A life transition is any change or adjustment that impacts your life in a
significant way. We all experience transitions throughout our lives — big and
small, planned and unplanned. Change is an intrinsic part of life. But that
doesn’t mean it’s easy. Adjusting to life changes, even positive changes,
causes stress. If you’re struggling to cope with life transitions that feel out of
control, you may find it helpful to see a therapist.
Types of Life Transitions that Therapy Can Help With:
Starting or finishing college
Starting a new job
Separation or divorce
Birth of a new child
Loss of a loved one
Moving to a new area
Tips to Cope With Change:
Make time for relaxation.
Protect your mental and physical health. Stay active, eat healthily, and get enough rest.
Talk about stressors with someone you trust. Family members and friends can give valuable support. When necessary, therapists can also fill this role.
Prepare for upcoming changes by researching them and making a plan. Stress can often develop from the unknown.
Limiting change. It may be helpful to avoid making a large change immediately after another change. Generally, adjusting to a change takes some time, and making multiple changes at once, even smaller ones, may not allow enough time for an adequate adjustment period, which can cause stress.
Develop a routine. Establishing a routine can help you adjust to a transition. Consider creating morning and evening routines to facilitate a sense of consistency. Regular sleep and wake times, a daily walk, meditation, or intention-setting for the day can be great additions to your routine.
Therapy for Life Transitions
There isn’t a specific treatment for life transitions, but there are several effective methods. Patients often find talk therapy helpful to sort out their feelings and stressors about the life change. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a common therapy modality that addresses the thoughts and feelings that different events trigger, can help with negative thought patterns and the accompanying negative feelings that may develop. If you’re experiencing significant stress, anxiety, or depression, your therapist may recommend medication to support your other treatments.
It can often be helpful to get in touch with a mental health professional before a significant change happens. This provides an opportunity to prepare for the change so you can face it head-on.