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A Therapist’s Guide for Dealing with Change & Major Life Transitions

Anxiety, Coping Skills
4 min read

Our ability to embrace change and major life transitions can strengthen if we know the right ways for each of us to approach change, or any life transition. While we can't always control or anticipate the events, we can absolutely learn how to best manage, process and react to them. We shared questions on this topic from our Frame Community with therapist Zeahlot Lopez, read on for her guidance. 

 

Q: I remember being in my twenties and thinking that at 30, I’d be married with kids, and have my life together. What does it mean if my expectations of what 30 looked like doesn’t match up to where I'm actually at right now? 

Zeahlot: You can rewrite your expectations! Rewrite your to-do list for where you are now and what truly works for you, not what anyone else thinks or feels.

We have the ability to rewrite our narrative. When we're younger, we're handed the script that says, “you need to do this”, which is also influenced by your culture, gender, and sexuality. But guess what, it doesn't always work like that for everyone.  You are the writer of your own script. You are the main character in your life and you have a responsibility to choose your life. That's the best way to go about it. 

 

Q: I hear a lot of people say that they have a hard time adapting to change. Why do we experience anxiety about change if change is so normal? 

Zeahlot: Yes, change is normal, but it’s not always expected or on our terms. That inability to control change is what sparks a lot of anxiety, as well as the unknown of what the change can bring.  

It’s important for people to know that change has phases, similar to the stages of grief. I like to ask myself questions to get a deeper understanding: What am I feeling at this moment? and then meaning, What does this mean?  Once you combine both the understanding and the meaning, anxieties can lessen because when we better understand ourselves in the moment, others around us, and even a lesson we might be experiencing during the change.  


Q:
I'm really not happy with my job. But, I can’t tell if I'm wanting to switch careers because my job is hard, or if my gut is telling me the job itself just isn’t for me. How can I phase out what's what? Am I feeling this intuition of purpose? Or is it just, I'm not feeling this

Zeahlot: With really hard life decisions, or impactful life changes, like our career, our family, divorce, separation, having kids, moving across country; you want to ask yourself a deeper question which is: Am I making this decision from a “heart space” or “wounded space”

If we're making a decision from the wounded space, is it coming from doubt? Is it coming from fear, or a place of scarcity? 

Versus, the heart space where it's intuition, and the feeling of “I don't know what this is, but I know what I feel and I can't deny it”. The heart space is also a place of abundance, and certainty that whether or not I make the right decision, that decision is for me. 

Spend some time exploring these questions, write down your answers and allow yourself a moment of time to pause and reflect. 

 

Q: Does adjusting to major life transitions get easier when we're older? 

Zeahlot: I would say that it's just different. It's different because you will be different. You will have different tools that you can use and more life experiences to draw back on. 

There is a difference however between having resources and being resourceful. So if you don't have all the tools in the toolbox, go ask somebody. Turn to your network of people who love and care about you for support. 

Starting therapy before / during / or after major life transitions is also a wonderful resource to explore.


Interested in exploring individual or family therapy? Let Frame get you started. Create your (free) Frame profile, answer 10 questions focused on your preferences and needs, and we will introduce you to a curated short-list of recommended therapists. 

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