If you are having a hard time going through a transition, here are 13 ways to cool down the process and allow you to move on with less drama and more success.
I compiled this list throughout the years, after going through many difficult life-changing transitions myself -- moving to another country four times, getting married, becoming a mother, getting divorced, changing job, changing profession, and much more -- and helping friends and clients to do the same.
I invite you to read, digest and apply (yes, it's very important to apply!).
The order of the items in the list doesn't give them any specific priority; their importance will vary depending on you, the reader.
You will maybe find that you are aware of many of them, but are you applying them? Take what you need and make it yours.
So here we go...
During a transition:
1. Turn the volume of the drama script down. When a change comes into our lives -- especially when it happens abruptly -- we tend to over-dramatize it. We build a story that fits us, that triggers certain emotions and easily become victims of the situation. We start repeating the story over and over again in search of empathy and consolation. That drama script often becomes the perfect excuse to resist change. If you are going through a drama-obsessive phase, you can repeat out loud: "I'm turning the volume of my drama down now." By this simple gesture you are putting awareness onto your pattern and letting go of it.
2. More emulation and less comparison. If you are going to look for reference in others people's lives, do it with a spirit of emulation, not comparison. That means that you can take what is working for someone and see if it could work for you. But don't blame yourself for not being in the same place as the person you are emulating. Each has their own process, struggles and changes to cope with. You are fine where you are. Be practical: Don't use your observational skills to hurt yourself, use them to look for what can help you.
3. Embrace your situation but don't identify with it. You are maybe separating or divorcing, got fired or are going through a threatening illness such as cancer. The tendency is to feel that now you are becoming a divorcee, or a cancer patient, or a jobless person. And yes, you are going through that and it's good to take the time to embrace the moment and your situation. But the important thing to keep in mind is that you are also much more than that. When you focus your attention too much on your illness, your divorce, or jobless identity and start experiencing your whole social life through it, you are not giving room to other parts of you to express themselves. Those other parts can actually help you build your next step, your new situation.
4. Don't be afraid to ask for help. From your family members, friends, healers, psychologist, acupuncturist, or any of the 12 steps programs... have the courage to ask for help! Being vulnerable is a way of opening to change. You will be surprised how people are happy to give you a hand, that are ready to support you in so many different ways.
5. Intend clearly to the universe what it is you need. If you don't have clarity, ask out loud for it. If you don't have strength, ask out loud for it. You can simply say: "I step into clarity" or "I step into my strength." Or, I call for clarity, I call for strength. Your power of intention is very strong and efficient and stating your intention out loud helps you step out from your victim outfit and align with your real intention.
6. Don't torture yourself with things that have not happened yet. All those scary scenarios that you are imagining are not yet happening. What's the point of wasting precious energy suffering in advance? Besides, they may never happen.
7. Recognize when it's time to gestate, and when it's time to act. Sometimes we are passive, a bit confused, with no visibility about what to do. It's what I like to call gestation phase. In this phase we tend to get worried because we don't like the non-clarity of it. But we just need to trust the gestation process. That's a time of observing, feeling, pondering and considering what's the most pertinent next step to take, and also to ask for help if needed. There is the risk that this phase starts to become too mind-dependent, and lasts longer than needed. It can happen that you are trying to figure out everything through thinking and thinking and more thinking. But thinking has its limits. When you are thinking when you should be acting you feel stuck and heavy. Sometimes to find clarity we just need to take a step forward. The details don't matter too much, but just move and take action. So if you are feeling overwhelmed by your gestation phase it maybe means you are ready to act. Go for it!
8. Meditate. It's a great way to cool down the mind, create inner space and have more clarity. It allows you to connect with something bigger than you. It also helps you to sleep and rest better. Choose what kind of meditation fits you best and include it in your daily activities. You can start by trying my seven-minute Pranayama Yoga Meditation. Download it here. It's free.
9. Love yourself whatever happens. This is a non-negotiable one for me. Whatever your transition is, whatever your change is, love yourself with words, actions and thoughts. No matter who is judging you or for what reason (whether you're responsible for it or not) loving yourself is the best thing you can do to help you out of the hole. For example, when you take a bath, when you have breakfast, do it as a caring gesture for yourself, not just as a regular habit. Having little gestures of love every day can really smooth the ride and center you immediately. Always choose love.
10. Laugh at least once a day.Laughter is one of the strongest pranayama techniques I practice and one of the most underestimated by people. You can laugh for real (it's more fun) or fake it (with laughter yoga groups or videos). In both cases it works the same. The body releases endorphins and the immune system gets boosted, and your mood improves immediately. Laughing with friends is a perfect combination.
11. Move your body. Do sport, yoga, martial arts, belly dance, whatever fits you the best. Even 10 minutes a day will make a difference. Your body will release endorphins, and you will feel uplifted. A bit of movement every day can completely change your perception about your situation.
12. Follow your body's intuition. When you have decisions to make during transitions, take a moment to feel your body. Especially your stomach, which can get tight, your chest closed, and your breath shallow. When something is not the right thing for you, see how your body expresses it -- through goose bumps, through pain, through cold? Each time I do something that my body is telling me to avoid, I get in big trouble or in very annoying situations. If your body doesn't like something it should usually be a no-go for you. Connect more with your body. Listen to it.
13. Eat food that nourishes you. Consume food that brings you vital fresh energy. Since we have the tendency to overeat, under eat or eat trash in times of stress, apply the 80-20 eating formula: Allow yourself 20 percent junk food and be sure to ingest 80 percent healthy food. A healthy diet can make a difference in times of turbulence.
Do you have a way of handling transitions that is not on this list? Share it in the comments. This is definitely an ongoing process. I would love to hear about your experiences.
Rakel Sosa has been practicing and teaching Rajadhiraja Yoga for twenty years and was trained by Master Healer David Elliott as a Pranayama Breathwork healer. She has been working in private and group sessions in Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, United States and Venezuela since 2010. She is the co-author of Blooming Together, an Audio Pregnancy Program designed to enhance the well being of babies and expectant mothers. Rakel earned a master's degree in Communication from The Sorbonne University in Paris. She worked as a journalist for 11 years for Radio France International covering social and political issues around the world. Today as a filmmaker and healer she uses her professional skills for promoting self-realization and well-being.