Change is a part of life, but it can make us feel so uncomfortable until things are “resolved”. Here are some tips to overcome typical struggles in facing life transitions.
Accept the Change
We often spend a lot of mental energy fighting the change or not even acknowledging that life is changing. We try to find a way to stay in the comfortable well known situation that we’ve been in, even when that is not an option anymore. Acknowledgement that fighting the change does not prevent it from happening or really do anything but keep you in limbo for much longer can help get you to a place of acceptance and even embracing the change that is in front of you.
Focus on the Positive Outcomes, Not just the Negative Ones
Sure, things may go horribly wrong. That is one possibility. But things might just go well, too. We often forget that as we get swept away in anxiety about the future. Pretty soon, all we can see are negative outcomes and forget that good things might come from this change as well. Make a list of all the good things that can come from this change. Get creative! It’s ok to even acknowledge very unlikely positive outcomes, because you are probably acknowledging negative outcomes that are equally unlikely.
Focus on What You Can Control and Not What You Can’t
Often times, we find ourselves trying to control the outcome, or what someone else will do or how someone else will react. The problem is, we don’t have any control over those things. We can only control what we do and how we react. Often times, when we refocus on taking an action or responding to a situation in a different way, we feel more in control and that can alleviate a lot of negative feelings.
Feel the Feelings
Transitions usually come with a whole slew of emotions. Anxiety about the outcome and the future. Sadness about the loss of the way things were. Anger that things are not turning out the way we had hoped. Often we fight these emotions, or interpret them as an indication that something is wrong. Things get a lot easier when we allow ourselves to feel the feelings and recognize them as part of the changing process rather than an indicator that things are wrong.
Notice all the Small Steps Towards Progress
Big life transitions can be overwhelming. If we think about relocating or changing jobs or relationships, it can feel like way too much to take on and then we become stuck. If we can break things down to more manageable action steps, and then take one step at a time, it all feels a lot more doable. We can also acknowledge completion of each of those steps as steps towards progress, rather than feeling that because we haven’t reached our overall goal, we haven’t accomplished anything.
Don’t Skip Self Care
So often when things are changing, we resort back to just trying to keep up and our self care falls behind. In times of transition, self care is even more important. When things feel out of control or unmanageable, taking on a basic self care task can be grounding and can help you regain a sense of control because it can be a constant in a time when things around you are changing and you are adjusting to a new normal. So eating well, or getting some exercise, or even reaching out to supports in your life can provide a much needed familiarity.
Accepting change as a natural part of life can go a long way in feeling more in control and less internally conflicted. Accepting the feelings that go along with change can also help relieve that feeling of discomfort that comes with fighting our emotions.