Life can change a lot in an instant. No matter why the changes occur, it can be disconcerting to feel like the ground is shifting and everything you knew was gone. Sometimes the changes are small but when big ones come, they can throw you off your game and make you feel like nothing will ever be the same again. Finding balance is important, but learning how to do it takes skill and practice.

Why They Hurt

Major life changes are meant to be difficult. If they were easy, they would not produce growth on the other side. When you change, it kicks the sensors in the brain into gear. The brain begins to deal with what is called cognitive dissonance. This is a stress response to coping with major life experiences. The brain and body are involved in big changes, which can either push someone forward or the changes can derail a person’s life.

Mental Health Shifts

Big changes in life can mean big changes in mental health for some people. This might be depression, anxiety, serious breaks in mental health and more. The reason this happens is the brain cannot respond effectively to the trauma or experience. When too much happens at once, it can result in difficulty coping with the transitions and making positive changes going forward.

Coping Mechanisms

Finding ways to cope with major life changes is important. Uncertainty can feel unsettling. To deal with it, try to think of the brain and biological impulses for stability. We are wired for stable environments. To ease the pathway of uncertainty and stress, try talking to yourself. Tell yourself what you feel is not bad but don’t get lost in feeling like this is the end of the world. It is not the end, it may be a disruption, but things can get better in time. Other means to cope better with shifts and changes in life:

  • Have a plan: always have an ‘emergency readiness plan’ handy. Stay organized and focus on the goals at hand. Don’t overload your body and brain with too many things on the ‘to do’ list. Be specific and intentionally focused on looking forward with hope
  • Give your brain a break: the brain is working tirelessly to help you sort through what is going on. If you are dealing with business, work, relationships, or global pandemics, the feeling is the same. Let the brain rest from thinking, saying, or doing too much. An unfocused mind can help give the brain breaks, like naps or doodling, to stop focusing on the thing at hand and do something else as stress relief
  • Find help: talk to a therapist, trusted friend, or sober companions. Don’t lock down when things get crazy. Seek hep for thinking positively about necessary shifts and look for new ways to see this challenge that will help give perspective to everything

Self care is at the heart of finding healing from big life changes. There is hope and healing from what life brings your way. Change is inevitable and shifts will happen (big and small). Find community, get support, and seek treatment if more help is needed.

Alta Loma cares about your physical and mental health. We are here to help if you are struggling through a crisis and find yourself dealing with addiction or mental health issues. Let us give you some tools and support to help you find recovery: 866-457-3843.