How to Navigate Challenging Life Transitions
When we’re young, life transitions are fun and empowering. We go from crawling to walking, walking to running. We start with training wheels but soon no longer need them. As we age we graduate into higher grades and become more independent.
But as adults, life transitions can feel not so fun and far from empowering, because life transitions can often include loss: loss of a job, a marriage, and loved ones. During these life transitions, we can feel out to sea, completely at the mercy of the tides that seem to be tossing our lifeboat around.
If you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed right now because you are facing one or more life transitions, here are some ways you can navigate these choppy waters:
Have you noticed that the pace of life has picked up? Most likely your heartbeat and breathing have also picked up as a response. It’s time to slow down.
As simple as it may sound, slow, deep breaths are a powerful way to tell your body that everything is okay. Right now, your body is in “fight or flight mode,” as you subconsciously, and maybe even consciously, feel you are being attacked. Making time each day to be still, away from the noise and chaos to breathe deeply and slowly, will slow down your heart rate and make you feel calm and peaceful.
I know, it seems completely counterintuitive if not downright impossible. But when we surrender control and embrace the unknown, with an almost scientific curiosity about outcomes, we feel positive emotions (curiosity, wonder) instead of negative emotions (lost, out of control).
Acknowledge the Cycles of Life
Someone once said, “This too shall pass.” Life, like weather, has seasons. While you may feel stuck right now and like nothing is going the way you hoped or planned, recognize the truth, which is, this too shall pass. Transitions are just that, an uncomfortable bridge from one part of life to the next.
Fall Back on Traditions
Rites of passage have been used for thousands of years in all cultures to help people transition from one place in life to another. It’s time 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 that things MUST change because we intuitively understand that the human journey is all about facing challenges and becoming new versions of ourselves.
Life, such as it is, throws us curve balls and sadness and things that cast fear and doubt into our vision. This is natural and no one escapes.
But there ARE ways to navigate these challenges. Try these three tips. And if you’d like additional help along your journey, please get in touch with me.
Stephanie Post, PsyD. at Higher Self Psychotherapy specializes in trauma therapy, anxiety therapy, depression therapy, and self-esteem therapy online anywhere in California and in the Marina neighborhood of San Francisco.