Healthy Living

How to Handle Stress from Change

Sep 10 2019
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Check out these tips for handling stress from change.

There is no doubt life is full of change. However, change is a big deal and can add stress to your life. One way to manage this stress is to reflect on how you react to change.

At Mercy Health, we have a team of change experts and their in-depth knowledge can help in your life too. Check out these tips from the Culture and Learning Design Team on how you can best handle stress from change.

The three stages of change

You’ve probably heard about the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Similarly, there are emotional stages that people experience when faced with change.

  1. Denial – “This change will never happen.”
  2. Resistance – “I don’t want to change.”
  3. Adaption – “Maybe everything will be okay.”

An important note about these stages is individuals don’t usually transition smoothly from one to the next. Fluctuating emotions between stages is completely normal.

“People often feel that they should progress from denial to resistance to adaptation, and then they’re done,” explains team member Helen Young. “But what we know from research is we tend to bounce back and forth from day to day or even moment to moment. It’s all part of the process. It’s good to think of change as a journey.”

Coping with stress from change

Going through denial, resistance and adaptation is all about transitioning to your new normal.

Here are some tips to help lessen stress and fully transition into your new phase of life, whatever it may be.

  • Take time to reflect on the change going on. Consider what has improved in your life because of this new change. Journaling is a great way to reflect each day.
  • Set short-term transition goals for yourself and celebrate when they are achieved. This will help this process feel less like a marathon and more like a sprint.
  • Are other people going through this experience with you? Take this opportunity to share your feelings and support one another.

“Everyone reacts to change differently,” says team member Lauren White.

When dealing with stress from change, it is most important to take a step back and focus on what course of action works best for you.

Learn more about stress and how it can affect your heart.


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