Written by Jordan Meehan, LCSW

Change has the potential to be a powerful, yet sometimes uncomfortable, experience. Counseling can help you navigate these times that test your patience, resiliency, and flexibility.

Joseph recently found out that the company he works for is re-organizing their structure. He feels very happy and comfortable working on his current team. This team has felt like family to him for the past 8 years. Joseph feels slightly betrayed, sad, and anxious about this major change.

Joseph thinks to himself, “I can’t believe they are doing this! Everything has been operating so smoothly. Why change things now?” Work has always been a source of routine and consistency for him.

As Joseph’s company starts to move people to other teams and departments, Joseph grows increasingly frustrated at work. His “go-to” people can no longer answer his questions or collaborate with him on solving issues. Also, he struggles to talk about issues with his new supervisor due to the supervisor’s lack of experience working with the subject matter that Joseph is responsible for. Joseph keeps leaving meetings feeling no clearer on solutions than when the meetings started.

In the evenings at home, Joseph starts to notice that he cannot stop thinking about work. He is getting irritated more easily at his partner and he feels less inclined to hang out with his friends since he has been in a bad mood. It’s obvious to Joseph that he is stressed, but he isn’t sure what to do about it.

Seeking counseling can help to embrace change.

After one particularly bad blow-up at his partner, Joseph decides that he needs to see a counselor. At first, he is resistant to making any adjustments to how he copes with stress. He has always felt fine with how he handles things, even stressful circumstances. The issues that cause him frustration eventually just go away. Some of the changes that his counselor explores with him just seem like too much work.

However, the stress does not seem to go away this time. In fact, it starts to get worse. Joseph decides it is time to start implementing the changes he and his counselor have discussed.

While it takes a lot of effort and many of ups-and-downs in progress, Joseph finally starts to find that he is feeling better about all the changes at his job. Joseph makes it a point to set boundaries at work with others, he has incorporated time to listen to music each evening to help him decompress, and he has started spending more time with friends again. While Joseph still feels stressed at times, he now knows what to do when he notices his stress. He has learned how to better accept change and adapt to changing circumstances.

Change can cause a mixture of different emotions. It can be frustrating, exciting, confusing, intriguing, and sometimes even scary.

There’s a reason most people tend to dislike change: the human brain likes what it knows! Adapting to change takes time, effort, and energy. The uncertainty that accompanies change is often uncomfortable for people and can throw off a person’s sense of normalcy. As a result, many people prefer to avoid change (or at least avoid thinking about it) to remain in their comfort zone.

Shifting your perspective on change can empower you to grow through challenging life transitions.

Change can be perceived as positive, negative, as well as neutral. The way you view change in your personal and work life can help determine how you will cope with whatever life throws at you. By learning to accept and even embrace change at home or in the workplace, you have the opportunity to grow as an individual, master new skills, increase your adaptability, and be the best version of yourself moving forward.

Easier said than done.

Learning to see change as an opportunity for growth rather than as a thorn in your side can take time and effort. However, you can learn how to approach change in a new manner to improve your outlook on life.

Consider these 5 ways to help you approach change in a healthy way:

1. Ask yourself, “What information am I taking away from this experience and how can I use it moving forward?”

Change presents you with new information and new opportunities to use that information. By viewing this information as a means of learning, even the most difficult change can hold an important lesson that can help you grow as a person.

2. Recognize that change is inevitable.

Few things in life are guaranteed, but change is one of them. All around you, change is constantly occurring in your environment, the community, and the world. As you may have realized, you cannot always control the changes that occur in your life. By learning to see and accept change as a constant, you improve your ability to live a more content life.

3. Give yourself the space to experience and allow the discomfort that comes with change.

Change can be hard. There is no denying that fact. Allow yourself to feel what you need to feel. Remember, feelings act as signals indicating that your body needs emotional expression. When you deny yourself your emotional needs, it becomes more difficult to cope when changes and transitions occur.

4. Understand that your response to the change will impact the outcome.

You always have a choice in how you respond to change. While you cannot control the emotions you experience, you can choose how you react to what you feel. Try being kinder to yourself. Give yourself a break. You will find that focusing on what you can control will help lessen the impact of what you can’t control.

5. Lean into your self-care routine.

When dealing with any sort of change, self-care is key. Change is stressful on the body and mind. Taking care of yourself will help you be able to manage the difficult thoughts and feelings you experience while working through challenging transitions. It is never selfish to prioritize your own self-care, especially during times of change.

How can counseling help you embrace change?

Life is always going to be full of change. As new situations arise, you may find that your previous ways of dealing with change no longer serve you. Counseling can be an excellent resource to allow you to explore new ways of coping with change and the variety of emotions that occur as a result. Learning to accept and embrace change does not happen overnight. It is important to remember that shifting how you deal with change takes time. You might not always be able to control the changes that occur in your life, but you can control what adjustments you make to deal with the change.

Restorative Counseling is here to help you traverse the many changes and transitions that occur throughout your life.

The clinicians at Restorative Counseling know how challenging it can be at times to cope with change and to be willing to make changes of your own. Our team will work alongside you and at the pace you need so you can develop new ways of navigating the stress that accompanies change. Schedule an appointment today to get started!