NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Psychotherapy Blog: Navigating Life's Transitions

"No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man."  Heraclitus

Navigating Life's Transitions

Life brings many changes.

Sometimes these life changes are ones that you want, and others times they're not.

Navigating Life's Transitions:  Life Brings Many Changes

Although the transitions might be unwanted, often you can't avoid them.  So, the best you can do is to learn how to navigate these transitions with emotional balance and resilience.

Tips on How to Navigate Life's Transitions
  • Recognize that Many of Life's Transitions are Inevitable:  Rather than wasting time and energy resisting changes that are inevitable (like the changing of the seasons, the "empty nest syndrome," aging or widowhood), try to accept these changes and draw strength from the fact that you have sustained other changes in your life before and, most likely, you'll sustain the current transitions that you are facing.
  • Be Aware That Many Changes Often Occur at One Time:  Often, when you're going through a major life transition, many times you're dealing with more than just one change in your life.  So, for instance if you lose a spouse, in addition to losing someone that you love, you might need to move or make other changes.  
  • Acknowledge Your Feelings About the Transitions:  Although you might not be able to change whatever is going on in your life, it's important to acknowledge the feelings you're having about these changes, whether you're feeling sad, angry, confused or all of these emotions.  In Western culture,  people who are going through major changes in their lives are encouraged by others who are well meaning to "move on" before they've had a chance to deal with their emotions.  Take the time you need.
  • Recognize that Everyone Goes Through Life Transitions in His or Her Own Way:  Related to acknowledging your feelings is the fact that each of us is different and will undergo change in his or her own way.  No one can tell you how you "should" go through a major change in your life.  
  • Be Gentle and Compassionate With Yourself During Major Life Transitions:  Even when the transition is something that you want, it can still be stressful, so you need to take extra care and be compassionate with yourself while you're going through this transition.  This means making sure you get enough rest, eat nutritious meals, and get the level of exercise that's appropriate for you.
Navigating Life's Transitions:  Be Gentle and Compassionate With Yourself
  • Make Choices When You Can:  In situations where you can make choices about the changes occurring in your life, rather than being passive, anticipate what you're going to need, how you can make the situation better for yourself, and try to resolve problems as they occur.
  • Break Big Changes Down into Smaller, More Manageable Pieces (when you can):  If you're anticipating a major change, like for instance, moving to another area of the country, break down this change into smaller, more manageable pieces.  So, for instance, if you're not familiar with this area, do research, ask people who know about this area, spend some time in this area, and so on. 
  • Get Emotional Support:  Major changes can be emotionally, physically, and spiritually draining.  Allow others who are close to you to give you emotional support during this time.  It can make the change a lot less daunting.
  • Be Aware that the Change You Dread Sometimes Brings Unexpected Benefits:  Sometimes the change that you dread the most can bring the most unexpected benefits.  You might develop new skills, meet new people or learn things that you never thought you would or could before.  You might also surprise yourself when you see how resilient you.
  • Acknowledge Whatever Steps You Take:  Often, people who are making major changes in their lives don't give themselves credit for all the small steps they take which, eventually add up to a big step.  If you have a tendency to ignore the small steps that you take that lead to progress, learn to acknowledge even the smallest steps.  When you can acknowledge progress that you've made, instead of focusing only on the big outcome, you'll be encouraged to keep taking steps to complete the change.

Get Help in Therapy
Going through a major life transition can be very difficult, whether it's your choice or not.  

Navigating Life's Transitions:  Getting Help in Therapy

Everyone needs help sometimes.

If you find that you're overwhelmed by the changes you're going through, you could benefit from seeing a licensed mental health professional to help you to navigate the change.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

I have helped many clients to cope with major changes in their lives and to develop increased resilience and resourcefulness.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.