Change is always happening in one way or another in our lives, sometimes in small ways and other times in significant ways. Major life changes, whether planned or unplanned, such as graduating from college, starting a new job or career path, getting married or divorced, or welcoming a new baby into the world as a parent often impacts people’s lives.
While life transitions are a natural part of being human, our psychologists and therapists at Psychology Beverly Hills know that navigating change isn’t always easy. Facing the unknown can sometimes cause feelings of stress, anxiety, fear, worry, or depression, and more. We’re here to help you learn how to navigate change in a healthy way that fosters growth and resilience to successfully manage life transitions.
If you find yourself in the midst of a major life transition, or you’re preparing for an upcoming change, here are some things you can do to navigate the experience successfully.
1. Recognize that change is normal or even healthy, and sometimes inevitable
Whether you welcome and embrace change or resist it, it’s important to recognize that change is a natural part of life and growth. Some of the most common major life transitions include:
- Having a baby
- Going to college
- Starting a new job
- Sudden financial change
- Serious illness or disability
- Loss of a loved one
These transitions may be foreseen or completely unexpected. They may feel significant at the time, or you might only recognize their significance when you look back on your life.
2. Acknowledge your feelings
Since change is sometimes inevitable and a natural part of life, the key to navigating change successfully is the way someone handles it. One of the first steps in managing change is by acknowledging how you feel about it — good or bad.
Feelings of anxiety, fear, and worry are normal with disruptive change, but trying to ignore those emotions won’t necessarily help, especially in the long term. Instead, learn to identify the feelings and find ways to experience them in a healthy way without being overwhelmed by emotions. Identifying feelings is a first step in helping you process emotions to then foster healthy adaptation to changes in life. This is easier said than done and takes practice. Sometimes, professional help is also needed or can be very helpful in learning this skill.
3. Viewing life transitions as an opportunity for growth
Sometimes, life transitions give you the opportunity to examine the path you’re on to make a change for the betterment of your life. Depending on the change and life event, this does not mean that painful or difficult emotions will not accompany the journey.
As mentioned earlier, emotions are important to acknowledge and manage in a healthy way. However, at the appropriate time in dealing with change, shifting one’s mindset to how they view a life transition can make a significant difference in how they relate to and ultimately navigate change successfully. Change can be viewed as an opportunity and a learning experience to grow and to improve in life. Gradually developing this mindset can certainly help overcome difficult life transitions.
4. Take the time you need
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for any life transition. What works for some people might not work for you, so it’s important to give yourself grace.
Take time to adjust to the changes, and be prepared to feel uncomfortable as you adjust to your new reality. Try not to get frustrated with yourself if you don’t snap back into your usual routine right away or if it takes you longer than desired or anticipated.
5. Remember you don’t have to do it alone
No matter the life transition, you don’t have to navigate it alone. Reach out to family, friends, and loved ones for support when you need it. Consider starting psychotherapy, which can help you learn to identify and cope with the emotions that life transitions bring.
Group therapy can also be a helpful tool when you’re experiencing major life changes. At Psychology Beverly Hills, we offer group sessions on a wide range of topics, so you can find support and make connections with people who understand what you’re going through.
To learn more about successfully navigating life transitions, schedule a consultation with our team. Request your first appointment online or call our office at 424-331-1570.