Change is an inevitable part of our lives. Any way you slice change, if we perceive it as good or bad, it can still cause stress. Whether we view a particular change as positive or negative, we always want to come out of it a better person. Sometimes, the change that descends on our life can be so intense, we may wonder how we are going to cope and make it through an event or phase. In every case, our ability to cope with change depends on the attitude we apply to the scenario.
Ways to Cope
Both positive and negative life changes can plunge us into feeling as if we have no control over our lives and make us fearful about the unknowns in our future
It is a natural response to want to vent, but don’t get mired in the story. Instead of reacting, which can place us in victim mode, try being proactive. Remember to eat, sleep and play – a great formula for both babies and adults during transition. Take a break from social media, which may look like everyone else’s life is far better than your own and stay away from the news, which may look like there are only bad things happening in the world. Seek support of family and loved ones to keep you buoyed during rough times, and seek a professional if you need help of a different nature.
Here are some coping actions to take when encountering life changes:
- Acknowledge rather than deny the change.
- Maintain routines and schedule for stability.
- Eat well, exercise and get enough sleep.
- Get support from family, friends or professionals.
- Make note of the positives resulting from change.
- Be proactive instead of reactive.
- Vent but don’t get stuck.
- Take a break from social media.
- Be gentle on yourself.
Types of Coping
Studies have shown that humans tend to cope with change in two primary ways – with escape coping or control coping. Most people engage in both types of coping when faced with big life changes. The healthier choice is to implement control coping measure, such as those listed above.
Escape coping is often steeped in denial, avoidance or even reacting. Not acknowledging a change will not make it go away. Reacting, or acting out, usually make matters worse and makes us feel worse. Taking refuge in alcohol or drug abuse can send our lives into a tailspin.
Control coping is more proactive and positive. It can keep us from getting stuck in victim mode and behaviors like excessive drug or alcohol use. It keeps us moving with forward momentum, through problems until we emerge on the other side faster and stronger.
Stages of Dealing with Change
Humans generally react to change is stages, similar to grief. Here are the 4 major phases:
- Shock and disorientation
- Anger and emotional responses
- Coming to terms with a scenario
- Acceptance and moving forward
Managing Stress from Change
Stress management is key in navigating through life changes and our ability to come out better on the other side. Stress shows up in our bodies as a sense of fight or flight, triggering the release of hormones and chemicals, to help us deal with a particular scenario before reverting back to normal.
But chronic stress can manifest in our body and present through several symptoms including a suppressed immune system, pain, high blood pressure, anxiety, insomnia, obesity and depression, all of which can lead to serious health problems.
At Thriven Functional Medicine, we work with our clients to help them move forward, recover from illness, and maintain a balanced lifestyle. We partner with you to educate, equip and empower you on your journey toward better health. Call us today at 406-205-8100 to learn more about our unique medical clinic and all-inclusive packages for making hope, health and healing possible. We focus on providing you an experience and results that will far exceed your expectations.