Coping with change

It’s one of the inevitable realities of life, completely unavoidable and something that scares most of us. There is a well- known saying that life is ‘10% of what happens and 90% of how you react to it’.

By applying some simple but effective strategies to the process of coping with change, we can effectively manage that challenging 90% of life.

Acceptance of the situation

Put simply, ‘it is what it is.’ This is an acknowledgement that change can’t be stopped – but by accepting it, we’re taking a powerful first step towards coping.

Own the emotion

It’s ok to feel it. Angry, sad, regretful, excited, nervous and even guilt-free. There are no rules about what emotions people should or shouldn’t feel – the important thing is to keep moving through the feelings. Some of us deny an appropriate emotional response to change in the belief that it is a show of strength. The negative outcome of this is that by bottling those emotions up, eventually things will likely boil over. An overwhelming sense of sadness is a perfectly legitimate response to loss. The most important thing is to not get stuck in a state of emotional inertia.

Find the positive

While this is certainly challenging, often, a positive outcome of change is personal development and growth, no matter what the scenario because an output of change is perception – the ability to see things differently through experience. This is a place to start – a single, small positive. And once we find one positive element of change, it will be easier to find others.

Keep moving one step at a time

By (often unconsciously) setting ourselves the goal of just moving through it, we are already looking ahead. We may not realise it, but by choosing to be proactive in our response to change, we are setting ourselves a goal that is achievable – and that’s called coping.

Source: This is an edited extract from ‘Coping with change’, available from AFA Care and Benestar at For more information about accessing AFA Care resources available at Benestar please visit