Cope with Life Altering Changes

Monday, February 9, 2009

If you are dealing with a major life change, whether it's a new job, a bad boss, a break up or divorce, being diagnosed with a disorder or disease, moving across country--you can cope!

Keep in close contact with friends and family. If need be, clean the numbers of those "fair-weather" friends out of your cell phone. Only true friends will stick around and help you get through life altering changes, everyone else will just take up your valuable time or add more stress to your already crazy life. Talk with your close friends and family. You may be surprised of their wisdom.
Make quiet time for yourself. Taking the time to recharge your batteries will help you be better prepared in times of crisis. Listen to soft, relaxing music. Turn off the computer, TV and phone. Learn to meditate. Meditation helps clear the constant "chatter" in your head.
If you have been diagnosed with a disease or disorder such as depression or ADHD, learn as much as you can about it. It is helpful to find a doctor who specializes in that area who can prescribe you the right kinds of treatments. Look in to medications that could help you and take on a holistic approach to your condition. Look at the way you live your life, what kinds of habits have you formed? What could you do to change these habits or acquire healthier ones? This is rough at first, but will get easier as time passes.
Join an interest group or church. This can help you connect with people who share a similar interest and maybe provide a wider network of support. There are many churches that sponsor support groups for coping with life changes. You can also research support/interest groups on the internet.
Think positively. Live life one day at a time. Set small goals for yourself and reward yourself when you reach them. Sometimes looking too much at a long term goal can be overwhelming. Break up the larger goal into smaller goals.
Do something fun! This can take your mind off stressful events. Visit a friend you haven't seen in a long time. Go see that movie you've been dying to see. Take a trip to the zoo or go to a museum. Learn something new.
Learn how to say no. If you are already stretched thin, learn how to recognize this and assertively say no when someone asks you for another favor. You don't have to give them reasons why.
Volunteer. Helping those who are in worse situations than you can really put things into perspective. Help out at a local nursing home or hospital. Join a mentoring program. Help out a friend in need or a family member. Donate money to your favorite charity.
Find your own personal Higher Power. I'm not saying you have to go join a church or become a devout religious person. Picture a divine higher power that you can give your problems to and take over when you are worn out. You can't control every aspect of your life. This is impossible, so simply hand it to your personal Higher Power.
Get to know yourself. Dealing with major life changes is a great way to grow and mature as a human being. Life is tough, and it doesn't get any easier. Find a few self-help books as well.
If you are not a very assertive person, you may have to become more assertive with people in order to put yourself first.
The more you grow and change during a crisis, the better person you become. People will begin to notice this.
Some people will be happy for you, others will not. Some people will be upset because you won't be playing into the role they previously assigned you. You may threaten them with your changes. Don't let these people get you down. These are the people who won't change.

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