More
close ad

How to Cope with Major Life Changes

New town. Family emergency. Aging parents. Job trouble. Life is going to throw you some curves and you'll be up for every one of them with our expert advice.
  • Share
  • Print
Coping with Life Changes

When was the last time you had to deal with a big change? For many of us, disruption to familiar routine sparks anything from mild anxiety to extreme terror. Maybe something's been pushed on us, like being downsized or getting sick. Just as likely, we've made a risky but necessary choice, like relocating to a new town or having our elderly parents move in with us.

Shift happens, like it or not—that's part of the human adventure. Then why do we resist so much? It's partly a natural fear of the unfamiliar. "People think of change as something dangerous," says Auriela McCarthy, author of The Power of the Possible (Beaufort Books). "But it helps to remember all the ways your life has been altered in the past and realize that not only did you not keel over and die, things often turned out for the better."

Fighting what's happening just leads to frustration and keeps you from growing to your full potential. "When you try to put your life in a box and keep it the same all the time, you're making something dead out of it," says Joan Borysenko, Ph.D., coauthor of Saying Yes to Change (Hay House). Welcoming new things can even be good for your health. "People who greet what life offers with curiosity have stronger immune systems and live longer," Borysenko adds.

So how do you push past the reluctance and fear? The first step is realizing that even though you can't control what pops up in your life, you can alter how you react. "When change happens, say yes. Learn and grow from it," says Borysenko. Taking a live-in-the-moment attitude will help keep you from miring yourself in what-ifs and should-haves. Another attitude booster: Think about people you respect and love who have faced difficulties head-on and come out stronger for it. Reflecting on their success will open you to the idea that new possibilities lie ahead for you, too.

The most important thing to remember, though, is that you already have the inner resources to make the most out of anything that comes your way. Bring out your natural resiliency by taking a look at how you can deal with six of life's most common upheavals.

Related Topics in Emotional Health
More Smart Savings