Negative Change – How Humans Respond to It (Part II)

Human Response to negative change change curve kübler-ross kubler-ross

Human Response to Negative Change: Know where you are on a curve. Learn how to cope with negative change and become more resilient.

This blog article is part of our Change & Transformation blog series. In a previous blog article, we talked about the general Change Curve and how humans cope with change. 

We learned that the Change Curve describes the natural human response to change. However, it is usually very personal and individual, regardless of facing positive or negative perceiving change. It could take only seconds for some people to recognise any variation in their emotions when experiencing disruptive sudden change. For others, it might take longer – some hours, days, months. This is not a linear or step-by-step process either. It all depends on our resilience and how we cope with sudden changes. 

Negative Change: Know the Change Curve to take Counter Actions

So what does this mean for us in real life to know the Change Curve?

Knowing the Change Curve allows us to:

  • understand that humans naturally strive for control and predictability. Humans tend not to like change per se – no matter if it’s a good or bad change. They would rather keep the status quo.
  • accept that many things are out of our control range – and we can only control how to cope with and respond to them. 
  • acknowledge our emotional turmoil when we get impacted by a sudden change. It is totally fine to be moving when facing change. And since we know the Change Curve now, we can try to get an outside look at it, map out where we are on the curve currently, and take counter-actions to ease the transition and influence the adaption to change. The same applies when we want to help others go through change. 

We will cover in this blog article the counter actions that you can apply to yourself to help you move forward or to others to support their transition through negatively perceived and possibly even threatening change.

Negative Changer: Support to overcome it and to influence for outcomes

So what are the possible counteractions to support negative change impacts and influence for outcome following along the current Change Curve (Source: Kübler Ross Change Curve ®)? 

What can we do if a negative change happens to us or others around us to go through negative change and move on?


  1. SHOCK: Show empathy to the ones who experience shock (including yourself!).
  2. DENIAL: Encourage CAUTIOUS reality testing.  Look around to see what the facts are.
  3. FRUSTRATION: Legitimize feelings: It’s ok to feel frustrated.
  4. DEPRESSION: Encouraging support with a solution focus. It would be best if you had time to process it. Eventually, you will find a solution…
  5. TESTING: Nurture the spark of positivity! Eventually, positivity and the need to move come. Nurture it. 
  6. ACCEPTANCE: Appreciation and integration. Reflect on what happened and how you moved on. Encourage it in others.
The Human Response to Change: Know where you are on the change curve, trying to adapt to change and how to cope with it to become more resilient. negative change

Progress is impossible without Change (even Negative Change)

Something very beautiful happens to people when their world has fallen apart: a humility, a nobility, a higher intelligence emerges at just the point when our knees hit the floor. Perhaps, in a way, that's where humanity is now: about to discover we're not as smart as we thought we were, will be forced by life to surrender our attacks and defenses which avail us of nothing, and finally break through into the collective beauty of who we really are.

So let’s summarise the takeaways:

  • Progress is impossible without change
  • Know the Change Curve – Be able to map the Status!! And also know how to support others in these different change phases.
  • Ask the right questions that enable and encourage reflection and own problem-solving. Our Online Coaching Programs are designed to help you in these change situations. They coach you through change, but they also enable you to build the communication & coaching skills, resilience and mindset you need to thrive and prosper in this ever-changing world.
  • Don’t be a stranger! Ask us a question if you need more information! We will be thrilled to chat with you!

In the last part of the Transformation blog post series, we will discuss what counter-actions are helpful to support and influence positive change. Believe it or not, humans also often refuse to take on positive change…

More Posts You'll Love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *