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Adapting to Change and Life's Challenges

By Claudia Carballal, M.S., LPC-A

The ability to adapt to change is one of the most important skills or abilities that one can develop. Adaptability refers to the capacity of adults to deal with or adjust to life changes. Adaptability also refers to an individual's willingness, readiness, and resources to cope with change and life challenges.

People usually fear change. We don't believe in our own capacity to cope with changes and capitalize on change in the future. In other words, as a wise Indian monk said, "Not everything that happens is good, but something good can come from everything that happens." This way of thinking requires three crucial skills or attitudes in life: optimism, hope, and resilience.

The Power of Optimism

Optimism is a consistent predisposition to "believe that good rather than bad things will happen" (Scheier & Carver, 1985). Experts say that optimism is related to better personal, social, and life adjustment during changes and transitions. Optimism increases resilience, self-esteem, job satisfaction and exploration, confidence and overall happiness, and it lowers feelings of loneliness.

Never Lose Hope

Hope can be defined as "the perceived capability to derive pathways to desired goals and motivate oneself via agency thinking to use those pathways" (Snyder, 2002). Agency thinking is the motivational component in hope theory. Having a sense of agency refers to having a feeling of control and trust over one's own actions.

Hope is considered one of the most important psychological resources. It is a cognitive process involving a link between how we feel about ourselves and positive outcomes.

If we were never encouraged as children to pursue our dreams or to trust in our own power, it might be difficult for us as adults to have hope. This means that we may have a negative motivational state directed at life and its many changes.

"Not everything that happens is good, but something good can come from everything that happens." Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

The Power of Resilience

Resilience is a strategy that can facilitate and encourage adaptability to change and life's challenges. It is the capacity to bounce back from adversity, conflict, or failure. Resilience is a crucial ability in coping with personal and work-related challenges.

Studies show that even when some people have poor health, limited opportunities, or low self-efficacy, they are not less able to adapt to change and life's challenges if they are resilient. Resiliency helps us to stay focused and committed to a goal.

Interestingly, hope and optimism can help us become more resilient.


Claudia Carballal works as a Clinical Counselor in the United States with a private practice specializing in multicultural counseling therapy and life coaching. Her therapy work combines Western psychology and Eastern teachings. For three decades, Claudia has worked with immigrant and multicultural populations in the legal and the mental health fields. She is the author of Yoga Psychology for Mental Health: A Guide to the Wisdom of Eastern Philosophy and Yoga Psychology for Mental Health and Healing. For more information, visit Claudia Carballal Counseling. Follow Claudia on Instagram


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