with Success: Reach out to others with a similar experience and get their support. Avoid inexperienced, immature and judgemental interpersonal interactions. Identify individuals who can help you to make new experiences easier to handle. Supporting people that help motivate you to you move towards your new future. Especially when you can't see the path ahead. It is there, waiting for you. Keep on walking. You are almost there. This is your life.
Tip #10 - Getting Help
When change happens, you may feel overwhelmed by stress and like you’re about to lose control. If that feeling becomes too much to handle alone, you can seek help from a Life Changes and Transitions Management Professional. They’ll be able to guide you in an Intervention Programme.
Step Ten in Managing Life Changes with Success: Managing change is often difficult because it affects the sense of security we had, and who we think we are. But also, how we make meaning of our lives. But, if those feelings become overwhelming and lead to high stress and anxiety, don’t hesitate to turn to a professional for guidance. A Life Changes Professional will support you to regain control over your change. Reduce your stress levels, boost your confidence and build a brighter future.
Congratulations. You are now equipped with 10 Tips to Manage Difficult Changes at Work or in Personal Life. Life Changes don’t have to be as stressful as it often is. You’ll likely still feel some discomfort, but you should be able to move through it and take action to navigate changes.
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