5 Ways to Overcome Unexpected Change

by, Jennifer Howard M.A., CLC, RYT

“When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.” 
–Alexander Graham Bell

Sometimes life unexpectedly throws a new obstacle in our path.

Often it’s a loss — a job, relationship or even an opportunity that falls through. During these times, it can be difficult to maintain happiness and stay on path.

If you’re dealing with an unexpected change in your life, here are 5 strategies to consider:

1. Allow yourself to mourn the loss. Change, especially when it was unexpected, can be difficult for anyone to manage. It’s important to allow yourself time to grieve your loss. Don’t let yourself be pressured into hiding or denying your feelings. It’s important to process the loss in your own time so that you can heal and acknowledge any lessons you may have learned.

2. Look for meaning. Re-frame the recent change in a way that allows you to see the positive along with the negative. Maybe losing your job will open you up to the possibility of following your dreams. Maybe the loss of a friendship will allow you to be more available for healthier friendships down the road.

3. Do something fun. It might be helpful to temporarily distract yourself with an enjoyable activity. This is different for everyone — read a book, go for a jog, see a matinee, start a new hobby. Just be careful not to overindulge or fill your time with something that’s going to make you feel worse in the long run.

4. Connect with friends and family. It’s important not to isolate during difficult times — especially times of change. Strong relationships provide support and help ease the transition. So make plans and stick to them. Keep busy with friends and family. Ask for help when you need it and offer your help to others.

5. Make a decision to face forward. Now that you’ve mourned the loss and processed the change, make a conscious decision to stop lingering at the closed door waiting for it to reopen. Instead, face forward with courage and be open to new opportunities. New opportunities bring new joy — embrace the challenge before you.