Embracing Change: Mindset Shifts For A Happier Life

Medically reviewed by Laura Angers Maddox, NCC, LPC
Updated April 21, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Change can be challenging, whether a significant change or a minor one. However, embracing change can lead to personal growth, fulfillment, and healthier relationships. People who welcome mindset shifts and adapt to new situations may also experience improved mental health, including decreased anxiety and depression.

Cultivating mindset shifts that welcome change can improve your resilience, allowing you to cope with unexpected events and setbacks. By transforming your mindset and lifestyle to embrace change, you can open yourself up to new opportunities and experiences that bring happiness, fulfillment, and success.

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How change impacts us

Change can be challenging and bring up various emotions. Feeling uncomfortable or uncertain when faced with new situations, life circumstances, or ideas can be natural. For many, a fear of the unknown may prompt this discomfort. As you may be unable to predict what will occur in the future, feeling uncertain can cause worry, stress, or other mental health challenges. It may also prevent you from pursuing personal development opportunities and personal goals.

Another reason why change can be challenging is the fear of failure. You may worry that you won't be successful in the new situation or that you could make mistakes along the way. Fear of loss can also contribute to resistance to change; when facing a change that threatens to take away a significant part of your life, it can be difficult to embrace it.

While embracing change can be tough and possibly cause you to feel fear more intensely in the short-term, it can also bring significant personal growth, fulfillment, and healthier relationships. Those open to change and adjusting to new situations may experience a better mental health outcome, which may include decreased anxiety and depression symptoms. Moreover, creating mindset shifts that welcome change can boost resilience, enabling you to cope with unexpected events and move forward after setbacks. Being open to change can also increase creativity, as you may be challenged to think outside the box and create innovative solutions. While a fixed mindset may hold you back, mindset shifts to a growth mindset can help you move forward.

Another potential factor contributing to resistance to change is the fear of losing control. When there is little control over a situation, individuals may worry about everything that can go wrong and resist change in order to retain a sense of control. Additionally, a lack of understanding or awareness of the benefits of change can prohibit embracing it. Facing your fears and identifying the factors contributing to resistance can be crucial steps in learning to embrace the reality of change.

How to embrace change

Shifting your mindset can be essential in embracing change and reaching your full potential. Maintaining the same patterns can lead to feeling stuck in a specific part of your life. While it may feel comfortable to “be stuck,” these situations often restrict our ability to grow. A growth mindset can be valuable when adapting to new situations because it promotes seeing challenges as opportunities for growth. This powerful mindset often involves believing abilities and intelligence can be developed through work, dedication, and a willingness to learn. If you're needing a shift in your mindset, know that it might also involve embracing challenges as opportunities for growth rather than seeing them as threats.

Challenge unwanted thought patterns

A common theme of fear-based mindsets is negativity. When adopting a growth mindset, try to challenge unwanted thoughts, identify negative self-talk, and replace them with more positive and empowering thoughts. For example, instead of thinking, "I can't do this," try thinking, "I may not be able to do this yet, but with practice and effort, I can learn and improve." This practice is called cognitive restructuring, a common strategy in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Regularly implementing cognitive restructuring can result in powerful a mindset shift.

Practice positive affirmations

Positive affirmations may also help you shift your mindset toward growth and positivity. Forbes quotes CJ Bathgate, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in the Division of Neurology and Behavioral Health at National Jewish Health. He states, "A positive affirmation is a concise, realistic statement that embodies something we value, whether it's who we want to be or what we want in life. Our brains are always looking for shortcuts and tend to latch onto thoughts that come up the most or are the most easily available."

For example, repeating, "I am capable and resilient" or "I embrace change and growth" can help mindset shifts towards a more positive and growth-oriented point or perspective. By regularly practicing positive affirmations, individuals can build their self-confidence and resilience. This can help them overcome obstacles and imagine better ways to adapt to change over time.

Below are a few positive affirmations you can try for embracing change:
  • "I commit to always trying my best." 
  • "I am proud of myself."
  • "I choose change, even when it's hard."
  • "I will get through this change."
  • "I am strong, capable, and worthy of positive change." 
  • "Change is a teacher."
  • "I am on a journey and can't wait to see where I end up."

Focus on the present moment

In addition to challenging negative thoughts and practicing positive affirmations, try to focus on the present moment and cultivate gratitude for what you have. Mindfulness practices, such as meditation or deep breathing exercises, can help individuals stay present and reduce anxiety and stress. Additionally, taking enough time to reflect on what you're grateful for, such as your relationships, accomplishments, or personal strengths, can help you develop a more growth-oriented mindset.

Seek social support

Overcoming obstacles to change can be challenging, but seeking support can make a significant difference in mindset shifts. Reach out to friends and family for emotional support, and consider joining a support group or local club to feel a sense of belonging and encouragement during times of change. When you recognize that others understand, it can help you feel less alone and more motivated to embrace change.

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Overcoming obstacles to embracing change

Change is a complex and often daunting process, and it can be challenging to embrace it fully. Feelings of fear and uncertainty are common obstacles that can hinder progress. The fear of the unknown, fear of failure, and fear of loss can all contribute to resistance to change. These fears can manifest in various ways. You may notice feelings of anxiety or depression or avoidance behaviors that prevent you from taking steps toward achieving your goals. In turn, this can stop a person from seeing exciting possibilities, living a more fulfilling life, and making good shifts toward the person they want to be.

Reframing one's mindset toward change can help them act to overcome obstacles and achieve their objectives. Rather than seeing change as a threat, individuals can view it as an opportunity for growth and learning. This shift in mindset can help individuals approach change with a sense of curiosity and openness rather than fear and resistance. This can be a valuable approach that is likely to pay off over the years.

Time supports this with a quote from Tim Judge, a professor at the Ohio State University's Fisher College of Business. He states, "Instead of letting ambition rule your life, you can adopt a 'growth mindset," which refers to the belief that intelligence is not fixed and can be fostered. Judge says it may be healthier to strive for growth—learning or honing a skill, or cultivating a trait you admire in others—rather than concrete goals like getting a certain job title or salary."

Accepting change is also a core concept of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), which helps those experiencing intense emotions cope. One of the skills used in DBT is called radical acceptance, which involves accepting the changes you cannot control. It showcases how emotional pain and growth can co-exist and that accepting the truth doesn't necessarily mean it is fun or easy. If used correctly, this technique may help more people with mindset shifts understand the changes they go through while working on coping with their emotional distress. It can be applied to any area of life, such as careers, family life, relationships, and more.

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Counseling options to help you achieve a growth outlook

Seeking professional guidance from a therapist or counselor can also be beneficial, as they can provide advice in navigating the challenges of change. A therapist can help individuals develop coping strategies for managing anxiety and stress and can offer a safe space to express their emotions and beliefs. In addition, a therapist may be able to help someone work through any complicated feelings they may be experiencing in their in-person or virtual office.

While there is no one singular “end goal” to online therapy, it has become popular for individuals looking to embrace change with a new mindset and lifestyle for a happier life. One of the primary benefits of online therapy is its increased convenience; individuals can have therapy sessions from the comfort of their homes or wherever they have an internet connection thanks to mobile web sign-in. Though this medium members can schedule appointments with greater ease without needing to spend additional money or energy traveling to and from a therapist's office.

One study analyzed the real-world effectiveness of digital mental health services during the COVID-19 pandemic and found that digitally delivered care with a therapist or coach improved subjective well-being and clinical improvement in depressive symptoms. If you're interested in receiving the benefits of internet-based counseling, consider signing up with a platform like BetterHelp, where you can be matched with a therapist according to your preferences for care, allowing you control over how you receive support.


Change is a part of many people’s lives, but it can sometimes be challenging to cope with. When coping with a change that is difficult for you, having support can matter a lot. You're not alone in these feelings; a licensed therapist or counselor can guide you as you make decisions and lean into your personal growth. Consider creating a new account with BetterHelp and contacting a therapist online or in your area to get started.

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