Resilience Through Transition
By Dr. Jill Langer
Fall is a time of transition. Theweather cools, the leaves turn – well, at least they do in most of the country!As in nature, so in life as fall brings the opportunity for transition in ourpersonal lives. We may find ourselves orour children starting or returning to school or college. We may have tonavigate disruption to our health, career, or our most important relationships.Whether we deem the transition positive (progressing in school, entering a newromantic relationship, getting a promotion, moving, retirement) or negative(leaving home and relationships, being diagnosed with a health condition,losing one’s job, divorce or separation), most of us experience transition asdifficult. This is, in part, because transitions bring change, and changebrings loss.
Transitions are as challenging asthey are inevitable and require adjustment and adaptation to the new andunfamiliar. Here are some helpful ways to increase your resilience and copingas you navigate the transitions you face in your life:
Acknowledge and accept yourfeelings. Know that when we are in transition, it is normal to feel a widerange of emotions including feeling uneasy, lost, afraid, and anxious. It isalso normal to feel excited and energized or, conversely, overwhelmed anddrained. Rather than judging ordismissing your emotions (a common response), do your best to make space forthese feelings by recognizing them as a natural part of the experience oftransition.
Acknowledge the losses andembrace the possibilities. Transition brings both loss and gain. Imagine andfocus on the possible positive outcomes.
Do what you can to influence andbring about the positive outcomes you want. Be active rather than passive inall that you can control. And – here’s the harder part – let go of the need totry to control the rest.
Seek support from others,especially those who have successfully navigated a similar transition. They areliving proof things can work out for you, too.
Keep as many aspects of your lifeand routine that are available and helpful to you. Try to maintain your eating,sleeping, and workout schedule to the extent that you can. If you regularlyattend church, continue to do so. You may want to increase your worship timefor additional support.
Remember your values, goals, andhopes for the future and remind yourself of ways this transition can enhanceyour life’s overall purpose. For example, the challenges of school lead to amore fulfilling career. The end of a relationship opens the path for arelationship that will better meet your needs.
Don’t be afraid to reach out forhelp from a qualified professional. Working with a psychologist who specializes in helping navigate life’smany transitions (including myself) can help make your journey throughtransition more successful, faster, and less painful.