Learning to Embrace Transitions

As we age and move through different stages of life, we will inevitably run into transitional phases. Whether it is graduating college, choosing a new career path, introducing new family members, relocating your home, or undergoing a gender reassignment, various transitions will arise – big and small. Although the prospect of change can bring novelty and excitement, new transitions can also conjure feelings of anxiety.

Sometimes when we anticipate unfamiliar situations, transitions can start to feel daunting or even overwhelming. The following points are a few ways to cope with new changes and embrace transitions.

  1. Stay present: When we anticipate the future, it is easy to overestimate what could happen and start to dramatize the unforeseeable. A good practice is to spend less time fantasizing about what can go wrong and stay in the present moment. There’s not much use in anticipating negative events when they haven’t occurred yet. Focus on the good that is happening now and remember your fears of future events are just fantasies.
  2. Stay positive: Reframe your fears into positive experiences. For example, you can choose to view your relocation as an adventure. View your new situation as a potential learning experience and opportunity for growth. Make a point to actively identify the positives.
  3. Resolve doubt with celebration: Celebrate all your past achievements that have led up to this moment. Even if you may not immediately recognize it, every one of your personal experiences has the ability to teach you something about the world or yourself. You have come this far, so be proud of where you are and trust in your ability to go further.
  4. Own your choice: Learn to own and commit to whichever choice you make. Whatever option you choose is valid and will uniquely be your own. Remember that everyone has a different way of doing things, and you are free to create your own path!
  5. Find a support group: Consider reaching out to those who are in a similar situation as you. Begin networking with others in your new career choice. Join online communities or social media to start branching out your social circle. There are many others in the world who have either already experienced a similar situation or are currently undergoing the same. Whatever the case, you are not alone.

Transitional stages are part of life’s natural processes. As hard as we may try, we can’t live in stagnation forever. Humans age, events progress and pass, and eventually chapters come to a close. Remember that although transitions may be uncomfortable, they will pass. If you or a loved one are finding it difficult to overcome a transition, consider seeking professional therapy to address your circumstance. A therapist can help identify and address your personalized situation and come up with tangible solutions to help you get through it. For more resources, visit our website or find a qualified therapist with our online directory!

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Donna J. Shanahan M.A.

Donna J. Shanahan, MA

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist 
Pasadena, CA 91101

I am a Marriage and Family therapist in private practice. I work with individuals, couples, and families in short and long-term psychotherapy. We work together to explore memories of the relational dynamics of the individual’s family, the feelings those dynamics created for the individual as a child, and how the individual now relates to those feelings and memories.

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