The Seasons of Life – and How to Deal with Them
They say that the only constant thing in life is change. You can liken life as clouds in the sky – they are constantly changing form. Like it or not, change will come. That’s life, after all. We face various seasons of our lives that result in major transitions that necessitate a change in our lifestyle and outlook. Depending on how welcome the change is, it can be met with happiness, an openness to change and a positive attitude or it can be encountered with fear, anxiety and stress. It is important to realize that life transitions can be an uncertain (and even scary) time, but it can also be a time of growth.
Transitions can be due to expected events or they can be unpredictable and unwelcome events. Examples of life transitions include:
– Getting married and starting a family. This exciting phase in the life of couples can be a cause for much joy or stress. Becoming a parent is a challenge and will require much adjustment from the couple. Once the children come, you as parents discover that you have grown in ways you did not expect. You are challenged to earn a good income to provide for your family’s needs and still be able to “be there” and have time to raise up your children into responsible adults. At the same time, there is a challenge to maintain your relationship with your spouse. All these may create pressure and stress that result in emotional conflict with your spouse and children.
– Getting the empty nest. Another life transition is seeing your children grow up to be mature, independent individuals who will eventually leave the comfort and safety of the home you have built up. As the children leave the nest to form their own, parents (especially mothers) feel a disconnect about how they are – since their lives were more or less defined by their being parents. Parents who are unable to handle this transition may become depressed and dwell with their “loss” rather than look for opportunities of growth with this new phase in life.
– Getting retired or getting fired from your job. For the retirees, your life was defined largely by who you are at work for so many years now. And then suddenly, that is taken away from you. You used to spend eight hours or more in the office and now you don’t quite know what to do with those eight or more hours. For those who lose their jobs, there is the pain of rejection, the loss of self-worth and the fear that you are unable to get back on your feet.
– Losing a loved one or dealing with sickness. This is one transition that we face with dread. Dealing with a loss of a loved one or seeing them laid up with sickness is painful. We can turn towards other loved ones and friends for support and comfort at the time of our grief. Or we may even turn to drugs and alcohol to dull the pain.
These are just some of the transitions we normally face in life. There are other transitions – whether tragic or happy (i.e. winning the lottery, having to transfer homes) – that mark the different phases or chapters in our lives. These times can be very emotional and stressful.
When handled properly, these transitions help us develop as persons. However, transitions may also throw us into a downward spiral of emotional instability that could lead to substance abuse and bouts of depression. During these times, it will be helpful to see a therapist and even a substance abuse counselor, if applicable.
Accepting change and growing from them
There are two reactions towards transitions: fight it and delay it or accept it and grow from it. If you choose to drag your heels and resist the change that is coming, you are only just delaying the inevitable and making things harder for you. Resisting the transition in your life can cause you more stress and emotional upheaval. It can even affect relationships with family, friends and co-workers. It can drain you not just emotionally but also physically.
The help of an experienced and able counselor in Utah can help you through life’s transitions, especially if these are unwelcome ones. They can help guide us to the answers to questions like, “How do I deal with a recent divorce?” “How do I enjoy my retirement period?” “How do I cope with the loss of a loved one?” Life counselors can help us sort through the muddle caused by these transitions and provide us with the tools that we need to cope and grow from these experiences.
When the transitions of life become too challenging for you (and your spouse and loved ones), don’t be afraid to go into marriage or family therapy in Provo. One good indication that you may benefit from counseling or therapy may be when you are unable to deal with a transition and it affects how you relate with other people and the stress begins to manifest in you not just emotionally but also physically. A good therapist will provide you with not just a supportive ear but will help map the way out for you to successful deal with the transitions in your life.
If you are residing in Provo, Utah, you can count on Dr. Triston Morgan to help you deal with the life transitions you are facing. Dr. Morgan is a licensed family and Provo marriage therapist and has established a reputable practice in the state of Utah. He has since helped families and couples by providing them with effective tools to grow and thrive in the midst of life’s challenges.