We all go through changes in our life, many of them monumental shifts that can leave us feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and drained. Significant changes can be a source of joy, such as marriage, children, a new home, but they can also lead to unexpected challenges and heightened stress levels putting our mental health at risk. Fortunately, when you approach life with a plan, substantial changes will lose a lot of their ability to put us on edge.
Habits are Human Nature
Humans naturally form habits. Most habits help us get through routine tasks without thinking about them too much. When you don’t have to devote all of your mental energies to completing the more mundane tasks of the day, your mind is free to explore the more pressing and important matters and plan for the future.
Unfortunately, when your regular routine is disrupted, it can force your brain to entirely focus on ensuring your needs are met. As you venture further into unfamiliar territory, your brain quickly reaches capacity. Overwhelm soon follows, and stress levels rise and continue to do so until routine sets in once again.
How The Brain Adapts to Changes
Major changes in our life can alter our perception of the world and ourselves. Life changes in the real world can also create physiological changes in the brain. It’s a marvelous coping mechanism that helps us grow and adapt to our new circumstances.
Sometimes, the changes force you to take a fresh look at yourself, such as a new promotion suddenly putting you in charge of employees who were once your peers. Relationships can also create a need for self-reflection, such as becoming a parent, getting married, or getting divorced. It’s a new dynamic where you are not the only person affected by your decisions, and you can find yourself wondering how you are a part of it all.
The challenge is discovering how you can ensure you benefit from the challenges you face when going through life’s more turbulent moments.
How to Find the Calm in the Storm
It’s only natural to have a sense of unease during life’s big moments that take you out of your comfort and thrust you into unfamiliar territory. However, finding balance can restore your mental stability and help you stay on track.
Be Mindful of the Moment
When new situations force you to face uncertainty, it’s easy to cast your mind back to simpler times. However, keeping your thoughts and emotions firmly anchored to the moment can deliver the stability you need to get through it. Remember, the process of forming new habits will get easier, and what you are facing today will eventually be your new normal. Make sure to take care of yourself, and don’t feel guilty about taking a time out, getting support, or slowing down, if that’s what you need.
Give Yourself a Break
You will need time to adjust to big life changes, and that’s okay. You deserve to have feelings about whatever is going on in your life and the space to work through your emotions. Otherwise, you may find it difficult to reach a position of calm and clarity. Grounding can come from simple things like taking a breath, a cool drink of water, a walk in the fresh air, or dinner with a friend.
Turn to Your Relationships for Support
We all need support during the most influential of life’s moments. Friends are one pillar of support you can lean on but don’t forget your co-workers, close family members, or therapists. Anybody you can trust with your emotions can help get you through the tough times, especially when dealing with the trauma of loss, injury, or grief.
We will all encounter big changes, tough times, or periods of instability in our lives. However, when you stay focused on the big picture and use the strategies outlined above, you soon will grow into the new changes and your life will be better for them.
Don’t forget, you don’t have to go through any of these events alone. If friends or family are not immediately available or are unable to provide the support that you need, reach out to a therapist who can help you find the calm in the center of the storm.
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