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Tips for Coping with Transitions
Dr. Dale V. Atkins, July 2014

We all experience transitions in our lives. Planned or unplanned, they can be both positive and negative. Some transitions happen without warning and can be dramatic -- accident, death, divorce, job loss, serious illness. Others, although expected and planned, are often no less dramatic -- marriage, have a baby, change of jobs, retirement, or move to a new city. We sometimes believe that because a transition is planned, that we will be prepared. Not necessarily. Even when we are prepared, there are usually surprises.

All transitions alter our lives.

Transitions can help us learn about our strengths and encourage us to explore and face what we want out of life. Even those transitions that fill us with doubt or remorse such as the loss of a person, a job, a role, or sense of where we fit in the world, can be instructive. We may focus on the feeling of being unmoored, anxious, nervous, or fearful, but ultimately, that can serve as a bridge to paying attention and developing our growth, reliance and strength.

As we leave behind the familiar and adjust to a new way of living, we can remember that life is an every changing process with many series of beginnings and endings.

These tips may be helpful when adapting during times of transition:

Accept Changes as a Normal Part of Life. - Everything has its season. We can look to nature to inspire us as we develop inner strength and courage. Where we are now will change.

Identify Our Values and Life Goals. - Break the cycle of caring about what others think and focus on what WE want. Transitions, whatever the source, offer us opportunities to reexamine our priorities, values and life.

Learn to Identify and Express Feelings. - Writing often helps to examine the layers of our life that become exposed as a result of experiencing transition. Hiding from or denying insightful self-realization can prevent valuable growth.

Don't Be in a Rush. - There's no quick fix. We need to "BE" where we are; Pause and breathe.

Expect to Feel Uncomfortable. - The only way out is by going "through" the experience.

Protect Your Health. - We can do what we can, every day, to refill your personal reservoir. Eat mindfully, exercise according to your capacity at THIS time, enjoy friends, laugh, learn, nurture our spirit.

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