My parents have always told me that change is the only constant in life. I generally shrugged it off, not knowing what they meant. As I’ve gotten older, I have come to understand how important change is and that how we cope with it is even more important.
“We all like to believe that we have more control and power in this life than we actually do. While it’s true that there are some things we can control — for example, what we choose to wear or when to run errands — the pervading truth is that life is fluid,” said the Rev. Matthew Eddleman, M.Div., a Norton Healthcare chaplain.
Change isn’t always a negative thing and coping with it builds resilience. The personal growth that happens when we embrace change is worth the effort it takes to process the stresses caused by change.
“Whether it’s a new outlook on life, renewed relationships or spiritual growth, the importance of the resilience process lies in embracing a hopeful future for one’s life, even in the midst of change that may be out of your control,” Eddleman said.
There are many ways to cope with change, such as:
- Reaching out to others, especially those who have experienced a change the same as or similar to what you’re going through
- Accepting advice and encouragement from family and friends
- Embracing the change, “befriending it” and listening to what it teaches you
- Practicing mindfulness that can lead to powerful insights
- Learning to see change as a positive agent in your life
- Understanding that life will change and that this is good news; consider the changes as “mile markers” along your life’s journey
- Having hope and remembering that tomorrow is a brand new day
“Not all change is surprising. So take a pointer from Socrates and ‘know thyself.’ Regardless of whether change is anticipated or not, know the ways you typically unwind at the end of a hard day. Maybe it’s putting on some relaxing music and pouring a glass of wine; perhaps a good workout helps to de-stress and energize you, or getting connected to the earth through gardening or a nature walk. Whatever it is, have those resources readily at hand to turn to when you’re feeling the stress of change,” Eddleman said.
For more information on coping with change or to find someone to speak with about your concerns, visit NortonHealthcare.com/SpiritualCare.