"Well, I'm on my way, I don't know where I'm goin', I'm on my way, I'm takin' my time, But I don't know where" -Paul Simon
Life is full of constant transition and change: Moving, friendships, jobs, marriage, break-ups, graduations, divorce, death, relationships, recovery. The list goes on and on. Staying grounded during times of change can be challenging and it can sometimes become difficult to “keep the faith.” So how, during all of this, can you feel a sense of normalcy and balance? While change is inevitably difficult, there are ways to embrace, grow from, cope with and be prepared for changes of all kinds. Creating habits, thinking patterns and behaviors that support positive and meaningful change, can help you to move through any life transition with strength, gratitude, self-love, peace and preparedness:
Expect And Embrace The Emotions That Come With Change
Many people will do almost anything and everything to avoid change. This can result in the inability to cope when unexpected transitions in life do occur. It’s important to remember that life-transitions can cause a psychological state of grief for many individuals, no matter if the change is big or small, positive or negative. When we experience change (and often grief), we also experience an array of strong emotions. And when experiencing any emotions related to change, it is important to acknowledge and accept your feelings, focus on what you can control, embrace that which you can not control and allow yourself to really feel your feelings.
Even “positive” change can cause mixed emotions. No matter what “gray area” you are navigating through, it’s important to take care of yourself. Explore and implement self-care techniques that work for you: Journaling, exercise, yoga, meditation, spirituality, spending time with family or friends, speaking with a mental health professional, etc. Processing feelings and challenges related to life-transitions with a licensed therapist can be extremely beneficial as therapy can help build strength and resilience, allow space for exploration of emotions, and give you positive self-reflection.
Use Visualization Strategies
When experiencing a transition, it can difficult to imagine what’s to come and how you’ll cope-Even when the next phase is predetermined, chosen or certain, change can be difficult. When in a transitional life stage, where the next steps and outcomes aren’t so clear, it can be especially challenging. The mental practice of visualization can help. Visualization is a powerful strategy for increasing motivation and confidence as well as for achieving goals and improving outcomes of overall life success. To practice visualization:
Begin by establishing a goal related to your transition. Then, picture your future self after having accomplished that goal. Imagine; Who are you with? Where are you? What are you doing? What does the space feel like? What does it look like? How does it smell? How do you feel? What are you wearing? What do you look like? What do you hear? What are you saying and to whom?
Act As If
“Acting As If” is a behavioral technique that can help individuals make significant and meaningful change. This technique can help individuals to create and be prepared for new opportunities (those planned and unplanned). Acting As If, simply means, acting as though you already have that which you want (whether it be a feeling, a relationship, a career, a home, etc.) “Acting As If” is based on the principles of Law of Attraction or manifestation (like attracts like, thoughts create things, we get what we focus on, etc.). In addition, “Acting As If” will not only help you to attract the things you are hoping for, but it can also allow you to be ready for the opportunities when they arise. So what can you do now that will prepare you for what you want in the future? What behaviors, skills, experiences or relationships might put you in the position to get where you want to be?
Focus On The Positive
When you bring to mind what you are grateful for, anxiety tends to melt away and positivity can flow in more readily. During this time, focus on the things that are going well (big or small) and the things that make you feel good, keep good company and surround yourself with those that lift you up and make you feel GOOD. Use visualization techniques to develop a clear sense of goals for your future and focus on what you want and what small steps you’ll need to take to get there.
Use a Life-Transition Mantra
A mantra is a mental tool that can release us from conditioned mental habits (thinking errors, fear-based or anxious thinking, limiting beliefs, etc.) that keep us from getting what we want. When you are feeling depleted (and to help you focus on the positive), repeat these mantras to help ease transitions and shift your focus and to keep yourself from getting in in your own way:
I won’t always feel this way
Change happens for a reason
I can control my perception of my experiences
When one door closes, another opens
People love you, and want to help you through this