On Tuesday, August 9 Categories:

I wrote an article about the about the stages of grief, and while writing it, realized they are also the stages of dealing with change. As an example, I just found out the builder took some shortcuts in building my house which are going to cost me close to $9,000 to fix. I pretty much went through all those stages—denial, anger, bargaining, depression (I'll be there again when I write the check), and acceptance. The secret to a happy life is making the time between denial and acceptance as short as possible. Here are tips:

1.) Early on, ask yourself—what is the reality? The house leaks, the flight is canceled, the relationship is over, it is what it is.

2.) Then assess your options (you have many). You can do nothing, you can scream and rant and fight, you can file a lawsuit, etc. With the house, I could try to take legal action, I could do nothing, I could fix part of it now and part of it later, or I could suck it up and fix the whole thing now. I decided on the last option. Filing a lawsuit would take so much time, effort and money and would probably result in nothing—life is just too damn short.

3.) Take action. Taking action gives you a feeling of control (even though you have little). Even if you've decided to do nothing, fill up your time with something other than obsessing. If you've decided to wait for the next flight, don't sit there fuming. Buy a good book and lose yourself in it—you'll be much happier.

4.) Train yourself to accept. Whenever a change comes about I now ask, "What are my options?" Sometimes I'm just asking myself. Say you get on the scale for the first time in months and you've gained a ton of weight. You can deny, get angry, bargain—or just ask—what are my options and craft an action plan.

5.) Fake it till you make it. Remain calm on the outside even if you are seething on the inside. Showing your anger usually makes everything worse. Take some seriously deep breaths; pretend you are Yoda, Gandhi or some other Zen master. You'll be surprised at the result.

You'll get plenty of chances to practice acceptance, I promise. May the force be with you.

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Denise Ryan, MBA, CSP, is a motivational speaker who gives presentations filled with great real world tips and a strong dose of humor. She is a blogger http://motivationbychocolate.blogspot.com and author. Her website is http://www.firestarspeaking.com where you can see more articles and sign up for a free newsletter.

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