Are you good at dealing with unexpected change? Can you stay positive even when facing uncertainty? 

Last month, unexpected change came my way and it has made me think about how we deal with it.

As humans we don’t particularly like change, but I think change is even harder when it is not our decision, when something happens and change is thrown upon us.

So, I wanted to share 3 tips and strategies I use to deal with unexpected change.

3 Tips to deal with unexpected change:

1. Take time to process. 

Change will always bring different emotions and it’s important that we take our time to process those emotions. Allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling. 

2. Focus on what you can control. 

There are many things with unexpected change that will be out of our control, but we can always control how we react to it and what we do about it. So instead of focusing on the things you can’t control, which will make us feel powerless, we can take back the reins by focusing on what is within our control.

3. Change your perspective to look at the opportunities. 

Change always comes hand in hand with uncertainty and unexpected change magnifies that uncertainty, but we can always shift our perspectives and look at the opportunities that change brings. This is not easy (this is why it’s important we take time to process) but dwelling on the negatives won’t make things go back to the way they were. Instead we can take a more optimistic approach and look for opportunities.

How to start changing your perspective?

I know that changing our perspectives is easier said than done. However, it doesn’t mean it is not possible, it just means we need to practise. So, I’ve added some practical tips about how to start doing that.

1. Reflect on the positives “what ifs”. 

Our brains are wired to search for danger, so it’s not surprising that we automatically think about all the negatives “what ifs” of a situation.

But if we want to be fair to ourselves, we also need to consider the positives “what ifs”. So take some time, and start thinking about those. Instead of “what if I don’t find a job, what if my business fails, what if I can’t do it, what if it doesn’t work out”, etc, start wondering about “what if it goes well, what if you find a job you love, what if your business goes really well”.

When you do this, pay attention to your feelings. Are those feelings changing? Are you feeling excited instead of scared? Are you feeling positive and hopeful, instead of sad and anxious?

The way we think determines our feelings, which in turn will determine our behaviours. And this brings me to my next point.

2. Start paying attention to your thoughts. 

Make a commitment to yourself to notice your thoughts throughout the day. Are those thoughts positive, or negative? How are you talking to yourself?

3. Change the narrative. 

Once you start noticing those thoughts, you can start changing them. You’re in control of your thoughts (or you can be if you practise), so start changing the narrative.

  • Take a few minutes during the day to focus on the positives.
  • Practise gratitude; try to find 3 things (small or big) that you’re grateful for each day. This focuses your thoughts on the positives, and will make it easier for your mind to find more good things.
  • Keep paying attention to your thoughts and the way you talk to yourself. And even if you can’t yet control the first thought, make sure you control the second one and transform it into a positive one. 

A final thought…

I know this is not an easy change, it takes time and practice, but I can assure you it’s worth doing.

Change will always be a constant in our lives, and it’s up to us how we deal with it. I am a planner and unexpected changes definitely disrupt those plans, but using the tips above, we can refocus, and redesign our plans.

How do you deal with change? What other tips or strategies do you use to come victorious at the other side of unexpected change? Let me know in the comments below.

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