How to Gracefully Accept Change

Ever found yourself fighting against inevitable change? While change is a normal and expected part of life, many people feel most comfortable with keeping things the way they are or always have been. When we know what to expect, we are less likely to experience the discomfort of anxiety. And yet, we live in a world that is ever-changing, which serves to compound the anxiety many people experience as a daily challenge. To adapt to the changes before you each day, each season, or each year, remember these things:

  1. Consider the positive in the newness of each change. If we take time to look at the present, and towards the future, rather than turning back to mourn that which we have left behind, we will find peace in moving forward.
  2. We are not forgetting what it was before change, as giving value to what once was is an important part of the process of change. However, we must choose to spend less time overwhelmed by the things of the past that are no longer in our present, and instead focus on our experience today – noticing the present moment, without judgement.
  3. Feel the feels. Validate your own emotional experience. If you need to cry, cry. If anger is bubbling, express it. If sadness overwhelms you, sit in it. We get stuck when we do not allow ourselves to feel the emotional reaction to change. Validating yourself is to give yourself permission to notice how you feel and be genuine in feeling it, rather than trying to push it away, suck it up, or pretend to smile.
  4. Sitting in the discomfort will help you move through it quicker. Reminding yourself that the discomfort is only temporary and that you have the capacity to endure the uneasiness associated with a shift will allow you to adjust to change and feel settled sooner.
  5. Connect to others. Whether it’s asking for help when you’re finding it challenging to adapt to something new, or leaning on a friend who provides empathy and comfort. Experiencing life in community is so valuable to our mental wellness and sense of belonging. Whatever challenge change poses to you, you are not alone it in. Difficulty with change is a rather universal struggle. Reach out to others and you may be surprised to discover how many people in your circle can relate.

Written by Lauren Robbins, MS, LPCC, LADC