how to embrace change

How to support your mental health during big life changes with Ofosu Jones-Quartey

It’s hard to overstate just how important our mental health is to our overall well-being. 

And Mental Health Awareness Month is a great opportunity for each of us to reflect on ways to support our minds and, by extension, our lives, especially when things happen that are beyond our control. 

One of these things is life's innate uncertainty. The rate at which things change can be dizzying, which can also seriously impact our mental health. 

Personally, I became a dad while I was still in college. I actually walked the graduation stage with my daughter in my arms. It was a time of big changes for me: becoming a new father, graduating college, moving into an apartment with my fiancé, starting a family at the tender age of 22, entering the workforce—all of it. 

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was developing a chronic anxiety condition due to all of these profound changes. Aside from the personal uncertainty in my life, the year was 2001, and our country was facing frightening national and global tension. Needless to say, these external uncertainties and changes also impacted my mental health. 

3 ways Coach Ofosu supports his mental health during big life changes

Now that I’ve come out on the other side, I’d like to share three things that I do to support my mental health during times of change: embrace uncertainty, practice self-compassion, and mindfulness.

1. Embrace uncertainty 

There’s a wonderful Chinese proverb known as “We’ll see.” It points to a healthy outlook on life’s changes and uncertainties. Here’s an excerpt: 

Once upon a time, there was an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years.

One day, his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said. “You must be so sad.”

“Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see,” the farmer replied.

The horse returned the next morning—with two other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed. “Not only did your horse return, but you received two more. What great fortune you have!” 

“Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see,” answered the farmer.

The old farmer in this story has seen enough of the world's ups and downs to know that keeping a balanced attitude when seemingly good fortune (or misfortune) arises is the best way to maintain inner stability and happiness. If we can cultivate an attitude that embraces uncertainty as a fact of life and practice embracing uncertainty in the face of life’s ups and downs, we can guard our mental health from falling into despair or unhealthy attachments. 

2. Practice self-compassion 

It’s good to have a friend by your side who can witness and experience this changing world with you.

But in my opinion, the best friend you could possibly have is yourself, because only you know what it’s like to experience life in your shoes. 

That’s why self-compassion is so important. It’s a way to help you acknowledge and savor the positive changes in your life and to comfort and guide you through the difficult changes. One of the best ways to practice self-compassion is to check in with how you are doing at any given moment, mentally, physically, and emotionally. Then imagine that your best friend or someone you love was feeling exactly how you’re feeling. What would you say to them? What would you do for them? Whatever you would say or do for a friend or a loved one in your shoes, offer those same words and actions to yourself. 

When faced with uncertainties, self-compassion can show up as a source of resilience and give you the fuel you need to keep moving forward on your life’s journey. 

3. Mindfulness 

Mindfulness is the practice that helped me come to terms with the fact that change is the only constant in life. It can be as simple an act as watching the rising and settling of each breath, listening to the coming and going of sounds, or watching the sun fade at the end of the day, noticing thoughts and emotions that arise and pass away, like clouds in the sky. 

Through practicing the kind attention cultivated in mindfulness, I learned that change is not something I need to be afraid of but rather something I can understand, embrace, and be at ease with. 

As the famous samurai, Miyamoto Musashi, once said: “From one thing, you can know 10,000 things.” Noticing your breathing, body, sensations, thoughts, and emotions in simple moments of mindfulness, brings your mind into alignment with the reality of life’s constant flow. And through practice, we can relax into this flow and embrace change, offering ourselves compassion whenever it’s difficult, maintaining equanimity during the highs and lows, and settling into the flow of change the same way we settle into the present moment in meditation. 

Embrace change with support from the Balance app 

Change is something that can impact our mental health, but luckily, we can find ways to support ourselves in the face of inevitable uncertainty by embracing it, practicing self-compassion, and practicing mindfulness.  

Another way is through support from the Balance app. Whether you're a beginner or have been meditating for years, Balance adapts to your progress and preferences, providing guided sessions that help reduce stress, improve sleep, boost focus, and most importantly—embrace change.

In fact, Balance has a 10-day Embrace Change Plan, where you’ll explore the benefits of change and practice techniques that will make you more resilient

Best of all, it’s completely free for the first year. So, consider this your invitation not just to embrace change but to transform your relationship with it, turning daily challenges into opportunities for growth and mindfulness. 

Download Balance now—you’ve got this.

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