The only constant in life is that it is always changing. Big life changes can be very challenging, and many of us struggle to cope with them in a healthy way. But with the right mindset, we are not only able to accept change, but celebrate it.

If you have been on this planet for a while, there is a good chance that you have gone through some major changes in your life. Sometimes, these changes are caused by deliberate choices we make, such as going to university. Others come completely out of the blue and can shake us to our core, e.g., suddenly losing our job or the end of a long-term relationship.

Change is one of those "big concepts" that we rarely ever talk about despite the fact that it affects every aspect of our lives from beginning to end. As a result, it is therefore perhaps not that surprising that so many of us are really bad at dealing with it.

First, DON'T cling to the past. When our lives are changing in a major way, it can feel as if we are losing a part of ourselves. The longer we are used to something, the more we start to identify with our circumstances. By romanticising the past, we give in to an illusion: The past does not have anything more to offer. Life is happening right here, right now and that is where our focus should be. If you are looking for a more humorous take on the same idea, Irish comedian Dara Ó Briain once famously described nostalgia as "heroin for old people," urging his audiences "the key thing is, you've got to go with change. When change occurs, you can't be sitting there resisting it like a fool."

So, try and let go of the past but DO reflect on what has happened. One way of dealing with changing life circumstances is to ignore that it is happening. But sadly, ignoring a problem does not make it go away. Chances are, if you decide to bottle up your feelings instead of working through them, they will fester and slowly turn into resentment, self-loathing, and other toxic emotions over time. Change is always scary and depending on what triggered it, it may take a significant mental toll on you. Allow yourself the breathing room to come to terms with what is happening and how you feel about it.

Do yourself a favour and DON'T play the blame game. Whenever we struggle, it can be very tempting to look for a scapegoat. Blaming another person or anything besides ourselves allows us to shift responsibility away from us. By doing so, we effectively forego any chance of moving on and have to rely on spite and hate in order to feel better about ourselves. While we often have little control over outside circumstances, it can be helpful to realise that looking inwards and working through our own regrets, hopes, and dreams may be hard work, but it does offer us a real chance of coming out of any situation as a more mature and compassionate person.

Make the best of any situation and DO look for opportunities to learn and grow. When life is changing, we are faced with a rare chance to re-evaluate ourselves. If our life has been more or less the same for a long time, it is easy to develop a mentality of "oh well, this is just how things are." But if our day-to-day lives are suddenly shaken up in a major way, we may end up realising that we have a lot more agency than we previously thought we did. Embracing change means growing as a person and getting over your fear of starting anew. It is never too late to choose differently and sometimes life gives us a little (sometimes not so little) nudge to help us realise this.

This one is really important: DON'T succumb to cynicism. What often happens when we try to resist change, avoid dealing with obvious issues in life, and give in to our fears of an uncertain future is that we end up becoming cynical. Our hearts become increasingly rigid, and we mistrust hope and happiness, mocking them as silly daydreams. We mistake being deeply unhappy for "being realistic." Even at this stage, we can still work through our past trauma and bring back peace to our mind. But it is significantly harder and thus always preferable to avoid going down this path altogether.

Instead, DO explore new paths. When it comes to change, we can sometimes focus a bit too much on what we are leaving behind. But change does not just mean accepting that something is over, it also means being able to experience completely new paths – perhaps even ones that we never imagined would be open to us. Deliberately pursuing these new experiences can help us understand that life is not over, it's just changing – and more often than you think for the better.