Life Transitions

with Jeff Rose

Life Changes are stressful because changes require us to adjust and to adapt.

Experiencing too many changes within a brief time period often creates a perception that we are not in control of important events. This perception contributes to low self-esteem and may even contribute to the development of anxiety or depression. In some cases, physical illnesses may develop when a person’s capacity to adapt to change is overwhelmed by too much change.

Coping occurs in the context of life changes that are perceived to be stressful. Psychological stress is usually associated with negative life changes, such as losing a job or a loved one. However, because all changes require some sort of adaptation, even positive changes, such as getting married or having a child, can be stressful.

Stressors that require coping may be acute, such as a change in residence or onset of marital problems. Stressors also occur that are of longer duration, such as chronic pain, chronic illness, or enduring financial problems.

The effect of many acute stressors that occur within a relatively brief period of time may be cumulative and profound. For example, the individual who experiences a marital separation, the death of an aging parent, and a change in his or her job within a brief period of time may find himself or herself struggling to adjust to maintain his or her physical and emotional health.

Coping involves adjusting to unusual demands, or stressors, and requires the use of greater effort and more energy than is required by the daily routines of life. This prolonged effort can contribute to elevated levels of stress-related hormones and to eventual physical breakdown and illness.

What can you do to protect ourselves against stress and therefore enhance your prospects for successful coping? Perhaps the most important strategy is to maintain emotionally supportive relationships with others.

A vast field of research demonstrates that emotional support buffers individuals against the negative impact of stress.

In my counseling practice, I provide an environment where individuals and families can safely evaluate their overall lifestyle when encountering significant life transitions. Together we will find ways to talk, think, and work on the challenges in order to bring about the desired changes that will restore balance to your life.

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