Navigating Life Transitions

Navigating Life Transitions

When we are young, life transitions are perhaps more likely to be viewed as exciting or empowering. We go from crawling to walking and then from walking to running. We start with training wheels but soon no longer need them. As we mature, we graduate into higher grades and become more independent.

As adults, life transitions are perhaps more likely to be experienced as overwhelming. Such transitions can include loss of a job, marriage, or a loved one. During these transitions, we can feel lost at sea – at the mercy of the tides tossing our lifeboat around. If you are noticing increased feelings of stress surrounding efforts to navigate one or more life transitions, what follows are several ideas to support more effective coping responses to the choppy waters of your current circumstance.

Slow Down

Have you noticed the pace of life has picked up? Perhaps your heartbeat and breathing have also increased? It is time to slow down.

Slow, deep breaths are a powerful way to tell your body that everything is okay. Your body may be in “fight or flight mode.” Perhaps there is a sense of being attacked. Making time each day to be still – away from the noise and chaos of daily demands – to breathe deeply and slowly will slow your heart rate and begin to contribute to increased feelings of calm.

Embrace Uncertainty

Surrendering control and embracing the unknown – an effort that may be viewed by our inner critic as counterintuitive or even impossible – with an almost scientific curiosity about process and outcome can increase the frequency with which we experience positive emotions (e.g., wonder) and decrease the frequency with which we experience negative emotions (e.g., feeling lost) in the midst of uncertainty.

Acknowledge The Cycles of Life

The maxim “this too shall pass” is applicable as life, like weather, has seasons. While you may notice increased feelings of stuckness or that nothing is going as planned at present, it can be useful to acknowledge the reality that this too shall pass. That is, there is opportunity to frame a transition as an impermanent, uncomfortable bridge from one part of life to the next.

Fall Back On Traditions

Rites of passage have been leaned on for generations across many cultures to provide firm, familiar ground during transitions from one place in life to another. It can be helpful to call upon this ancient wisdom of our ancestors and empower ourselves. Rites of passage put us in the driver’s seat. We can acknowledge the constant of change because we intuitively understand the human journey is characterized by contending with challenges that facilitate necessary growth. Life throws us curve balls of emotional discomfort, experiences that propagate fear and fuel doubt. This is natural, one component of the human condition and there are skills to be learned to cope more effectively with these realities. If you are interested in further exploring your efforts to navigate life transitions, I invite you to call or email me to get started working together. Telehealth appointments are available.


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