All of us have Plan Bs in life because life rarely goes as planned. At first, it may seem like life’s out to get you because all you might be able to see is the bad, but eventually the silver lining pops up and it may actually end up doing more good than harm.
People deal with curveballs in different ways—some more unhealthily and dangerously than others. Here are some healthy ways to handle unexpected changes.
1. Acknowledge and accept things.
Change is a part of life and no matter how much you hate it, it will always be there and in every season of your life, it’ll happen. Before you do anything else to move forward, you need to acknowledge that, yes, unexpected changes exist and can happen.
Instead of denying change entrance into your life, welcome it with open arms and grace. I get that it can be hard and overwhelming, but acceptance is the first big step in moving forward with this change by accommodating it.
Even though it may initially seem like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, change can be a good thing in the long run and you’ll be able to see that with time.
2. Make a pros and cons list of the change.
Once your emotions settle down and you’re composed, it’s time to figure out the good and the bad about the specific change. Putting together a pros and cons list has helped me sort out my thoughts in many situations.
After you’ve written the pros and cons, throw away the part of the paper that lists the cons. Keep the pros column with you, whether it’s in your bag or in the pocket of your pants, so that you can look to it during the day when you’re hit with negative thoughts.
3. Focus on how the change changed you or your life for the better.
This ties in with the pros and cons list: focus your mind and thoughts on the positive effects that the change brings. It may be a new relationship, the beginning of a new season in your life or starting anew in a different location. Whichever situation you find yourself in, the key is to step away from dwelling on the negatives.
When I met my current boyfriend, it had been a few months since I had broken up with an ex and I had no intention of dating someone new until the end of the year. But, once we took our friendship to the next level, I had to focus on how it and he made me a better person, how the relationship helped my personal growth and how much brighter my life is with him in it.
4. Use creative mediums to come up with alternatives.
Maybe you’re the type of person who can sit down at your desk with a pen and paper and think about alternatives, but there are many people who cannot just sit down and think in one spot.
If you’re someone who is more hands-on like me and cannot sit still for long periods of time, find a creative medium and turn the process of devising alternatives into something fun! This can include journaling, drawing, diagrams or maybe even using your musical talents to come up with alternatives.
I think that making it fun and enjoyable will only motivate and encourage you to think outside the box and come up with unique alternatives that suit you!
5. Spend time with your friends and family.
Depending on your situation, you may not want to be surrounded by people; you may want to have alone time and lots of it. But, spending time with your support system can offer encouragement and may even help you navigate your unexpected life change.
I find it helpful when I’m talking and spending time with my boyfriend, and though I confide in him about my situation, being silly with him and talking about things that take the focus off of it is absolutely wonderful.
You don’t need to be surrounded by a crowd of people. In fact, it may be easier and more meaningful to spend time with one or two of your closest friends or family. You won’t have to worry about leaving people out and it will reinforce the definition of quality time.
6. Consider seeking therapy if it’s a difficult change to adjust to.
Therapy is not restricted to those who have hit rock bottom. It’s proactive and can guide you in making decisions as well as how to handle everyday struggles and any tragedies. Though you may be able to take care of yourself well enough, there may be some things that you won’t be able to figure out on your own, and that’s okay!
I understand that it can be a nerve-wracking step to take—maybe because of the stigma surrounding therapy or the fear of what other people will think—but therapy will help you to come out stronger than you already are, and that’s admirable.
So, while it may be easy to allow unexpected changes to shift your world negatively as things slide into chaos around you, know that it doesn’t always have to happen like this. There are other options and healthy ways to deal with those changes. How do you handle life’s curveballs? Share your thoughts and opinions below.