6 Strategies to Handle Transition Fears

by: Eva M. Selhub, M.D.

Transitions are inevitable. Sometimes, the prospect of making a transition is exciting, but more often, it can be scary. How do you handle transitions, especially when you feel you are being forced into making a change?

Like when you are being forced out of your home because you cannot pay the mortgage, or pushed out of your job because there is no money to pay you. Your partner wants to end the relationship, or your body is aging before you are ready.

Change is often scary because of the associate uncertainty. Wherever you are now, even though you might be miserable, you can at least trust that it will stay miserable. The whole point of being in transition is that you do not know where you stand in the moment and where you will stand in the future. So fear sets in.

Will I find another job? Will I lose my home? Will I find a new love? Will I get sick? Will I be enough or have enough?

Your brain is always asking this question at any given moment anyway -- will I be enough or have enough? Sometimes the answer is "yes", and often the answer is "no." When you brain falls into the "not enough" perception mode, it's called "stress." When your brain perceives that you are in stress it triggers the stress response, which sets off a series of biochemical and physiological changes such as causing your heart to race, you blood pressure to go up, your negative emotions to take over and your mind to shut down (to name a few). If the perception of stress goes on for too long, eventually the mind will shut down more, the body will break down, negative emotions will take over, destructive actions and behaviors take the reigns, and you might find yourself more miserable and alone. Fear begets more fear.

Loss and change cannot be prevented in life. It would be nice if we could prepare for them or predict the future. The reality is that the future is uncertain and that anything can happen, positive or negative. The reality is that you can control your own physiology so that you don't stay in fear -- find your balance, stay level-headed and keep yourself open to the positive possibilities the transition may offer you.

When you shift your physiology out of fear, you can move into positive expectancy or the belief that anything is possible. Your perception changes so that you see the transition as an adventure, rather than a curse.

Here are some tips shift your physiology:
1. Allow yourself to feel fear, anger or whatever negative emotion you feel -- you have every right to feel this way.
2. Connect with others: reach out to friends or other loved ones or a therapist or counselor and ask them for help. Tell them you don't want advice, but just to be held; to have a space held for you so that you can rest and heal.
3. Connect with your beautiful self: Do something loving for yourself because you deserve it -- massage, retreat, etc. I call these "love me gifts"
4. Practice self-love always -- do not berate yourself. Hug yourself. Look in the mirror and keep saying "You are fabulous!"
5. Connect with something larger than you -- you can take a walk in nature or you can connect with your imagination: Imagine golden light shining down upon you surrounding you in unconditional love and grace like a shield of light (Part of my SHIELD techniques). You can imagine a divine presence like a divine mother or father holding you and nurturing as if you were a baby. As you allow yourself to be held, say these words to yourself: "The support I need is here. I am loved and lovable." Say these words often, over and over and eventually the subconscious will accept them as truth.
6. Practice laughing out loud -- start by saying Hahahahahaha slowly and then faster and faster. Laughter is the best medicine

You have to break up the fear response, even if only for a short period. When you feel better, your transition just might move more smoothly.

Written by: Eva M. Selhub,M.D., executive coach, motivational speaker, author of The Love Response


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