The only thing certain in life is that things will change, whether you’re moving, getting a new job, changing schools, having a new baby, watching your babies leave for college, or retiring, life transitions are all around you.
Some of them we handle with ease, and it seems they aren’t transitions at all. However, there are others that hit us hard and catch us off guard, and we may find that their difficult and frightening to deal with.
If you’re currently going through a transition in life that is difficult or has you stressed out, don’t worry you’re not alone. Many people experience transitional stress during some point in their life. There are plenty of coping mechanisms and healthy ways that you can deal with life’s transitions. Here are several of them that you can incorporate into your life to help you deal with whatever transition you may be going through.(Source)
Don’t Expect Sunshine and Roses
This may sound like silly advice. However, if you’re going through a negative transition like a loss of a job or relationship, you should expect negative emotions. Psychology Today says that planning for emotions like depression and anxiety can help you deal with them in the long term. Acting like they are not going to happen, will leave you unprepared for handling these intense emotions.(Source)
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Become Knowledgeable about Life Transitions
One of the worst things that can happen to you when going through a transition is not understanding the facts about your circumstances. That’s why the Huffington Post recommends that you get as much information as you can about the situation. No matter what changes you are going through, doing the research, and knowing the possibilities for your situation will help you feel less “in the dark.” Knowing what to expect and what is unlikely will help quell your fears and anxieties.(Source)
Learn to Let Go
Many people are simply afraid to change because they are afraid of the unknown. Healthy Psychology recommends embracing the change and letting go of your fear. Holding on to fear does nothing to help you cope with the transition and may even make the transitional process harder. Try deep breathing exercises for positive visualization to help you let go of your fear associated with the transition.
Try to Stay Flexible
When dealing with a transition rigidity can mean intense difficulty. This can be a rigid mentality in dealing with the people or adjusting to new schedules. Flexibility allows you to adapt to the transition more easily because you have more patience with both yourself and the people around you.
Remember you are not the only one going through the transition.
If you’re entering a new job, new relationship, leaving the job or leaving a relationship, there are new experiences for everyone involved. Having a little flexibility and forgiveness can help everyone involved stay positive and get through the transition easily.(Source)
Life Transitions – How to Seek Expert Help
Many times, it can be hard to adjust to change on your own. This is true if the change is exceptionally difficult as the death of a loved one or loss of a job. Even the loss of a marriage can cause extreme shifts in the way you view yourself and the world around you. Sometimes this can lead to adjustment disorder, which can cause depressed moods and anxiety.
Goodtherapy.org encourages people going through it exceptionally difficult change to seek out professional help to learn to cope with the transition. Adjustment disorder is not common in all people experiencing a transition in life.
However, if you notice you’re having more difficulty coping with change than others you’ve seen experience similar transitions in life, it may be time to seek out professional help.
There’s no reason to be embarrassed to get a little assistance. Professional counselors and social workers can help you learn coping skills to get you through intense emotions like anxiety and depression. They can also identify any additional issues that may be hindering your healthy transition.
Everyone goes through transitions in life. Not all transitions are bad and they can even be positive experiences. Making them healthy should always be a priority.
How To Control Your Fears Instead Of Them Controlling You
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was probably one of the greatest presidents in the United States because he gave the nation some of the best advice anyone could ever receive.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” This insight into human emotion and action is nearly a century old, and yet it still rings true today.
So, how do we get control over fears? If all we have to fear is fear itself, does that mean that nothing in our life is scary? Let’s take a look at some common ways that people are overcoming their fear and dealing with this timeless emotion.(Source)
Your Reaction to Fear
The Handbook of Success talks at length about fear and how to overcome it. Again, it discusses this theme that it is not the thing we fear but fear itself that is the problem. More specifically our reaction to fear.
For some people fear is motivating for other it creates a state of stress and paralysis. Some people naturally fight their fears and overcome them while others sit in a corner and cry. Therefore, the thing that you fear is not actually the object of your fear, say spiders or failure, but your reaction to the fear itself. How you deal with it is most important thing in controlling your fear.
Start with Self Reflection
In order to understand your fear and your reactions to it you must begin with self-reflection. It’s an excellent tool for improving your mental health as well as understanding and identifying your fears and your reactions to them.
Self-reflection can also help you build confidence in your abilities, which can help you overcome the fear as well. If you begin with some internal analysis, you may find that you’re not actually afraid, to begin with.
Many times when people are fearful they are fearful of situations that haven’t even occurred. They’ve allowed their imaginations to run wild in the land of “what if scenarios.” These scenarios often play out the gloom and doom of the most horrific actions that could happen to whatever the fear you’re facing is.
As a result, you feel more fear. Fear of things that haven’t happened and most likely never will. To overcome your fear, you must get control of your imagination. Stop creating things to be afraid of.
Expose Yourself to Your Fear
Anxiety BC recommends that you practice real-life exposures to your fear. It doesn’t matter what your fear is whether it’s public speaking, bugs, heights, or many other things that are controlling you.
Small real-life encounters with your fear can help you see that it is not as dangerous as your imagination has led you to believe. Each exposure can be a little bit longer to allow you to be calm desensitized to the fear. The more you expose yourself to the thing you’re afraid of the less your imagination will run away with ideas of how this fear will kill you.
Look at Evidence
One of the greatest ways to challenge fearful thoughts is to look at evidence that proves your fearful thoughts wrong. This will also change your reaction to that fear because you will know the fear is unwarranted and unfounded.
The National Health Society of the UK recommends that you find statistics and evidence that proves your fear is unfounded. This will help you get over your fear and cope with the emotions associated with the fear that is holding you back.
Everyone faces fear in their life. Understanding that what holds us back when we have fear is not the object of our fear, but our reaction to it can be the first step to overcoming it. You can realize this through a little self-reflection.
If you need more help getting your imagination under control when thinking about your fear, then exposing yourself to the object of your fear may help you realize it is not as scary as you first thought. Finally, do your research and find facts that prove your imagination wrong. When you know your fear is unfounded, it is easier to override your reactions to the object of your fear.
Finding Courage To Do Anything You Want
Fear stops us in our tracks. It is that little voice in the back of our head that says, “Your question is dumb.” It is the turning and turning in the pit of your stomach before you submit a big project proposal, the feeling that the proposal is flawed and worthless.
Fear is that hesitation before you grab the door to walk into an interview for a job you know you deserve. No matter what fear you experience, you can find the courage to overcome.
Take a Leap of Faith
There is a concept called “life inertia” which Psychology Today describes as:(Source)
”The tendency of people, having once established a life trajectory, to continue on that course unless acted on by a greater force.”
When we want to do things that are different from what we already are experiencing we have to fight against life’s inertia. Whether it’s changing our job, changing our lifestyle, getting more active, eating differently, or spending more time with our kids: you’re acting against a force that’s already in motion.
So how do you get out of the way of life’s inertia? You take a leap of faith.
It takes a single large act of risk to change the course of your life. Knowing that just acting out of character, against your current life trajectory, can change the course of your life and can give you the courage to take that first step. Taking a leap of faith is scary and does require courage, but once you have that courage, you can break the cycle and end up doing everything you ever dreamed of.(Source)
Practice Mind Control
No, not mind control like from some science fiction movie. However, the kind where you control your own thoughts by identifying them and weeding them out. The Washington Post suggests that you practice thought control on a daily basis to get rid of fear and help you move through it. It’s a two-step approach to help you think brave thoughts to give you the courage to do the things you want to do.
The first step to practicing mind control is identifying negative thoughts or thoughts that are fearful. When you have a fearful thought, simply label it. Calling it what it is demystifies it and lessens the power it has over you.
Next, you need to say to yourself that “this is a thought that makes me afraid to do the thing I want to do” and then take a deep breath. Notice how you feel different about the thought and act accordingly.
The thoughts that are negative and fearful don’t need to control your actions when you identify them as fearful thoughts and act against them. The fearful thoughts become less powerful in your life, and you become more courageous.
Practice Positive Affirmations
Many times courage comes when we build self-confidence. When you identify your fearful thoughts think about where they stem from. Are your feerful thoughts based on the concept that you lack intelligence? Are your fearful thoughts based on the idea that you aren’t worthy or don’t deserve your position?
Once you identify the base of your fearful thoughts, you can work on eliminating them by incorporating positive affirmations into your daily life. For example, if you’re fearful thoughts stemmed from an idea that you lack intelligence your positive affirmations should focus on your intelligence and education.
You should look yourself in the mirror and say something like “I am a smart and confident person. I have the education and experience to know what I’m doing.”(Source)
The Huffington post notes that when you have the ability to tap and into your inner power and change your inner dialogue, you will support your goals and ideas and build the life that you dream of.
It may seem hard to find the courage to change your life. Especially if your fearful thoughts stop you in your tracks. Try practicing these three steps and see how easy it is to overcome your fear.
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