Life is ever changing. That is always true, but lately, for many of us, life as it once was seems nearly unrecognizable. Talk about change! Due to physical distancing guidelines, our worlds were flipped nearly upside down and we’ve had to make adjustments. We’ve had to adapt and overcome.
That is the key, though. When faced with life’s inevitable ups and downs, having the resiliency to stand up to and meet new challenges is imperative. It certainly isn’t always easy, but as a Licensed Professional Counselor, Steven Sellars, explains that weathering change is always possible if you keep a few tips in mind.
Recognize that change is happening
“It is common for people to ignore the change that is happening around them for various reasons,” Sellars said. “Denying or delaying your reaction, however, can often be more stressful than accepting the change early on. Remind yourself that things will be okay and you’ve endured change before and been fine on the other side.”
Write down the positive
Not all change is bad even it seems so at the time. Think back to times in your life when you feared change, but in the end, what you feared most didn’t happen at all. In fact, you thrived.
“Change can be scary, but it’s not always bad. Write down examples of when you felt afraid of change, but realized that change was for the better and keep those close when you feel yourself getting anxious of what’s to come,” Sellars said. “Having personal memories of when you overcame change and it resulted in positive outcomes can help ease your current fears.”
When possible, prepare
“Sometimes we see change coming,” Sellars said. “In those cases, such as starting a new job, or moving to a new city, you can take steps to prepare yourself. Even in the midst of chaos we can see light at the end of the tunnel. Knowledge is power and can build your confidence that the change you’re embarking on will be a success.”
Quiet your mind
In the midst of a change we fear, our thoughts can be our worst enemy. Be conscious of what your mind is telling you. Are your fears rational or are you possibly only allowing yourself to focus on the worst possible outcome?
“If calming your mind seems difficult you can try relaxation techniques such as mindfulness or deep breathing,” Sellars said. “Getting active is a great way to clear your head too. Taking a little time away from the problem can help you gain control of your thoughts and help you evaluate the situation more clearly.”
Be kind to yourself
In times of change we can feel a bit out of control. This is normal. Remember to give yourself a break and be kind to yourself.
“We all struggle at times,” Sellars said. “No one can operate at 100 percent 100 percent of the time. Forgive yourself for these times. Incorporate laughter when you can too. Laughter can be the best medicine.”
Talk it out
Finally, if you still find yourself truly struggling with the changes you are facing, seek help. Knowing yourself well enough to realize you need assistance is a sign of strength. No one goes through life alone. Confiding in family or friends can give you the added support you’re needing. So can seeking help through therapy.
“A caring, impartial therapists can help you see your situation in a different light and give you the tools to help you successfully navigate the transition you are facing,” Sellars said.
The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Centerstone is here to help. The clinic offers individual, couples, family and child therapy services for all post 9/11 veterans and their families. For more information log onto the clinic’s website at centerstone.org/cohen-military-family-clinic/Clarksville or call (931) 221-3850 to make an appointment.
Cohen Military Family Clinic