Article – Transition and Anxiety: The Hidden Gift


Transition and Anxiety: The Hidden Gift

By: Ali Butters, LMHC

While fear is adaptive, and triggers a protective coping response to danger, anxiety is a maladaptive overreaction to exaggerated perceived risks and fears.”  Deepak Chopra, 2014

Often, we experience an increase in anxiety surrounding normal life transitions. While the change can be towards something joyous and positive, it can still induce feelings of fear, anxiety, uncertainty, and confusion. As summer is ending and fall is approaching we are reminded of the adjustment some experience as a new school year approaches us and change occurs. Often when we are faced with transition, anxiety can increase and create some emotional discomfort for both the individual and their loved ones. “Any time you’re out of your comfort zone, you’re going to feel anxious. Just because you feel anxious does not mean something bad is going to happen. In fact, for me most of the time anxiety means something really great is going on and that I’m moving through new territory in the direction of my dreams” ( Dr. Susan Biali 2012).

As parents, we tend to want to make sure our child is happy and feels content with the change; forgetting that often this anxiety allows us to grow and create new skills that are meaningful both today and our future. With the possible emotional distress it is important for both the child and their loved ones to utilize anxiety reduction skills to help strengthen our child’s sense of self as well as give our kids the independence they need to grow and navigate their world. As adults we can relate to this as often we experience the same sense of anxiety whenever we experience change or particular transitions in our lives as well. “Everyone goes through multiple life changes each year that, with simple information and consciousness, could be transformed from stressful and depleting events to life-affirming and transformational events” (Sheryl Paul, 2014). Although we often see these habitual life events as “hard” or “negative”, what we need to be mindful of is embedded in these occurrences are opportunities to lean into our fears and create significant self-growth.

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Please contact Ali Butters, LMHC at the Center of Psychological Effectiveness for assistance.