Growing with Life Changes

Finding emotional strength in life’s challenges and developing new insights that may help you to meet difficult transitions constructively.

Change is inevitable – but it doesn’t mean it’s easy. How easy or stressful navigating a life transition is for you can be strongly influenced by how you frame it to yourself. The attitude that we adopt in facing change has a lot to do with how smoothly we can adjust to hurdles, as well as the success of our self-preservation in the process.

For some people the issue is not just coping with the pressures and expectations imposed by a major life change, but understanding what has changed for them, or what they find difficult about the situation. Particularly during stressful life changes, the tendency is to take on the challenge by moving into action mode, while ignoring what’s going on internally.

Remember that change is not inherently good or bad.

While we accept that “change is good” and that life would be boring without transitions, we can often become so attached to our routines that we go to great lengths to avoid changes. Some people embrace change and avoid routine or “settling down.” Others—even when situations are uncomfortable and they don’t like their job, their marriage, their neighbor, or the layout of their furniture—may still prefer to adapt and accommodate than to face the unknown.

While change can be valuable as an antidote to stagnation, that doesn’t mean you won’t be beset by anxiety, fear, or worry. The disruption of life changes can cause discord and choppiness in your routines, your relationships, and your own sense of ease.

Life Passages

Important life passages such as marriage, giving birth, retirement, illness or death – can be fraught with strong feelings, can complicate relationships, and cause stress. Yet they are also the potential source of joy and growth, however difficult it may be to pivot into the positive aspects of painful change. image title: coping with change – right justify

Life Transitions

Life transitions also offer the opportunity to gain and refresh perspective. Changing or losing one’s job, breaking up or getting a divorce, moving to a different part of the country or immigrating to a new one altogether – these are life transitions that can be painful and difficult as well as exciting and refreshing. But such shake-ups also afford one the opportunity to reorganize and re-evaluate one’s priorities and to be more intentional about what is important and meaningful.

Life Events

Life events are key events in a person’s life, holding more than ordinary significance, remembered and assigned meaning, and often can alter the trajectory of a person’s life. Research reported by the American Psychological Association cites that relocation or moving one’s home is one of the most difficult life transitions people experience – and remembered for decades. In my experience the life events that really stand out and even change course have to do with relationship and meaning. In hindsight, people value having been present to the good and the bad in the outer situation, and fully present to their own inner life during these events as well.

Life Cycle

Although some people enjoy change more than others, the fact is that without it we become stagnant.  It is a core quality of development, both mental and physical. And we are always growing, from the bursts of astonishing change during infancy and childhood to the growth and adaptation in old age through death.
Whether you prefer change or not, most people find that major life changes and transitions challenge their personalities and their mindset, sometimes very painfully so. Therapy offers support and insight during these transitions, and a sense of containment that brings a revitalizing, rather than a depleting attitude to life crises

Personal Counseling during Life Transitions

Are you going through a change or a transition in your life?
When stress—or distress—becomes sufficiently strong and cannot be ignored, therapy can help to moderate the emotional impact of these passages, and offer the opportunity for psychological growth and insight.

Like the martial art of Jiu-jitsu, change can be leveraged into momentum toward growth.

Psychodynamic psychotherapy , Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Mindfulness-based Therapy are each processes that may help you gain insight into how you react to change, while helping you to approach your situation with more compassion and perspective.

Contact Dr. Wu

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