Healthy ways to cope with change are essential to our success and survival.
Without a doubt, from our birth, to our final departure, we experience an enormous amount of changing events.
Like the ebb and flow of ocean tides, we venture through constant and ever changing waves of occurrences.
We live in a world of chaos. In order to survive and protect ourselves, we need to find order on this frenzied planet.
When we witness changes in our lives, many of us hold beliefs and attitudes that can be referred to as cognitive dissonance; a psychological contradicting inner conflict.
For example, an individual may enjoy smoking tobacco; however, he or she may also be aware of the fact that smoking is dangerous to his or her health. This is just one example of a conflicting belief and attitude. Overall, we have values or assumptions that are inconsistent and contradicting–a cognitive dissonance.
We struggle with unwanted changes that, at times, appear to be forced upon us. On the other hand, we encourage beneficial changes that bring enjoyment and pleasure in our lives.
Learning healthy ways to cope with change
One of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine is Hippocrates of Cos, an ancient Greek physician who lived sometime between 470 BCE and 380 BCE. Here is one of the many significant thoughts he expressed:
“It is through error that man tries and rises. It is through tragedy he learns. All the roads of learning begin in darkness and go out into the light.”
Yes, we struggle with change and at times, we welcome alterations in our lives.
It’s quite easy to accept and flow through positive changes. We may even wish our optimistic circumstances never changed.
On the other hand, we hope and pray that adverse transformations we go through will rapidly flee from us; changes that cause us pain, sorrow, fear, anxiety, and loneliness.
Facing changes in a positive way
Going through life’s changes can bring us joy and sorrow. Fortunately for many people, an American theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr, wrote about healthy ways to cope with change in a sermon he gave in 1943.
People all over the world recite a portion of Niebuhr’s ‘Serenity Prayer’ in an attempt to cope with changing circumstances. It goes like this:
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”
It’s comforting to know we have the ability in acquiring wisdom to recognize that change is inevitable. The fact is, there are people, things, and occurrences we cannot change or control. In contrast, we do have control over some of the changes in our lives.
All the same, enjoy what you can, while you can and know that nothing lasts forever.