6 Tips for Coping with Life Challenges and Transitions
Sometimes we are content with where we are in life and resist making major life decisions, such as changing a career, getting married, or moving to another town. On the other hand, life changes and transitions are an unavoidable part of the human experience.
Whether they are wanted or unwanted, life changes will happen sooner or later. While you can often do little to avoid them, particular skills you can acquire will make coping with life changes and transitions much more manageable.
Why are Life Changes So Overwhelming at Times?
Some of life’s transitions are unavoidable if we want to grow, improve, and succeed. For example, if you want to reach your academic and professional goals, have a successful career, and keep your financial independence, you have to go to college or university.
However, life changes and transitions may also generate great concern and stress, which can disturb our sense of identity and security. And this can be a very unsettling experience.
Life changes can be overwhelming because they require us to step outside our comfort zone. And that can be scary. However, most people find it difficult to let go of what is familiar and secure and welcome the uncertainty that life transitions bring.
Also, significant changes in life, like the death of a loved one, a sudden illness, or a natural disaster, can be very traumatic and stressful. These are the unanticipated transitions in life that no one wants to go through. They typically involve a significant loss, whether the loss of a person, health, relationship, job, or anything else we hold valuable.
What Counts as a “Life Change” Anyways?
Life changes are things that happen in our lives that significantly affect us. Life changes can be anticipated, such as going to university, changing careers, starting a family, or retiring – these are life transitions we have planned for or expected to happen.
But life transitions can also be incredibly stressful and involve unanticipated changes we don’t want to happen (like the death of a loved one).
Furthermore, we can experience sleeper transitions that occur gradually over time (like growing progressively apart from your partner throughout marriage) or non-event changes that don’t happen when we want them to (like not finishing college when we hoped to).
Why Life Changes are Actually a Great Thing
Professionals in the mental health field say that the aspect of life changes and transitions that has the most impact on us is not the change itself but how we choose to perceive that change.
So, changing how you see transitional periods in your life can improve your coping with life’s challenges and transitions.
Some life changes can be great because they push us forward, inspire a growth-oriented mindset, help us gain new skills and knowledge, and improve our confidence.
Changes and transitions in your life can serve as catalysts for you to reassess your goals, take steps to protect and enhance your mental health, forge stronger connections with others, make progress in your professional life, and position yourself to achieve success.
6 Tips for Coping with Life Changes and Transitions
There are some skills that can be learned that will make coping with life changes and transitions much smoother. So, here’s what you CAN do.
1) Recognize and Acknowledge the Change Taking Place
Facing the inevitable life transitions may be difficult, but it is necessary. Radical acceptance can help you accept situations outside your control entirely and without judgment. Radical acceptance can lessen the suffering of life transitions and motivate you to make positive changes.
2) Embrace Change as an Opportunity to Grow & Learn
Radical acceptance also lets you see changes in your life as chances to learn and grow, get rid of self-limiting beliefs, and boost your confidence.
3) Keep Your Goals in Mind
Having clear and realistic goals can make it easier for you to take action, plan steps to achieve them, and visualize the change you want. Keeping your goals in mind can help you cope with the stress that the change causes.
If you are aware of your goals, you can also think about possible life-changing experiences and prepare as much as you can for them, feel less stress and worry, and be better able to figure out your next step.
4) Build and Engage with a Support System
Coping with changes and transitions in life is easier when you have a strong support system. Talking to people, you trust in times of increased stress can help relieve tension and ease anxiety.
If you feel overwhelmed by a life change, seeking help from a mental health expert can be a good choice. In addition, a life coach or counselor can help you clarify your goals, increase your resilience, cope with the loss, or move forward with your life.
5) Don’t Run Away from Discomfort
Practice mindfulness to stay present at the moment and be aware of your feelings. Facing your painful emotions helps you recognize them for what they are: feelings. You experience them entirely and then let them go.
6) Take Care of Yourself
Taking care of yourself is essential when going through a significant life change. Make sure to get enough sleep, eat well, and stay active. Start a new hobby and spend time with positive people. Sign up for yoga classes and practice meditation. These simple self-care habits can boost optimism, reduce stress, and relieve anxiety and depression.
Life is All About Rolling with the punches.
Change is one constant in life, so what really counts in terms of navigating life’s transitions is our capacity for resiliency, or the ability to pick ourselves up and move on after adversity.
Coaching can help you understand why life transitions are so difficult, and how to manage the challenges they bring with them.If you want to learn more about skills for coping with life changes and transitions and how to put them into practice, contact me to set up a free empowering conversation.