The Four Stages of Coping With Change
Change can be difficult to deal with, even when it's for the better.
Welcome to Mind Tools' video learning series. Chances are that, at some stage, you've experienced a big change in your life.
Maybe it was a positive one. Starting a new job, or moving house, for instance. Or, perhaps it was painful. Losing your job or taking a pay cut, for example.
Depending on your specific situation, your reaction will have varied from excitement to fear. But, in all cases, your attitude toward the change likely affected your experience of it.
The good news is that we can improve how we cope with change by recognizing our reactions to it.
Most people react to change in four main stages.
During Stage One, you'll likely experience shock and disorientation. You'll feel confused and uncertain.
Overcome this by seeking out reliable information to guide you. Ask your manager and HR team for help, and talk through your concerns with them. But, avoid listening to gossip and rumors. They'll only cause you more pain, not less!
You might not reach a firm conclusion at this stage about what the change means for you, but remaining as positive as you can will help.
In the second stage, disorientation usually gives way to strong emotions.
By now, you might feel angry or fearful about the impact of the change. And you might start to find yourself becoming more pessimistic. This is natural.
But, however hard it is, try to keep your emotions under control. Acknowledge how you feel, but be careful about what you express openly.
Wait until you can think more clearly before you decide how you want to proceed.
During Stage Three, you start to come to terms with your new situation and can begin to explore what it means for you.
Resist any lingering feelings of resentment. Instead, focus on the positive aspects of the change. And be patient. Coming to terms with change is a gradual process, and one that can't be rushed.
In the fourth and final stage, you accept the change and move forward.
This doesn't mean giving up entirely on your former situation. You'll still have valuable memories, skills and relationships that you can keep and carry forward with you.
But, you're ready to move on. So, start setting yourself some new goals, or, better yet, develop an Action Plan that'll help you make the most of your new situation.
To learn more about how to cope with change, read the article that accompanies this video.