Change can be a difficult occurrence to handle. But with these ways, it doesn’t have to be all darkness.

Change is one constant thing in people’s lives. Every day people are face changes, from nights turning to days to changes in their meals and the people they meet. But these, among others, are only superficial changes. And without knowing what the future holds, people may experience more significant changes in their lives.

Just as how Bernie McAuley’s book, The Shadows of Sawtooth Ridge, depicts it, change can arrive without warning. In his book, the main character’s life suddenly becomes one full of darkness as he’s introduced to a lot of substantial changes in his life and environment, and he’s left with the challenge of overcoming these changes.

While this book is only fiction created by Bernie McAuley, these challenges accompanying change occurrences are very real. Indeed, life can be cruel. It doesn’t give anyone any heads up when these changes happen.

Life during and after these shifts is difficult

As humans prefer certainty – the reason they make and stick to routines – being suddenly shoved into a world lacking it can be debilitating. Having significant changes in things they have grown accustomed to shakes this certainty, generating a strong sense of threat. This is why when people are faced with extensive and significant changes in life, most of them easily crumble or choose to avoid facing these situations.

But just as how the book’s character responded to changes, people don’t need to avoid or crumble against their weight. Instead, they need to face these changes head-on and believe that, as people say, there will be light at the end of the tunnel. And while this tunnel can be a long journey, it doesn’t have to be displeasing all the way. While people can’t choose if they want to experience change, they can always choose how they respond. Here’s how:

Try to move on with life

With whatever it may bring, change can easily get people absorbed and consumed by its thoughts. After all, a shift in one’s stability is enough to catch their attention and become their life’s focal point.

This is especially the case if the biggest change one faces is the loss of anyone important that impacts their lives. While mourning this loss and coping with life afterward takes time, try not to get too stuck in the negativity. Research shows that this grief and heaviness can be a catalyst for a renewed sense of life. This experience can offer a new purpose and direction in life. Even though it sounds thoughtless or insensitive to the given situation, sometimes life plunges anyone into darkness so they can see and appreciate the light better.

Rather than your fears, focus on what’s important

It’s expected that change can give anyone anxieties. But choose to remember what is important in life. Is it pain? Suffering? Or is it family, friends? Hope?

Diverting attention towards the more important things can be a preventive measure against the anxiety and trouble change can bring. By focusing on these, people can be more hopeful for what the future holds and cherish what they currently have, instead of being in despair about what they lost and the things that changed.

Recognize the past. Don’t dwell on it.

Even though focusing on what’s important can be highly beneficial, this doesn’t mean people need to forget about what or who they lost completely. Acceptance is essential in moving on. But in accepting everything that happened, people shouldn’t allow regret or sorrow to consume them.

Be hopeful for the future.

The Shadows of Sawtooth Ridge’s protagonist, Larry, is a perfect symbol of this concept. While life suddenly plunged him into many significant changes – he became a single father, the place he grew up in is suddenly sold to someone else – he didn’t give in. When things weren’t how they were supposed to be, Larry gave himself a chance and decided to take hold of his future, instead of succumbing to these struggles. Instead of suffering, he focused on his kids and later on the possibility of a blooming relationship.

Be in the present

Besides realizing and accepting the past and staying optimistic for the future, the most important thing is living in the present. Being aware of the present makes acceptance of the past much more manageable. And by realizing what one has to treasure in the present, pain can be dealt with more effectively, and stress from the past can be reduced.

Lastly, give yourself a break

When everything around someone changes, life may start to feel a little bit disorderly. At a time like this, people don’t need to beat themselves down because they aren’t functioning at a hundred percent all the time. Remember that it’s okay to rest and give oneself enough time to process everything. Above all, prioritizing oneself is essential in this process.

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