Major Changes in Life and How to Deal with Them
Major changes in life are widespread and can cause disruption, stress, and upheaval. But throughout all of these changes in life, it is important to learn how to maintain your inner peace and tranquility to ride through the waves of difficulty with ease. Positive change is easily ignored when you’re caught up in the turmoil or the distress that can accompany losing family members, loved ones, or a best friend.
Moving beyond your comfort zone from time to time and allowing yourself to have new experiences or do fun things will help put you in the right mindset needed for you to adjust or create a new normal during hard times, new situations, or a major life transition.
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Isabella Koepf | August 4, 2020 / Updated Aug. 2022
A Therapist’s Perspective on dealing with major changes in life…
Whilst we might be able to cognitively accept that life is a process of continual flux, it can be hard to accept major changes in life. Something in us craves the illusion of stability and constancy.
When sudden, dramatic, or major changes in life disrupt our equilibrium it can lead to anxiety, angst, and depression.
There’s a real art form in learning how to deal with change. Such wisdom is expressed concisely in John Henry Newman’s observation that: “to live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often”.
This blog provides strategies to help hone and develop the skills of going with the flow and adapting to the sorts of major changes in life that inevitably impact us all at some point.
What Are Major Changes In Life?
When major changes in life occur for you, it may lead to various mental and physical health issues if left unchecked. Many negative thoughts can often come along with significant life changes, thoughts about the things you may have lost, or goals you couldn’t accomplish.
Using some of the tools described below, you can gain the skills to push through these major life events and turn these changes which are an often inevitable part of life, into a time of joy rather than stress.
A major change in your life can be anything from moving houses, a new baby, a new job, or even a job loss.
There are unexpected changes in our lives that we can all generally experience that might be considered a particularly stressful change for anyone to deal with.
Some of the commonly experienced types of huge change, sudden change, or significant kind of changes we go through are the onset of puberty, graduation from high school or college, marriage, the birth of a child, death, losing love, and more.
These events are signifiers of change and often bring about a lot of stress and worry about what comes next.
But by learning how to change your perspective and deal with new things and major changes in life in a more positive way, you can start to shift your experience and turn these events into times of happiness and joy and positive life changes instead.
The good news is that going through a tough time in your life can, in fact, help you with your confidence and your self-esteem simply by making even small changes in your daily routine.
There is a natural tendency in human beings to see the negative when things change instead of all of the good things, the positive aspects, and all the opportunities that surviving a tumultuous time in life can bring.
The Effects Of Major Life Changes
Major life changes can often lead to psychological and physical health issues if they are not dealt with properly. When you undergo a significant change in life, it can lead to depression, anxiety, insomnia, and even posttraumatic stress disorder if the event is more traumatic.
These mental impacts from changes can lead to negative issues in your physical health. The mind and body are intimately connected, so when you undergo a significant amount of mental strain, this also leads to a substantial amount of physical strain.
Some common impacts on physical health from major life changes could be decreased cardiovascular health, increased blood pressure, decreased immunity, and more.
The primary effect of major changes in life on the body and mind comes from the impacts of stress.
When you experience prolonged mental stress leads to the release of the hormone cortisol in your bloodstream, which causes various adverse effects on your physical health.
So, when these major changes in life leave a lasting impact on your mental health, your physical health will also be significantly affected.
That is why it is essential to instill positive coping mechanisms before, during, and after these major changes in life to protect you from the various negative effects on your health.
“Often, it is not a change in partners but rather a change in perception that delivers us to the love we seek.”
~ Marianne Williamson
How to Deal with Major life Changes
1. Practice Acceptance
The key to living through any change in life is to practice acceptance and understand the uncertainty of big changes. Trying to control the outcome of an event is not possible, particularly during major changes in life.
Life is always throwing curveballs, so having the ability to roll with the punches can be a saving grace in difficult times. But acceptance does not mean that you do absolutely nothing to help yourself in times of struggle.
As Reinhold Niebuhr says in the serenity prayer,
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.”
By understanding and imputing the practice of this prayer into your life, you can find the perfect balance between understanding and action to carry you through any major change in your life.
2. Take Care of Your Physical Health
During times of change, it is especially important to take care of your physical health. As mentioned previously, the mind and body are intimately connected, so when you are undergoing significant amounts of stress during a major change in your life, this can have a substantial toll on your body.
Therefore, making regular exercise and healthy eating a priority, can give your body the fuel to power you through any difficulties your face. When you feel good, then you can think and act well too.
3. Make a Proactive Plan
The other side of acceptance is to know when to take action by making plans and taking concrete steps to achieve and work through difficulty. A great way to take action in this way is by actually making a proactive plan when possible.
Of course, you cannot always plan for everything. But if possible, it can be beneficial to have a few critical things set up in advance to help ease your transition during any major change in life. By setting up a self-care system as well before the major change occurs, it will make it much easier to handle any other instances that arise.
4. Check-In with Yourself
Throughout any major change in life, it is essential to be continually check in with yourself and meeting your needs as best as you can. Through major changes, it can be easy to get lost in the chaos of everything around you and disconnect from yourself.
But by checking in with yourself every morning when you wake up and every evening before you go to bed, you can make a plan for how to take care of yourself throughout these chaotic times and invest in your mental and physical health.
“Change is never painful.
Only resistance to change is painful.”
5. Reach Out to Your Support System
The best way to get through any major changes in life is to rely on a support system when possible.
By reaching out to friends, family, or your significant other during these times, it can give you a feeling of outside support, and you may even push off some of the stress onto others if they are willing to help.
If needed, it can also be helpful to have the support of a mental health therapist as well to ease you through these changes in life with grace.
Major changes in life are extremely common and often unavoidable.
But it is essential to put some practices in place to deal with these times with greater ease and comfort.
So, if you are going through a major change in your life, then try to put some of the above practices in place to ease your transition and bring greater peace into any chaotic situation.
Claire Law is a UK-based Counsellor and Psychotherapist from Preston, Northern England. Claire became a therapist after a career of almost two decades of High School teaching experience. She’s also worked extensively in the Social Care and Charity Sectors, and as a Mental Health Advisor in Higher Education. Claire combines her current Psychotherapy practice with freelance writing on Mental Health, well-being, and Psychology topics. She has a passion for Social Justice and environmental causes.
Claire holds a degree from Nottingham University, a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from Leeds Trinity University College, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Integrative Psychotherapy from the University of Central Lancashire. She’s completed a wide range of extensive training and certifications in Domestic Abuse, Survivors of Sexual Abuse & Sexual Violence, Suicide and Self-Harm, Expressive Arts Therapy, Gender Variance, Online and Telephone Counselling and Polyvagal Regulation developed by Stephen Porges, a professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina and “Distinguished University Scientist” at Indiana University.
My Name is Marty Ward and I’m the creator and publisher of the 1-Vibrant-Life blog.
At the age of 26, in 1984, I was injured in a car accident in which I sustained a traumatic brain injury.
At the time of the accident, I was having a fairly successful life as a musician in Chicago, which included a recent appearance on Star Search 84′ with Ed McMahon and preparing to be included in a group major independent recording contract.
However, after my accident, I was unable to perform or play my instrument. I was out of work and I had lost all confidence in myself and my abilities, felt lost and with no direction.
My injury and my recovery led me down a path of self-improvement, and self-discovery which gave me my life back filled with many amazing experiences and a newfound sense of hope. Learn more about my story on the 1-vibrant-life about page.
CBTCP Certification (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Certified Practitioner) | 10-16-2021 Certification From The Academy of Modern Applied Psychology, in The Transformative Science of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, CBT