Adapting to life changes is the key to surviving them. However, it may not be as easy to achieve as it sounds. Anxiety, stress and an overwhelming reaction to life changes are very common regardless if the changes are positive or negative. So, how do people cope with life changes that throw them off balance? Well … for starters, they seek ways to survive.
5 Ways to Survive Stress and Anxiety That Comes With Life Changes
Life changes will happen. Let’s face it – sometimes good news or bad news can turn your life upside down. As a human, we are all creatures of habit, which can make things feel really uncomfortable as we adjust to new lifestyles and landscapes. Here are 5 tips to make the journey a little less bumpy and ease that stress:
1. Get Organized
People who stay organized are much less likely to struggle to maintain a stress-free life. In fact, you may find that by simply getting things in order around your home or workplace you not only clear your mind but also reduce your stress levels. So, go ahead and buy some bins, shelves and a big trashcan. Get rid of anything distracting to clear the way for your new life changes: clothing, clutter, trash, dirt and grime. Just get rid of it.
2. Find Something Comfortable
Don’t reach for comfort foods that may not be so great for your health. During times of stress it is much better for your body to find other ways to feel comfortable. Consider doing activities that you did when you were a child or with a close family friend like painting, gardening or model collecting. This may help to reduce stress and anxiety levels associated with changes in your everyday life.
3. Breathe Deeply
A simple thing like your breathing can go unnoticed in times of stress. But you could be taking shallow breaths and not even realize it. Check now to see if your belly fills up with air when you breathe. If it does not, take a moment to inhale deeply through your nostrils. Allow the breath to fill your belly until it looks round and filled with air. Then, exhale out of your mouth to fully expel the breath. This is known as deep breathing and it is also a well-known form of meditation proven in clinical studies as an effective way to slash stress in seconds. Breathing deeply has also been shown to boost attention and other negative mental effects on healthy adults.1
4. Contact Someone Close
Getting in touch with a close friend has a way of easing your thoughts and mind. In having just one short conversation with a family friend or close personal mentor you may be able to restore vital mental energy to keep pushing you through new life changes. Contact someone you feel comfortable with in any way that works best for the relationship (email, letter, phone call, in-person).
5. Try a Workout
Studies have shown that a workout as simple as taking a walk is associated with better health. One study showed that just 15 minutes of moderate activity performed daily (like taking a short walk) was linked to a 22% lower risk of death for people over the age of 60. Not only that but the increase in heart rate is an ideal way to boost your feel-good brain chemicals to reduce feelings of anxiety and stress.2
Seeking Counseling to Make Sense of Life Changes
If you feel like you cannot handle life changes you are having - it’s ok! Many people suffer from feelings of anxiety, depression, fears and even phobias as a result of life changes that can include relocation, unemployment, pregnancy, birth of a new child, children transitioning through different life stages, a loss or death of a family member or a friend, being the victim of, or witnessing a violent crime or experiencing another traumatic event. If you are having any of these symptoms, you may feel comforted to know that it could be a real mental health problem that a counselor can help with. In fact, Adjustment Disorder is one of the most used mental disorder diagnoses among psychologists and psychiatrists according to worldwide surveys of mental health professionals.3
So, if you feel anxious, like avoiding other people or depressed, contact a qualified counselor. It is easier than you may think to get help from these and other common adjustment problem symptoms.
- Xiao Ma, Zi-Qi Yue. The Effect of Diaphragmatic Breathing on Attention, Negative Affect and Stress in Healthy Adults. Front Psychol. 2017; 8: 874.
- 15 Minutes of Daily Walking Could Save Your Life. Psychology Today.
- Evaldas Kazlauskas, Paulina Zelviene. A scoping review of ICD-11 adjustment disorder research. Eur J Psychotraumatol. 2017; 8(sup7): 1421819.