Transitions are challenging whether they are positive, negative, expected or unexpected. In life, people face a wide range of transitions. From birth to death individuals develop physically, mentally and emotionally. Throughout the personal developmental changes, there are events that occur externally and force us to adapt. These occurrences may include things such as school, marriage, divorce, buying and/or selling a home, new careers or retirement, having a child, losing a family member or loved one, among other endless possibilities.
Transition is an inevitable part of life that produces stress and all experience stress differently. Regardless of what is experienced, often people find themselves trying to feel something else. For instance, positive transitions (i.e. marriage, buying a home, going to college, etc.) may expectedly cause joy, excitement and happiness; however, these positive transitions may also elicit sadness, frustration and worry. Societally, there is a pressure to hide, avoid or ignore these more “negative” emotions; therefore, it can consequently lead to feelings of guilt or shame if one does not feel the way they think they “should.”
How much easier could it be to make these transitions if people allowed themselves to identify, process and cope with whatever thoughts and emotions arise? During times of change, it is important to be intentional in taking time to practice effective coping and self-care practices. When someone comes into counseling for assistance in adjusting to a new season of life, goals may include finding effective ways to experience and express emotions, alleviate stress associated and discover strategies to minimize distress. Counseling in itself is a process of change, from where a person is, to where they want to be. There can be intense healing and humble self-acceptance through the journey of transition.