Do Changes Put You Over the Top? 5 Coping Skills to Reduce Stress

Do you thrive on changes in life? Most hate it. Many people eat the same foods every day; take the same route to work or even stay in the same job for 35 years; others change jobs every five years. For many, routine is stability; for others, it’s stagnation. It all depends on your perception!

Some changes in everyday life we can plan. Some we cannot; life happens. Normal life events such as pregnancy, changing jobs, a high mortgage, a son or daughter leaving home can send us into a spin. Even vacations and holidays such as Christmas can be stressful for some.

Top 10 Life Changes That Cause Stress Burn Out

Awareness is key. According to Holmes-Rae Life Stress Inventory, the following are the top ten changes that can cause serious stress symptoms: Death of a spouse, divorce, marital separation, jail term, death of a close family member, personal injury or illness, getting married, getting fired at work, marital reconciliation, retirement.

Five Ways to Cope With Changes

1) Realize that it’s the transition period after the event that can be the most difficult. You may feel like you’re in limbo, treading on unsure ground. You likely feel tremendous loss. These are normal feelings after life altering events. They won’t last forever.

2) Try to do familiar things: take your pet for the usual walk, eat foods you’re used to, frequent familiar restaurants, watch favorite movies.

3) Talk to someone about the changes and how they affect you. This can be a great way to reduce stress.

4) Do your best to see the change as the glass half full instead of half empty. For example: You lose your job. You sit inside your home and worry about your bills. Instead, look for a new job that you feel you will enjoy more than the last, one that is more suited to your skills. Or learn a new skill. This can be scary, yet exciting.

5) If you can see nothing positive about a particular change in your life, make a list of all the things and people you’re grateful for. Note successes that you’ve had. Repeat these to yourself often. These positive psychology ideas can help in changing negative thinking.

Most of the time, we can’t plan ahead for deaths in the family, floods, power failures or computer crashes. Eventual acceptance of those difficult events and recognizing other positive features in your life will help you to reduce stress. Know there’s light at the end of the tunnel.