Heraclitus of Ephesus, one of the greatest minds in history, saw life as a river. He states that “you can never step in the same river twice”. This is because either you have changed and/or so has the river.
One thing can be assured in life, and that is that change is inevitable. Those who cope best with change adapt faster and more effectively, whilst enjoying the ride. So how can we best cope with change?
1. Get information
In a study examining how people cope with change, researchers at the London Business School found that through the gathering of information, participants were better able to interpret environmental cues to reduce stress, uncertainty and ambiguity. Once we understand our situation we can pick up on the information that is most important.
2. Dip your toe in the water
Familiarise yourself with the situation and give yourself a taste of what is to come. Exposing yourself to a situation that might be surrounded by doubt and worry, can help you to slowly adjust to the requirements of the task at hand. This helps you prepare for what is to come and allows unhelpful thoughts to be subdued and rationalised.
3. Ask for help
Asking for help is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness. Good people to ask for help include trusted family members and friends. Researchers have found that students who exhibited help-avoidance behaviour limited their personal development. Students who look for advice often develop more complex coping strategies by learning from the experiences of others.
4. Be patient
When we make changes to important parts of our lives, it takes time to adapt to those differences. Be patient and trust the process you’ve embarked on, because you might not see differences overnight. After all, the best things worth achieving often take time and perseverance.
5. Believe in yourself
In line with a growth mindset, those who believe they can develop their skills are more likely to cope better with change. Change should be seen as an opportunity to learn from past mistakes and develop a new set of skills.
6. Test yourself
Your comfort zone is a set of behaviours and actions that conform to the routine of daily life to reduce risk and stress that provides us with a sense of security. Research has shown that pushing yourself out of your comfort zone socially and creatively will produce the most beneficial learning outcomes.
7. Keep a sense of perspective
By understanding what is important we can identify what really matters. Find what is important to you and make that as personalised as possible. Take time to understand yourself and remember that however big the change, there is always a way you can take back control.
8. Remember your goal
When we have targets and goals, it is sometimes easy to forget what the bigger picture is. Remembering where you are going and where you want to be can increase your motivation to succeed.
As Heraclitus of Ephesus once said, life involves peaks, troughs, swirls and pits. However, by using the 8 scientific tips explained above we can ensure that coping with change isn’t as daunting as it might seem. By learning how to adapt more effectively, we can develop our resilience and see change as a positive.
You can find out more about ways of managing stress, particularly through growth mindset on our guide page.