Coping With Change

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Change is inescapable. It’s hard to imagine not going through multiple changes in your life, all the things that would stay the same and the things you would never get to do if things didn’t change. So why do I and so many others hate change? 

Ironically, I’m the kind of person who needs a little bit of change in my life to keep things interesting. I don’t like doing the same thing over and over, which -- I’m not going to lie -- makes it very hard to stick to things like school subjects or projects. My interests are fleeting, and I’m happy to change what I’m doing to feel the thrill of a new task and adventure. At the same time, though, there are many things that I cannot even fathom thinking of changing. At the moment, this is a big thing for me. As I near the end of my high school experience and what many would consider my childhood, many significant changes are happening to me and the people around me. At the end of the school year, my boyfriend and some of my closest friends graduated high school and are now off to University to start the next chapter in their lives. That will be me and my other friends in another year. It’s scary when any change happens, massive ones like these. You feel like you’re moving through uncharted territory and have no idea what the other side will look like. Will everything feel different, feel wrong? This change seems so scary because we’re afraid it will affect, especially, the people we care about. However, no matter how much we worry and try to resist the change, it is inevitable. So, what we can do is learn how to cope with it.

Tip 1: Communicate Your Feelings

One of the most important things can be to get your feelings and fears out into the open. Ask your friends or whānau if you can discuss your worries with them. It’s highly likely they went through or are going through the same thing and have felt the same way. They may be able to offer you some advice and support, or sometimes it’s even just nice to have someone listen to you and just be there so you don’t have to face your feelings alone. Communicating these feelings overall means that you aren’t going to bottle them up until they explode, and you’ll hopefully feel better once they’re out in the open.

Tip 2: Accept Your Feelings, Don’t Fight Them

For many of us, our first instinct when we encounter negative feelings is to push them away and force ourselves to be okay. However, this ends up achieving the opposite, and these feelings get bottled up and internalised, hindering us in the future as we don’t learn to cope with these situations. Bottling up your emotions can also make you feel like you’re going to explode. It can lead to emotional outbursts that aren’t dealt with healthily. The best thing you can do is remind yourself that it’s ok to have these negative feelings and let yourself feel them now rather than waiting for them to explode. 

Tip 3: Find Ways To Express Yourself

One of the most helpful things I’ve found when dealing with negative feelings is finding an outlet to express them. You’d be surprised how much even just drawing a picture or writing a poem can help communicate and get out your feelings healthily. Listening to music has always helped me and, at the very least, given me something to cry to. But one thing I did last year when dealing with fears of change was use my Media Studies music video as an outlet for these feelings. We did the music video to the song ‘All Things End’ by Hozier and made it about four different friends going their separate ways, which allowed me to express my fears about it in a way that helped rather than hindered me.

Tip 4: Remember The Good Times

Just like Hozier’s song title, all things do end, but that doesn’t mean the happiness those times brought us can’t last long after they ended. Our joy and connection to those memories are still there for us, and although it can be bittersweet, having something to remember is a good thing. If you are able to reminisce without feeling too negative about it, remembering the good times can return some of that happy feeling.

Tip 5: Consider The Positives 

It sounds like such a cliche statement, but while these positives cannot always outweigh the negatives, they can give us something to think about and look forward to. Change is challenging, but some things can make it more bearable. Change brings exciting new opportunities, new goals, new career paths, new friends, and new possibilities. We cannot always control the changes in our lives, but while we are coming to terms with the negative aspects of change, we can also look forward to the positive aspects.