Adulthood can be a trying period of life. Society expects us to have it together as an adult. Our children look up to us. As they age, our parents, too, may turn to us for help. Inside we often question our actions or outright judge ourselves. When a challenge happens, it can often lead to feelings of anxiety or depression. Sometimes these can become paralyzing or debilitating.
In young adulthood, people generally struggle with the path out of high school to independent living. The challenges are often whether to go to college, a trade school, or right into working. These choices are subject to tremendous societal pressure. Regardless of this first choice, we eventually need a paycheck to live independently, and a great career for personal fulfillment. Then comes the next set of choices.
Humans thrive in companionship. As independent living becomes a reality, many start thinking about committed relationships, marriage, and possibly children. For someone newly independent, the idea of someone else depending on you can be daunting. If you’re lucky, you might be able to figure that out before children come along. Now when children arrive, here is this extraordinary little person who needs you – all of the time. Dividing your time between work, your partner, your friends, your family, and your child (or children) can often end up with no time for you. No time for you often leads to frustration, acting out, anxiety or depression.
At this point in mid-life (age 35 to 55), people often start questioning what they have done with their lives and if this is really what they want. Marriages can go into distress. Couples spend more time caring for children and careers and often neglect to put energy into the relationship. This lack of energy can also cause suffering careers, and the same question may lead you to question your line of work. A traumatic career roadblock like a layoff can exacerbate the effect. This is also the time when adolescent children can be acting out in difficult and confusing ways. Add aging parents to care for, and it becomes a mixture of stress that is hard to navigate successfully.
Often we respond to situations with a limited set of skills we have learned along the way. When those work, we hardly notice and keep moving. When they don’t, we are sometimes left frustrated and at a loss of what to do next. Having a trusted advisor and a safe place to explore your options can help improve the situation and your confidence.
The first step is understanding what is happening in your life. This basic step is often overlooked or given too little time. It is important to understand the situation and your behavioral reaction to it that keeps you stuck in the problem. A key component to changing your behavior is understanding the meaning you are attributing to the situation and its elements. When you understand the effect of these stimuli and triggers you can begin to rewire your habitual reactions and chose to respond differently. Freedom comes in that space between the stimulus and your reaction. This first step of understanding what the stimuli are, how you interpret them, and how you connect your reaction is what creates the space.
The second step is exploring different responses to that stimuli and learning a new response. With a safe place and a guide, you can find a response that fits your values and desired outcomes. Through practice and feedback in a non-judgmental, supportive environment, you can develop the confidence to apply a new response and re-wire the habit that led to these undesired outcomes. You can take control of these responses and live the life you want to live.
The last step is transforming your life by consistently and confidently applying your new skills. It would be nice if it just worked the first time, but experience shows that most folks need help in this application phase. It can take several months to tweak these skills for their particular situations. They also need support and encouragement to work through the setbacks and refinement process. As your new choices become your new habits, you begin to develop a life worth celebrating!
Let’s get started today. Call 919-624-9561 or email us to set up a consultation to explore the possibilities.