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Family Matters

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Linda Mintle, Ph.D. is a licensed marriage and family therapist, author of 16 books, a national expert on family issues and the psychology of food and weight. She's an assistant professor in the department of pediatrics at Eastern Virginia Medical School, a national speaker, writer, and news contributor.

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Tips to Help You Respond to Change


I recently made a major change and moved to a new city and house. The transition began with the moving truck broken down on the highway, then getting lost and unloading until midnight in the dark with a little intermittent rain. Then, I noticed a vine growing into my front porch and without thinking, yanked it out. It turned out to be poison ivy and it now is covering my face and arms with a vengeance. Next, my husband came to pick me up from a business trip and hit a deer with one of our cars. The deer went to meet his maker and thousands of dollars of damage was done to the car. Thankfully, no one in the car was hurt.

Change, whether it is positive or negative, is never easy for any of us. Maybe you are going through a divorce, recently lost a family member or made a major move or job change. It doesn’t matter. Any type of change is stressful. But there are ways to stay positive with change.

Here are my six tips to help make a family or life transition:

1. Embrace the change. 

Stop wishing things were the same. If you are in the middle of a change, don’t fight it, embrace it.

2. Change your thoughts from negative to positive.

Instead of thinking of all the negatives and what could go wrong, shift your thinking to the positives. Intentionally focus on the up side of change and your attitude will improve.

3. Look at this as a new challenge versus an imposition.

Change means new opportunities. Novelty is good for brain health.

4. Calm down. 

Take a few deep breaths and focus on muscle relaxation if the stress is building. Read your Bible and quiet yourself for a few minutes each morning. “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). When we face difficult change, God is with us to walk us through that stressful circumstance.

5. Problem-solve.

Ask yourself: How can I make this change work for me? Generate a few simple solutions. Think through ways to optimize the opportunity.

6. Live in the moment.

Instead of thinking about what is lost, roll with it and see where the changes take you. Don’t anticipate problems. Stop. Refocus on now. Relax, embrace the moment. Focus on the benefits.

In the end, we can fight change or embrace it. When we embrace it, we usually grow.

Print      Email to a Friend    posted on Friday, October 05, 2012 3:18 PM

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