If you fear change or want to find a more positive way to see life’s unexpected twists and turns, becoming more adaptable can help.
By learning to go more with the flow, you can embrace the challenges that come your way and turn them into opportunities.
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How to embrace change in your life
Your adaptability comes down to your ability to evolve and remain agile in the face of uncertainty. Your current reality is continually transforming into something new.
As it does, your choice to go with the flow or rigidly resist reveals exactly how flexible and adaptable you really are.
Unpredictability is thrilling for some and challenging for others. Although change is inevitable, it still has the potential to catch us all off guard.
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If you’re convinced you can’t handle change, cast your mind back to five years ago. Where were you then, and what’s different today? Probably quite a lot.
Take a moment to reflect on all the changes you’ve already overcome. This may be the only reminder you need to affirm that you’ve got what it takes to ride all your waves of change.
How do you deal with an inner critic?
Not knowing what’s coming next can bring on a crisis of confidence concerning your ability to cope. It’s common to struggle with negative self-talk when things are changing around you and you’re out of your depth, trying to figure out the ‘right’ move to take next.
This is where it pays to practise acceptance and to be open to exactly what is, as it’s unfolding.
As nice as it would be to sidestep not-knowing altogether, life is filled with many moments where we don’t have all the answers, and there’s lots to learn from those who just keep calm and carry on.
It’s possible to remain optimistic, even when you don’t know exactly where the road will lead you, if you believe you’ve always got a choice. Whatever new experiences come your way, it also pays to watch how each one reveals something new about you, as a form of parting gift.
Transitioning into any new chapter is a great time to practise self-care and support yourself as best you can. Self-compassion and supportive self-talk can be all the encouragement that you need to leave the inner critic behind and to keep going when things are brand new to you, or altogether up in the air.
How to cope with big life changes
By accepting that uncertainty is the only certain thing, you put yourself in a better place to potentially look forward to what will come with every change and use it to your advantage.
Remember that just because something is new, it isn’t necessarily big, bad, scary or wrong. Could this be the right time to take the dream course? Move country? Create a deeper connection to yourself or someone else? The possibilities are endless.
Of course, it’s not always easy. Adapting to a new situation takes a flash of courage, a dash of trust, a stroke of luck and, of course, a positive perspective. But by being adaptable, you can accept each situation for what it is, and become more open to growing in a way that wasn’t possible before.
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4 ways to become more adaptable
Look for opportunities
When change is in the air but you find yourself overly-focussed on possible problems or failure, consider the potential for possibilities and remind yourself there are always opportunities, too. To be positive, proactive and continually improving during these times can be a big ask, but the rewards are obvious.
Asking closed or narrowing questions can limit your options and leave you struggling to find a solution. Instead, try opening up your approach. Ask yourself, ‘What is most interesting/surprising to me about this situation?’ and, ‘What opportunities does this scenario bring my way?’. This way, you’ll open yourself up to what’s emerging during times of change.
Notice the mental and physical signs that support you to be your most adaptable self. Are you feeling negative, compromised or constrained? Is your blood pressure rising, or are you starting to stress out? Pause and take the necessary self-care steps to look after your mind, body and soul, whether this is going to a yoga class, enjoying a relaxing bath with a good book or setting aside some time every day to meditate.
Use your initiative to consider what skills, strengths and resources you can access to support you to move forwards more easily. Everyone craves the comfort and ease of the familiar, but it’s down to you to make the most of the situation you’re in.
Laughter really is the best medicine. It’s also a great way to embrace uncertainty and remain open to it, instead of fearful of it.
Photos by Devin Avery, Sai de Silva and Evan Kirby on Unsplash