Last week I talked about the overwhelming changes our world is experiencing and difficulties in coping. As I mentioned, any type of change can cause stress (even positive changes), but when we are challenged and confronted with change all the time, the emotional and mental impact can tax people beyond their ability to cope. So how does one cope with change, stress, and life demands?
For starters, we need to focus on the things/people in our lives that are stable, unchanging, and secure. Leaning on our spouse, family, close friends, and our faith during stressful and difficult times can be comforting. This requires us to reach out, share our vulnerabilities, and ask for help. For some, this task is difficult since they prefer to be self-reliant and independent. People need people. Research supports that when individuals are connected to others they live longer and deal with stress better. Personally, faith and fitness help me to cope with life stressors and change. I’m also a big fan of sharing our burdens with loved ones who can offer support, encouragement, and hope. Some people gain comfort from journaling, listening to music, and/or reading.
Taking a break from technology (especially news) and spending time with nature can provide comfort. Setting aside time to meditate, reflect, breathe, relax, and be still can reduce stress and give us perspective. Turn off the computer, phone, TV, and consider playing a board game instead. Accept the changes with a positive attitude instead of with resistance and agony. Lastly, follow the serenity prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Change is inevitable, but our response can determine the impact.