|Managing Life Transitions
Any significant loss makes most people feel fearful and anxious.
Since your future may now be filled with questions, it is normal to feel afraid. We live in a culture that has taught
us to be very uncomfortable with uncertainty, so we are anxious when our lives are disrupted. On the positive side, these
transitions give us a chance to learn about our strengths and to explore what we really want out of life. This time of
reflection can result in a sense of renewal, stability, and a new equilibrium.
A life transition can be positive or negative, planned or unexpected. Whether positive or
negative, life transitions cause us to leave behind the familiar and force us to adjust to new ways of living, at least
temporarily. They can leave us feeling completely unprepared and we may be thrown into a personal crisis, feeling shocked,
angry, sad, and withdrawn.
|Examples of Life Transitions
Life transitions can include any of the following:
Having a baby
|Stages of Life Transitions
|Successfully moving through a life transition usually means experiencing the following stages:
- Experience a range of negative feelings (anger, anxiety, confusion, numbness)
- Feel a loss of self-esteem..
- Begin to accept the change.
- Acknowledge that you need to let go of the past and accept the future.
- Begin to feel hopeful about the future.
- Feel increased self-esteem.
- Develop an optimistic view of the future.
|The process of moving through a transition does not always proceed in order, in these nice, predictable stages.
People usually move through the process in different ways, often cycling back and forth among the stages.
|Life transitions are often difficult, but they have a positive side, too. They provide us with an opportunity to
assess the direction our lives are taking. They are a chance to grow and learn.
|Here are some ideas that may help make the process rewarding.
|Expect to feel uncomfortable. A time of transition is confusing and disorienting. It is normal to feel insecure
and anxious. These feelings are part of the process, and they will pass.
|Take good care of yourself. Transitions are very stressful, even if they are supposed to be happy times. You may
not feel well enough to participate in your normal activities. Find something fun to do for yourself each day. Get plenty
of rest, exercise, and eat well.
|Build your support system. Seek the support of friends and family members, especially those who accept you without
judging you and encourage you to express your true feelings. A time of transition is also an excellent time to seek the
support of a mental health professional to assist with the process in a safe and support environment.
|Identify your values and life goals. If a person knows who they are and what they want from life, they may see the
change as just another life challenge. These people are willing to take responsibility for their actions and do not blame
others for the changes that come along without warning.
|Learn to identify and express your feelings. While it is normal to try to push away feelings of fear and anxiety,
you will move through them more quickly if you acknowledge them. Make them real by writing them down and talking about
them with trusted friends and family members. These feelings will have less power over you if you face them and express them.