People seek therapy for all types of reasons and one of the biggest reason is making a major life change. This can look like moving, getting a new career, divorcing, having a baby, getting married and anything else that changes your life in a big way. Learning coping skills and strategies to manager stress around these periods of change can be very helpful and important. This week, we have our team of experts sharing their top recommendations on how to handle a major life change.
One of the hardest things of going through a major life change is that it can feel like you are out of control. You are not in control because things can happen very quickly. It’s hard to be fully in control during big changes in your life. Letting go of the need for control and learning to surrender can be a life changer in and of itself. Learning to let go during major life changes can be the difference between a seamless transition and a chaotic schism.
Here’s my top ways to learn to let go and surrender during a major life change.
1. Look on the bright side
This change is happening for a reason. Find the silver lining in the change. Look for ways this is a positive and necessary thing in your life.
2. Remind yourself that change is good
Change is happening at every moment. If you think about it, everything is constantly changing around you as you read this. Your nails and hair are getting longer. The air you breathe in and out is changing. Everything changes and by reminding yourself that without change there would be no growth and with no growth we would stay stagnant. And who really wants to be stagnant in life?
3. Find ways to be grateful for this change
Create a list of all the reasons you are grateful for with this change. Discuss your gratitude with a friend or family member. Reflect on the positive parts of the change and that will shift your perspective.
4. Don’t be afraid to talk about it
Talk to a friend or trusted family member about your feelings. Start seeing a therapist who can provide you with a neutral stance on your change. Write about your feelings in a journal. Do what makes you feel comfortable but don’t bottle up your feelings.
5. Have faith
George Michael said it best “You Gotta Have Faith”. This is the surrender part. You have to believe that everything is happening in perfect time and it will all work out. If there are steps you need to take to ensure that will happen, then do it and then let it go.
By reminding yourself on a regular basis of these top strategies to manager a major life change, you will be on your way to a smooth transition.
Amanda Landry, LMHC, CAP decided to become a therapist while attending Nova Southeastern University. She saw the need to help people achieve the life they wanted to live, while creating a life of her own. She completed her master’s in Mental Health Counseling and started a career in the juvenile justice arena. Since then, she has started a private practice in Pembroke Pines, Florida, specializing in depression, anxiety relationship issues, and substance abuse. Amanda is a believer in holistic treatment and she practices veganism, meditation and yoga in her life. Find out more about her practice here. For a free 15-minute consultation, call or text Amanda at 954-378-5381 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CHANGE, it’s a word so many of us love and hate. Why do we have this love hate relationship with the word? Well many of us love the idea of change but hate actually having to make the changes in our lives, because it gets us out of our comfort zone. Our hardest task in life often is change, and accepting change.
The serenity prayer states “Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”. Yet even with that prayer, so many people fight change daily. Let’s be honest, the idea of change is scary, managing change is scarier, and following through on change is overwhelming and just makes you want to hide!
Managing a big life changes can often cause a person to have so many emotions at once that it can feel debilitating. Managing changes can cause anxiety, and the feelings related to some of the changes cause people to feel a loss of control to the point of panic. One way to deal with these feelings is to focus on coping with these life changes, and how to assist in not allowing the smaller things to build up and become overpowering, and overwhelming emotions. Here are some tools and some important factors to remember when making life changes:
1. Focus on being in the here and now: thinking too much in the future or past can actually trigger a panic attack or cause you to feel overwhelmed, so being in the moment will allow you to remember exactly where you are at.
2. Take a nice deep cleansing breaths(in through your nose and out of your mouth) and use your five senses to ground yourself: It sounds silly, but using your senses to ground yourself (sight, sound, taste, touch, smell) can help you focus on what you need at the moment and can also soothe you to feel calm and relaxed.
3. Before making any major decisions use the 2-2-2 rule: How will this decision affect your life in 2 weeks, 2 months or 2 years from now, and will it hurt anyone you love, yourself or hurt your life in general.
4. Cope ahead: Be prepared in the situation to have your favorite way of coping before going into something that scares you. If you know you are going to a new situation have a favorite coping skill ready to go, there are many to choose from, you just have to find one that is right for you!
Ilene Glance is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the state of Florida. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Alabama, and went on to get her Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Nova Southeastern University. She has worked with all ages and populations ranging from 5 year old to 80. She is an active member in the American Counseling Association, and has received trainings and certificates in addictions, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Enhancement and Motivational Interviewing. She also is currently a NCC and CCHMC Certified Counselor.
No matter how big or small, change can be difficult! Not everyone manages life changes the same way. Some people welcome it, enjoying the opportunity for something new. Others loathe or fear change, worrying about what is to come. Even more of a stressor to some people is the fact that life changes aren’t always planned or under our control, such as unexpected breakups, losses of loved ones, etc. Whether planned or not, what can we do to better deal with big life changes? Read on for some ideas of how to survive change.
1. Take a step back – When something big is happening in life, whether planned or not, take some time to step back and breathe. By taking some time to assess how things are evolving, and the resources available to you, you can likely formulate a better game plan to tackle whatever you’re facing.
2. Prioritize – Take some time to prioritize what is most important at the moment when life throws that curveball at you. For example, if you lost your job, you’d likely prioritize saving money and starting the job search rather than going out to dinner every night or buying that new car you’ve wanted.
3. Remember that change is most likely temporary – This does not mean that everything will magically be better, or back as it was. This is more a reminder that things do get better with time, and that with planning and good support, you can make it through whatever happens. Sometimes change is uncomfortable or painful, but we often come out stronger or more experienced because of it.
4. Seek support – Finally, remember that you don’t have to brave change alone! If you have natural supports, such as friends, family members, or close coworkers, reach out to them. Talk to people, and consider asking for help when you need it…you don’t have to be a hero. Yes, it can be difficult to do this, especially if you’ve always been the “Strong” one. If you find your supports to be limited, consider reaching out to a therapist for a listening ear, and to help put your struggles into perspective to identify solutions. Also, speaking to someone can help you remain more positive during a time when it is easy to be negative or feel hopeless.
These are just a few tips to better manage big change. I welcome you to call or email me if you are going through a tough change in your life.
Anthony is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in the state of Florida, as well as a Qualified Supervisor for Registered Mental Health Counselor Interns. He is currently in private practice in Boca Raton, FL. Anthony’s passion is to work with Teens and Adults who experience anxiety, depression, relationship conflicts, emotional regulation issues, and clients within the LGBTQ population.
His approach to therapy is brief, positively focused, and solution-oriented, which helps clients to identify the strengths, supports, and skills needed to resolve issues and reach their goals. As a result, many of his clients have seen positive results quickly, often within a few sessions.
Anthony is also a Board Member of the FL Southeast Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)