Karen McPhail, RN, MSN
Adapting to Change
Change is always happening and is something that we cannot control. Life continues and paths change irrespective of our role in things. We can plan well for the future in a variety of ways, which is important to do, but still little bumps along the road will force us to reexamine the future and make adjustments. At times, individuals view change as a good thing and embrace new opportunities and adventures, while for many others, change is viewed as a scary unknown and something that sparks anxiety, fear, and frustration.
So, what are some techniques to assist with accepting and adjusting to change? How can you assist a family member or friend going through a life event or health change?
First, try to adjust the negatives to positives when possible, but be realistic and honest. Many, but of course not all, negative situations can be viewed in some positive or learning way. Point out the opportunities that may come from what now seems to be a negative situation or challenge. What can be learned from this situation? What will you gain from this long-term? In terms of serious health changes, listen, be available emotionally, address the facts, provide support in a meaningful way, and be a resource if possible. Honestly acknowledge the situation and how it must make them feel.
Next, set the intention that change is inevitable and cannot be avoided. At some point, every situation must be managed and navigated past. Avoidance only leads to more stress and, sometimes, further issues. Try to form or assist in forming a concrete action plan for how to address the challenge; however, be realistic in addressing each area and prioritize. The plan should provide structure, support, and comfort, not overwhelm or upset. Feeling a sense of control over the situation and having input on a plan helps individuals to feel less stuck and to be able to begin to navigate forward or past difficult times. Regaining control in whatever way possible is critical and will generally elevate stress and frustration. Help yourself or others to find and realize their inner strength. Mindfulness and meditation can often help with this.
Please feel free to reach out if you are having a health or life issue that you need assistance in navigating past. We are here and happy to help!