10 Tips for Transitions
Updated: Oct 31, 2020
Transitions are like forks in the road on our journey through life. They often require us to make choices and to deal with change, and this can be exciting as well as destabilizing and stressful. In this post, I share ten ways to tune in to the body-mind-spirit connection during these times. These tips can help you calm down, stay present, and choose your way forward.
1. Get Grounded
It is natural to become destabilized during times of transition and to feel like we are spinning and not grounded. If this is true for you, the following activity can help you feel more solid and centered.
Stand barefoot preferably on the grass. If this is not possible, it's okay to do this indoors or with your shoes on. Unlock your hips and knees and feel the weight moving down your legs, through your feet, and to the ground. Feel the soles of your feet on the ground and grip the surface with your toes. You can even imagine roots coming out of your feet and burrowing deep into the earth. If it feels right, gently bounce up and down with your whole body- bending your hips and knees while keeping your feet planted. This activity can release tension in your body and help with grounding too.
2. Release Tension
Transitions can create tension, and when we recognize and release this tension physically, it can relax both our mind and body. The following activity can help:
Mentally scan your body and note areas where you are holding tension. Then concentrate on each area that is tight, put out the message to relax, and accept whatever tension remains. When we accept the state of our body in the moment, we relax even more. If you can't feel this tension, try focusing on your jaw muscles, your neck/shoulders, and your buttocks- because these areas are often pulled up tight when we are stressed. You can also gently stretch or massage these areas to help them relax.
3. Keep Breathing
When we are stressed we often breathe faster and shallower using our upper chest, and when we are calm we often breathe slower and deeper using our diaphragm. Every time the diaphragm contracts- it moves downward and this pushes on the abdominal contents, causing the belly to move outward with each breath. Breathing is automatic, but breathing can also be in our control. When we consciously breathe with our diaphragm, it can help the full system calm down. Here's how to do it.
Place your hands on your abdomen, then inhale gently, slowly and deeply, and feel your belly and your whole rib cage move outward. After you have done this about 3 to 5 times, relax and allow your body to take over this natural rhythm. Let your body breathe you. It is helpful to do this activity throughout the day and especially when you are feeling stressed.
4. Tune In To Your Emotions
During transitions, emotions are often heightened or turbulent. Instead of ignoring, controlling, judging or becoming overwhelmed by your emotions- consider feeling them, and paying attention to them. Emotions can give us valuable information about how to move forward. Constricting feelings like fear may be signaling you about something to avoid, and expanding feelings like love can help you know when you are on a life-giving path.
5. Try To Be Flexible
In times of transition we are often tempted to replay our old patterns. However, if you've grown past this way of thinking and behaving, you will feel stifled and uncomfortable. So during these times, instead shrinking to fit, consider opening up to receive/experience something new.
6. Redefine Failure
When there are changes and choices to make, it is natural to be a bit afraid, and we often worry that we will make a mistake. If this is true for you, consider that what we consider to be mistakes or failures can actually be learning experiences that propel our growth.
7. Treat Yourself With Compassion
When things are changing all around us, we are often challenged to find inner stability and strength. Growing in resilience and self-compassion is very powerful and worth the effort. This internal change can eventually expand our perceptions and experiences in life.
8. Examine Your Motivations
Transitions are a great time to look within and examine your motivations. In our society it is easy to become focused on achievement, possessions, relationships, and "likes". If you are driven by the need to bolster your ego in these ways, and you want to change, transitions are great opportunity to move forward in a new way.
9. Lighten Up
When we sense our timeless and connected nature, our spiritual self, we become less focused on our human survival and we have less need to bolster our ego or identity. When we "lighten up" in this way we can flow through our lives (even transitions) with much more ease and joy.
To expand your spiritual awareness, consider spending time in quiet and solitude, and doing activities that calm and energize your body and mind. Some possible routes to open up this sense of spiritual connection include: meditation / prayer, spending time in nature, creative pursuits, and yoga.
10. Allow Yourself To Be Inspired
It is possible to receive intuitive/spiritual insights to guide and support you through transitions. This information can come through in many ways such as: spontaneous thoughts, automatic body responses, observations in nature, life experiences, and dreams. Often, these insights are accompanied by a physical sensation (such as tingling or relaxation), a feeling of peace, and a sense that what is coming through is your deepest truth- something you've always known. This information is available to all of us, and it becomes easier to appreciate it when we "lighten up" (see above) and consider it is possible.