James’s tips: coping with impending change and challenging emotions
Shout Coach and Psychology graduate James Creer shares his personal experiences of dealing with change and his tips for coping with the challenging emotions that can come with it.
Change is constant in life. Regardless of whether the change you’re facing is big or small, positive or negative, it can bring with it a range of emotions - from happiness and excitement to anxiety and depression.
So how can you cope?
If you’re feeling daunted about a change you are making in your life, it can help to take a moment to remind yourself why you’re doing it.
There’s a reason for everything we do and reminding ourselves of that - and what we’re either working towards or getting closer to - can help us get through the difficult times.
Having something or someone that helps you to feel grounded in positive times or in your motivations can be helpful.
Whether it’s a teddy (yes, you’re still allowed them) that brings you comfort, a photo reminding you of an amazing time you had with friends or even a dinosaur model reminding you of your determination to become a palaeontologist (other careers are available!).
Look for the positives
When you’re struggling with a challenging situation, it can help to take a moment to look at what you’re getting closer to.
When I was looking to move and buy my first home it didn’t go to plan - with delays, builders going into administration and a change in property. It was incredibly stressful.
After a year and half I've ended up securing a home that I’m now just a month away from moving into. It is a space which has what I need, will express who I am and bring me closer to people I love and care about. Focusing on having all this to come has helped me cope with the changes in expectations through my journey.
Find your piece of calm in the storm
It’s easy to get lost in the nature of the emotions we feel. They’re incredibly powerful and at times can start to feel too much to manage. This is where you want to know what helps you find a piece of calm in a storm.
For me this is listening to instrumental music or film soundtracks; they provide a melodic space where I start off feeling what has come up for me and then get lost in the trajectory of what I’m listening to.
Setting realistic goals
Setting yourself some manageable goals can help you to gain a sense of structure, even if it feels like other areas of your life are less predictable. Short-term goals or small steps can help to minimise the stress you feel as you strive to reach your end goal.
Dipping your toe in the water
If you’re worried about an upcoming change or situation, don’t expect too much of yourself too soon. Dipping your toe in the water can help you ease into the situation and alleviate some of the apprehension and anxiety you might be feeling.
I did this recently at my best friend's engagement party. I didn’t know many people there and knew I would need to talk to new people. That’s not my biggest strength! Normally, I would only talk to people if I had some idea of the topics they would want to talk about, but this time I decided to start with a simple “hello”. From there, conversations began to flow and I had an enjoyable time.
In life, you can’t resist change. It happens with or without us but what we are in control of is how we respond to it so take your time, think about what you want, how you can get it and trust yourself.
You’re of worth and you can face life’s challenges - one step at a time.