Dealing with Major Life Changes

Dealing with Major Life Changes

Let me ask you a question. How often do you think you “should” be feeling differently than you actually are?

This thought pattern plagues people around the globe. And it affects everyone—no matter how much you plan or strategize in life, “should’ve, could’ve, would’ve” will cross your mind sooner or later.

In my experience, negative self-talk like this is especially common during major life changes. The thing is, reacting to a major life change isn’t a sign of weakness or immaturity. It’s an often involuntary response to being in new situations, thanks to our universal human nature.

That’s why I put together this guide to dealing with major life changes. I know you have questions, and I have answers. In just a few short minutes, you’ll understand why you’re dealing with these strong emotions and how to cope.

What is Considered a Major Life Change?

Mental health professionals like me consider these as good examples of major life changes:

  • Divorce
  • Death of a loved one
  • Losing a job or changing careers
  • Buying a house
  • A child leaving the nest
  • Health issues of your own or a loved one
  • Major injuries to you or a friend/family member
  • Having a baby
  • Dealing with debt of any kind
  • Getting married
  • Starting a business
  • Aging or end-of-life issues
  • Leaving home and starting adulthood
  • Moving to another part of the country or world

Are you thinking these cover most major milestones a person might experience in life? You aren’t wrong. Basically, a major life change can be defined as any change which affects your current way of life or daily routine in a major way.

As you can see from the list above, major life changes aren’t all bad. In fact, some of them are the most memorable moments of our lives. But even the best experiences can cause stress or anxiety—and that’s normal.

What Causes Major Life Changes?

Major life changes can be caused by our own choices or those of the people around us. If the company you work for downsizes and lays you off, it has nothing to do with your personal performance. But the choice affects you on a personal level.

At the same time, getting engaged to your partner or deciding to start a new job can cause a major life change as well. In the grand scheme of things, major life changes are caused by the simple act of people making choices.

Most importantly, it’s impossible to get through life without experiencing this. Even if you try to never change a thing in your life, you can’t control people around you. That’s why dealing with major life changes is an important skill for you to master.

Does Dealing with Life’s Transitions Cause Stress?

Yes, dealing with life’s transitions can absolutely cause stress. This can happen even when the transition is a positive one. Say your child gets into their top choice college. That’s great news, but you’re probably thinking about costs. You may also be stressing about their safety and being far from home.

You aren’t selfish or short-sighted for having this reaction. It’s human nature to be wary of any transition, especially one that changes your routine or causes any kind of stress.

Plus, if that transition isn’t something you’re excited about, the burden of stress might be even worse. Getting divorced or losing your job tend to be unexpected, like having the rug pulled out from under you. And that lack of preparation causes even more stress to your body.

How Do You Cope with a Major Life Change?

For coping and dealing with a major life change, try reframing your thinking, taking steps to establish normalcy, creating comfort every day, and speaking with an unbiased mental health professional.

Reframing Your Thinking

Arriving at a new, more positive perspective can make dealing with a life transition much easier. Often our sadness and discomfort with these shifts are caused by long-standing negative thought patterns.

Instead of thinking “I can’t possibly succeed in this new career,” remember this is all part of God’s plan for your path through life.

Similarly, there’s no need to beat yourself up with thoughts of not being strong enough to avoid divorce. The Bible recognizes the possibility that your partner isn’t serving their vows. It’s healthy to grieve the loss of the marriage you thought you had.

What I’m saying here is no matter what major life change you’re grappling with, there’s a more positive perspective one of our counselors at Gateway Counseling can help you see.

Establishing Normalcy

As humans, we find peace in our daily routines. Just like I mentioned earlier, we can’t control what the people around us do. But we can control certain details of day-to-day life.

When you’re dealing with a major life change, you’re on edge. You doubt every new occurrence and circumstance. Basically, avoiding other upsets and surprises can make it easier to accept this new thing in your life.

So, focus on maintaining your habits.

Whether a daily walk, visiting your regular coffee shop, or simply maintaining a consistent wake/sleep schedule, avoiding change elsewhere in life will preserve your energy and reduce stress.

Creating Comfort Daily

When you’re carrying the emotional burden of a major life transition, you have to take care of yourself. Stress and anxiety can wreak havoc on your life and behavior in a variety of ways. But the last thing you need during this difficult time is more drama or unpredictability.

One of the best ways to maintain your mental health is through creating comfort daily. I’m not saying to call off work and hit the casino, though. Creating comfort means establishing healthy ways to recharge your batteries.

This looks a bit different for everyone. For example, some people can unload with a bit of exercise. But you may also benefit from meditation or a warm bath at night.

The key is finding something comforting that isn’t burying your problems. Talking to a friend or listening to relaxing music is great. Drinking, drugs, and other dangerous activities won’t make things any easier.

Speak with an Empathetic Professional Today

While I advise you to try the 3 previous tips, you have other options too. There’s no rule in life saying you “should” be able to carry this heavy load alone. Modern life presents quite a few hurdles, both unexpected and planned.

Setting up an appointment with one of our Boynton Beach mental health counselors is your best option for dealing with a major life change. Our counselors specialize in therapy to help you cope with any disruptive transition you’re experiencing.

Everybody deserves an unbiased, open-minded, and empathetic sounding board—especially considering the challenges of modern life here on earth.

No matter what you’re going through, I invite you to schedule an appointment with one of our professional and experienced counselors. Whether you just want to learn more about how we can help or you’re ready to schedule an appointment, give us a call at (561) 468-6464.

Boynton Beach Counseling Center
Gateway Counseling Center
1034 Gateway Blvd. #104
Boynton Beach, FL 33426
Phone: (561) 468-6464
Phone: (561) 678-0036

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