June 6, 2016

How To Deal With Change That Happens Suddenly

Change is a constant part of life. Not only do we humans have to deal with change, but animals and the environment have to deal with it too. Adaption to a different way of life is necessary for many people and animals to survive and thrive. The biggest thing to remember is that you can get through it, no matter what it is. It makes you stronger and more flexible, and it unleashes your creativity.

Knowing that you will survive it doesn’t always make dealing with change any easier. We are creatures of habit, after all, so we don’t like a lot of change in our lives. The fact is that habits equal comfort while change equals anxiety. But, avoiding change that is happening is devastating to our life. It’s happening, so we need to learn how to do deal with it or else we will end up in a state of denial which is unhealthy for our happiness and our ability to move forward in a fulfilling way.

5 Tips On How To Deal With Change That Happens Suddenly

Sometimes change happens slowly. For instance, our relationship with a lover can slowly change into something different than it once was. The change happens so slowly that we naturally adapt to the differences as we go along. We adapt to the changes in ourselves, our partner, and our relationship, and it doesn’t cause a lot of stress on us because the change is so slow that it just feels natural.

But, sometimes change happens really fast and we don’t have time to adjust or wrap our mind around what is happening. The death of a loved one, being fired from our job, losing our home, or being diagnosed with a disease are all examples of sudden change. Other examples include the realization of being pregnant, having new people come into our life, and being required to live a new lifestyle for the immediate benefit of our health.

Sudden changes can be shocking to the system. They can take a toll on your ability to think straight and cause anxiety and chaos in your life. But if you do the following five things that help you deal with change effectively, you will be more likely to go with the flow and adapt to change quickly.

1. Don’t Try To Make Sense Of It

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” – Alan Watts

I used to have a tendency to overthink things that happened, especially big changes. I thought about what happened, why it happened, why it should or shouldn’t have happened, and how ticked off or excited I was that it happened. If you are like I was, then you are going to have a very hard time embracing any kind of change, especially sudden change.

Overthinking the sudden change does nothing for you. It just causes you to stay stuck in a place where you are unable to deal with the change and move forward. Overthinking what happened is like covering up your eyes and refusing to see what is clearly in front of you or looking over your shoulder and being unable to move forward because you can’t see what is in front of you. You have to stop thinking about the change (the past) and start doing something about it if you want to get through it.

For instance, if someone in your life passed away, then focusing on the why, how, where, when, and who of that death is going to keep you stuck in time – stranded in the period of your life where the death took place. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t grieve a death because that’s an important process of moving through the change that has happened in your relationship dynamics. But, it’s not until you open up your awareness and acknowledge that the person is gone and that life is now going to be without that person that you can start working through that and learning to live in your new world.

Sometimes your livelihood – and the livelihood of others depends on your ability to stop trying to making sense of the change and start doing what you need to do. In these cases, it’s really important to stop trying to make sense of something you can’t make sense of and move forward quickly.

For instance, a friend of mine went to work on a Wednesday and got fired without warning. They said that they were restructuring in the company, but that didn’t make any sense to him. He was told to pack his stuff and leave that day. All of his plans for the future had been smashed in an instant, and in order to move on he needed to start focusing on what to do now. Instead, he tried to make sense of it. He was a good worker who put in a lot of time at work. His job was valuable, and someone was going to have to take it over now that he was gone. There was no warning. Nobody else got fired. He kept going over all of these thoughts in his head for weeks. He was stuck in time unable to start looking for another job, which cost him a lot of money. It wasn’t until he stopped trying to make sense of it that he got up and started actively looking for a new job.

And, just so you know, he still hasn’t been able to make sense of it. There was no good reason for him being fired, but that didn’t change the fact that he needed to adapt to the change and move forward for the benefit of his own life and the life of his family.

The bottom line is that some changes will come with a clear reason, but many will not. If you try to make sense out of something that simply does not have a valid or good enough reason, then you will drive yourself insane and be unable to move forward. Accept that sometimes things beyond reasoning happen, and find a way to move forward when they do.

2. Think Your Plan Of Action Through

A sudden change that happens in your life will require you to change course or do something new quickly. But in order to change course or figure out what you need to do, you need to understand what is happening, what that means for you, and then come up with a plan that works for you to deal with it. This is true even if the change is on a big scale. Instead of panicking or running to other people, take some time to work on it yourself so that you can figure out how to deal with the change effectively for yourself.

Recently a membership site I’m on had a sudden change for their users. They didn’t send out any notification, but they required everyone to update their profile and verify it through a code before they could use the site again. This change was sudden and unexpected but simple if you stopped and thought about it. You updated your phone number, got a verification code, and then entered it in and went on your way. Yet this simple but sudden change caused a lot of problems. People were instantly crowding the site’s Facebook page asking what they were supposed to do. They were panicking, getting mad at the system, and even cursing it. Nobody had the answers because they were all people who had not taken the time to sit and think about it. After about an hour or so, everyone had stopped to think about it and were no longer complaining.

The above situation can happen on a bigger scale. Sometimes, it can take days or weeks to work through something if you are not willing to sit down and think about it on your own first.

Approach every change calmly, remembering that there is always a way through it, and then find that way. Allow yourself some time to come up with an answer on what to do next and you will find that the answer will come.

And if you get too anxious about the change, give yourself some time to calm down. You can’t approach a situation with an anxious mind and expect to find an answer. Your thoughts will be all over the place, and you won’t be able to take it calmly step by step.

3. Maintain A Positive Attitude

I realize that a lot of change happens because of a negative event. But, that doesn’t mean you should hold on to a negative attitude going forward. A negative attitude will slow things down, and when it comes to how to deal with change, you want to be able to adapt quickly and embrace your new way of life for less chaos and anxiety.

A positive attitude towards change means accepting that the change has happened and focusing on how your life can benefit or move forward in a positive way. This can be hard to hear when you are in the midst of a negative life-changing situation, such as a death or divorce, but it’s still something that you need to do nonetheless.

Keep your head high, maintain an attitude that things are going to work out alright – and in some cases, even better, and let yourself move forward knowing that you are capable of working through any change that happens in your life and coming out the other end stronger.

4. Ask For Help In The Right Places

If you can’t find a way to work through the change yourself, then ask for help. You may need someone’s unique perspective, advice, or input in order to understand how to move forward. Just make sure you ask for help in appropriate places.

For instance, if your partner suddenly left you, and you are unable to figure out how to move forward with your finances, don’t ask your friend who is barely making ends meet month to month for help. They can’t give you the advice that will help you not only adapt to the change but thrive with your actions. Ask a financial advisor or a financial expert. Get advice from someone who understands what is crucial to do now in order to move forward as easily as possible.

One of the big things I’ve learned is that you can’t deal with change effectively by asking people who have not dealt with that change themselves. They don’t understand the situation as well as someone who has been there and done that.

Some situations require that you work as a team to overcome a sudden change, but in most cases, there is always someone available with the answers you need to move forward quickly from a sudden change in a direction that is going to benefit you.

5. Remember That Some Things Haven’t Changed

While it can be easy to get caught up with the sudden change and let it dictate how you feel and what you do, it’s important to remember that there are some things that haven’t changed in your life. They may be small and seem insignificant compared to the change, but holding on to those things can help you keep both feet on the ground as you work through the change that has happened.

For instance, if you have experienced a death, it’s important to remember that there are still plenty of people in your life that have not gone away. By focusing on the people that are still there, you can avoid the feeling that you are suddenly all alone and have no one to depend on or talk to.

Or, if you have lost a job, focusing on the fact that you still have your skills can be a valuable way to get motivated to start taking action on finding a new job. I know many people who forget that they are actually talented and deserving people when they get fired and let the change of job change how they feel about themselves and their worth.

It’s important to remember who you were and what you had before the change, and acknowledge who you still are and what you still have after the change. Doing this will be a huge tool in dealing with sudden change effectively while maintaining a level head about yourself and the rest of your life.

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