“What strategies to use to cope with change – can I know more?”
“What strategies to use to cope with change – can I know more?”
by admin | January 21, 2023 | Aware | 2 comments

“What strategies to use to cope with change – can I know more?”

As the classic cliché goes, change is the only constant in life. Almost on a daily basis, we have to face some disruptions – small or large – because that is the nature of life. So long as life is an ever-evolving phenomenon, the need for us humans to adapt and roll with events is inevitable.

Some turns in life hit us hard because we have been unprepared for them. For example, you may suddenly need a job change. Other examples could be the need to shift to a different city or home … or someone in your family finding that they have a new ailment. These curve balls that life throws at us, when we least expect them, make us unable to cope.

But what about the changes we desire to have … like our long-cherished dreams coming true? Psychologists say moments of happiness can also sometimes throw us. A new born baby in the home can disrupt your previous roles and rhythm. A child leaving for higher studies abroad could leave your home feeling like an empty nest. Even such seemingly happy transitions could give us some uneasiness or jitters.

All of life’s twists and turns – good or bad – are how we see them. Ask yourself these questions. Do you feel capable of taking major upheavals in your stride? How smoothly can you sail through challenging situations, learning what you need to in the process? If you need help coping with difficult times, here are some tips on managing shifting conditions without fear and with self-confidence.


What life changes do people fear the most?

People can find innumerable life-altering occasions very disturbing, and they may be conflicted on the best way to handle these. Top of the lists that many psychologists cite are these kinds of happenings:


  • Losing a job or experiencing financial difficulties
  • Going through a divorce or breakup
  • Moving to a new city or country
  • Losing a loved one or experiencing a death in the family
  • Illness that’s genetic or lifestyle-oriented, or injury
  • Retirement from work or retrenchment
  • Losing independence or autonomy
  • Starting a new job or going back to work
  • Having a child or becoming a parent
  • Starting school or a new academic program
  • Changing career paths into totally new areas
  • Losing a home or having to shift
  • Having to move in with family or friends
  • Needing to be in a long-distance relationship
  • Having to take care of an ill or aged family member
  • Going through a legal dispute or court case
  • Being in a natural disaster or sudden calamity


Changes like these put you in a different place from where you used to be, mentally or physically. But as Mandy Hale, the New York Times best-selling author, says in one of her quotable tweets, “Growth is painful. Change is painful, but nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.”


Why do people fear change in their lives?

According to Dr. David Rock et al, in the “Handbook of NeuroLeadership,” neuroscience has shown that uncertainty feels similar to failure in our brains. When we fear alteration in our life conditions, we are probably looking at it as if it was some failure on our part to maintain the status quo.

As we can see, self-derogatory thinking could be a large part of the problem – but therein lies the solution too. We can all cope with transitions better with a correction in our self-perception.


Symptoms that manifest with fear of change

Since apprehension of life evolution is a form of anxiety, many of the symptoms we may notice during periods of tumult may be similar to those of stress. For example, here’s what most people say they have:


  • Anxiety
  • Changes in appetite
  • Depression or sadness
  • Irritability
  • Muscle pain
  • Problems sleeping
  • Stomach upset
  • Tension headaches
  • Trouble concentrating


Stress can also add many complications to those suffering from ailments like obesity, cholesterol, diabetes, and hypertension – along with other hereditary factors. All these ailments can have a multiplicative effect on the heart.

Watching for early symptoms of high diabetes symptoms, controlling diet to lower cholesterol levels, being alert to signs and symptoms of hypertension, and preventing obesity related diseases – all these are a must and should always be done with your doctor’s help.


5 ways to cope with changes, big or small

First, it’s vital to unclutter the mind with some relaxation techniques. After that, here are some other steps you can take if you want to feel a sense of control over what is happening in your life.


1. Don’t be in denial about change – it’s unhealthy

According to Lilianna Hogan, writing in WebMD, it’s always a relief to admit that things are shifting around … since an attitude that “Nothing is really happening!” won’t help at all. Denial only makes our resistance to the new stronger. It would be better to say to yourself, “Yes, things are changing, so let me see what has to be done here. Let me list what needs to be actioned so it all feels manageable.”


2. Don’t let change overthrow your daily schedule

Letting things slide out of your mind or schedule isn’t a smart thing to do. The more you aim to maintain the normalcy of your life as you deal with the disorder, the better. Gradually, you can ease the required changes, in small and incremental ways, into your schedule. A few things will fall off your lists, and a few will be added.



“Don’t let change overthrow your daily schedule”.



3. Maintain a healthy diet with strict control

According to Cleveland Clinic, when change happens, many of us tend to reach for all that is unhealthy for our diet – like carb-loaded snacks, sugary foods, alcohol, fizzy drinks, or an overdose of coffee or chocolates. Maybe we crave comfort foods, but remember, healthy bodies and minds always cope better with challenges. Cook and consume foods rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and immunity-boosting goodness. Hydrate yourself well. This is sacrosanct.


4. Keep up your exercise routine, come what may

According to Alyssa Petersel, writing in MyWellBeing, just half an hour of exercise every day can throw off much nervous energy and keep your mind and body tension free. Breathing deeply during and after exercise energizes all your body cells and rejuvenates your system. Also, when you stick to your regular exercise schedule, it’s like telling yourself that even if your life is going to be a bit different, some things will always be important and remain the same.


5. Talk to others for extra support – it’s therapeutic

Sharing your burdens with someone willing to listen (aka venting!) is the best therapy, sometimes. During periods when your life is changing adversely – as when grief strikes you after someone’s death – it’s imperative to find someone to talk to. If no one else from among close family or friends is to hand, speak to a therapist. Explain your feelings about the turbulence in your life so they can advise you on ways to break the repetitive negative thought patterns and move forward.



“Talk to others for extra support – it’s therapeutic”.



In summary

Since life is an evolutionary process, change is a certainty. In this roller-coaster that we call life, we must ensure that the unknowns don’t cause us excessive stress. We cannot let the ups and downs of life affect our health and our hearts. Grow with change gracefully. Stay heart-healthy. Be a Zinda Dil.



  1. Hale, Mandy. Twitter. “Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong. #TheSW.” Accessed: January 18, 2023. https://twitter.com/thesinglewoman/status/361539235251093506?lang=en
  2. Rock, David, Dr. Amazon.com. “Handbook of NeuroLeadership.” Accessed: January 18, 2023. https://www.amazon.com/Handbook-NeuroLeadership-Dr-David-Rock/dp/1483925331/
  3. Hogan, Lilianna. WebMD. “How Denial Affects Your Life.” Accessed: January 18, 2023. https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/how-denial-affects-your-life
  4. Cleveland Clinic. “The Psychology of Eating.” Accessed: January 18, 2023. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/10681-the-psychology-of-eating
  5. Petersel, Alyssa. MyWellBeing. “How Four Common Coping Mechanisms May Be More Hurtful Than Helpful.” Accessed: January 18, 2023. https://mywellbeing.com/therapy-101/how-four-common-coping-mechanisms-may-be-more-hurtful-than-helpful


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