Changes such as becoming a parent, relocating to another country or separating from your partner can turn out more challenging than expected and lead to profound inner transition. Whether planned or not, transitions are emotional storms; they shatter certainties, force us to review life, teach us ways to adapt to the new reality, and finally allow us to rise from the ashes like a phoenix. Transitions may sound daunting, but they create opportunities for reflection and transformation, often resulting in unexpected positive outcomes.
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes.
Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality.
Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
Coming to terms with the Uncomfortable
Fear and anxiety of the unknown are major challenges when going through a life transition, even when the change has been actively looked for. In transitions, fear can be experienced along with feeling excitement and sometimes sadness. Realising that nothing will be as it was can bring up many uncomfortable emotions, and that's ok. Resisting on the changes, worrying about the future and ruminating about the past only worsen the situation.
To reduce overthinking, mindfulness is your ultimate power tool. Stay present.
Being mindful and staying in the present will allow a smoother transition. If your mind is used to wandering relentlessly, it won't be easy, but not impossible. No one can change the past, and the future, with all the possible variables, is impossible to predict.
The present is the only moment we can do something about; even when we feel powerless, we can still decide how to react to the challenge.
Intentionally observe emotions and thoughts coming and going while resisting judgment; once you have acknowledged them, allow them to go. Being present is also a great way to learn more about yourself, your capabilities and your limits.
Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility
to give something back by becoming more.
View Your Transitions as Opportunities
Coping with changes requires being flexible, adapting and staying with challenging emotions. Still, embracing transitions and remaining open to possibilities doesn't mean having your feelings figured out.
One can feel the sadness of letting go of what is about to end and anxiety about the beginning of something unknown. The unknown has challenged humankind as long as it exists; we are not great at dealing with the anxiety surrounding uncertainties. Even if it sounds impossible, the only way to overcome uncomfortable feelings is to slow down and give oneself time while increasing self-care moments.
When your inner alarm system gets triggered, your thoughts might start racing without you even realising it. This can lead to genuine and unpleasant physical symptoms like feeling light-headed, feeling sick, and having a racing heart.
Using breathing techniques can help you regain control over your thoughts and emotions.
“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember
how you made it through, How you managed to survive.
You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over.
But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the
same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
Explore Your New Priorities and Questions.
Take the time to assess your needs and explore the impact of the changes. You could start by journalling and exploring some of the following questions:
Exploring your inner world allows you to assess if your priorities have changed. Reflecting on values could help you find the meaning behind your transition, help you gain better insight, and possibly show you more opportunities for positive changes.
“My new deliberate and slower pace has created a higher quality in my experiences.”
Lisa J. Shultz
Take It slow and Give Yourself Time
When dealing with transitions, taking one step at a time is fundamental. Resisting rushing the experience can feel challenging, and the time in between can feel unbearably slow, but skipping stages would mean missing the time needed to explore the opportunities and reflect on the possibilities opening up through the transition. Also, not allowing time will prevent you from absorbing and elaborating on the emotions brought about by the change.
Being mindful and allowing yourself the time needed to elaborate on the changes and embrace the whole experience will make all your challenges unexpectedly meaningful.
Be patient with yourself. Nothing lasts forever. Embrace the journey and trust that you will come out with renewed insights, wisdom, and awareness.
When unpleasant feelings rule your day for too long, it’s time to reach out to someone you trust. You don't have to face everything alone. If you don't have someone to talk to, contact a helpline, a support group, or a professional. Your GP or a counsellor can make a difference in your wellbeing.
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