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How to cope with change.

Regardless of its form, change essentially means abandoning the known for the unknown and more often than not the unknown is scary and unsettling.

Whilst there is always a risk associated with change as well as the possibility that you are unable to cope with the transition, change also presents opportunities for learning and growth. The adjustment period is usually uncomfortable, but there are things you can do to make it easier for yourself:

    Expect change. The only constant in life is change so expect it and prepare for it during stable periods. For example, ask yourself how you tend to react to change, what you feel and think, what helps you cope and so on.
    Anticipate disruption. Allow yourself to feel a little off centre or angry, sad, anxious or confused about the change.
    Focus on the known. We tend to over focus on the unknown because that's where our anxiety lies. To avoid unnecessary worry, focus on the known elements in the new situation.
    Look for meaning. Change disrupts the continuity of life, but even the most difficult and traumatic changes can be useful. You can increase your sense of personal control and power by finding the meaning or valuable outcome behind it.
    Build a support network. It's better to have a support system in place before change occurs than to try and establish one when it does. People who have strong support systems normally come through stressful situations far better than those who don't. They also stay healthier, live longer and are generally more successful.
    Take care of yourself. When change occurs, it's important to pay attention to your physical and emotional health. Get enough rest, eat well, and take time every day to get some exercise.
    Delay major decisions. It's best to avoid making big decisions until things have settled down.
    Make use of your resources. Use all resources available to you. See your family doctor, attend workshops on stress or consult a counsellor.  You can also read self help books or articles.

Applying the skills above will help you face challenging situations and minimise the negative effects thereof. Don't resist change, embrace it! With the right attitude and skills, it could be a very stimulating and rewarding experience.

Source: ICAS & HealthInSite brochure

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