By Jennifer Scott
A transitional period is a time of uncertainty. It might come in the aftermath of a job loss or the end of a relationship. Or it could follow a difficult decision, one that heralds a radical lifestyle change. Not knowing what to do or where to turn when you’re navigating a transitional period can be unsettling, particularly if you’re emerging from a situation you once assumed would always chart the course of your life. Transition may be a prelude to change but it doesn’t have to be negative, not if you see it as an opportunity for personal growth.
Life is all about change. Transformation is the condition of nature, just as change rules and orders our human condition. Rather than dreading or denying it, why not embrace change? If life is change, doesn’t it make sense to turn it to your advantage? Embracing a transitional period as a positive, pivotal time between two realities can help you redefine yourself based on what you really want out of life. The key is to figure out what you want.
Making a truly meaningful change can be difficult because it forces you to be honest with yourself, to face what’s broken in your life and figure out what parts of yourself need attention. If you’ve identified areas for self-improvement, whether it’s social skills, dietary habits or a lack of ambition, try self-actualization: actively work toward change. For example, if you can improve yourself professionally with a post-graduate degree, take the first step toward that goal by seeing a career counselor or college advisor. You might be surprised at how empowering this transition can be.
Stand your ground
Remember when you were a kid learning how to swim? Think about how hard it was to take that first lap across the pool all by yourself. You started to let go, but doubt crept in and you hesitated. It’s much the same when you’re contemplating a major life change. Fear and doubt can convince you that maintaining the status quo is the safest route. But think a moment. Recall why you left that relationship – it was unhealthy and you were miserable. You quit that job because it was menial and boring and your boss didn’t support you. Taking a step back and seeing things from a broader perspective can reinvigorate your purpose by reminding you that it really is time to make a change.
One of the most positive changes you can make during a transitional phase is to mitigate stress triggers, factors that make it difficult to achieve happiness. Try introducing some new coping tactics that help you focus on what really matters. Journaling is an excellent way to make sense of your feelings and frustrations, of processing experiences by putting them down on paper. Journaling can help you clear your thoughts and identify things that bother you.
Focusing on what you’re grateful for can be a powerful aid if you’re working toward personal change. Gratitude elevates your enthusiasm and your energy level. It boosts your determination with positive thoughts, and shows what you could achieve with the help of people who’ve taken an interest in you over the years. You can also reduce stress by altering your home environment. Try adding some natural elements, maybe some garden mums, which look great and contribute to a healthier home environment.
Believe in your potential
Change is difficult – it’s much easier to do what you’ve always done. Transitioning to a new life forces you to focus on your potential and on what you could achieve, if you’re willing to make the leap. Getting there takes a willingness to be honest and believe in yourself.
Jennifer Scott shares stories about the ups and downs of her anxiety and depression at SpiritFinder.