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The Anxiety of Transitions


A woman places a hand on an open car window with a stressed expression. This could represent the stress of transitions an anxiety therapist in Madison, WI can address. Leran more about the support therapy in Madison, WI can offer today by searching for anxiety treatment in Madison, WI. 53703

When we think of transitions or transitionary periods in our life like going to college, graduating from school, or moving to a new place, we may think “I should feel excited” about the anticipated change. But sometimes, instead, we may feel anxious or scared.

Why is this?


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Most of us can agree or identify we are “creatures of habit.”


We like to go to the same restaurants and order the same dish. We like to hang out at the same spot with our same friend group. We relatively like to do the same activities on the weekends after a long work week. We like familiarity. Familiarity and predictability are comfortable. We know how to respond to these types of situations as they provide us with stability and certainty. Our brains translate the stability and certainty into feelings of safety. However, safety isn’t always what’s best for us. Some change is good. So why do we have so much trouble implementing change?


Transitions provoke uncertainty, anxiety, and unpredictability, explaining why even new

and exciting things don’t always feel exciting. The less we know about something, the harder it is to predict, leaving space for more to go wrong. We know how to respond to our familiar

situations, even if sometimes those situations aren’t actually good for us. This explains why we may stay in a situation or relationship for longer than we needed to and engage in self-

sabotaging behavior. We know exactly how a repetitive situation or behavior ends, and again, it’s safe because it’s familiar. Anything new can make all the “what if” statements come

flooding into our minds: “What if I didn’t choose the right college, I can’t make friends, and I

end up hating it? What if I can’t find a job after graduation? What if I don’t like the new city I’m moving to?” The “what if” dreads can make things harder for us to see all the good these situations may provide.


How to Cope with the Anxiety of Transitions


Ask Yourself “What Realistically is in My Control Right Now?”

Learning to manage and cope with anxiety means some level of acceptance that we will never be 100% certain about anything and we will never have 100% control over what happens to us. However, we do have the ability to choose how we respond to unexpected change. We also have to trust that we can make decisions for ourselves to move forward. Some things to keep in mind are that we don’t have to be alone during transitions and we don’t have to know what the right decision may be.


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Do Not Shame Your Past Self for What Your Future Self May Now Know

“Oh, if only I had known this then, I would have chosen differently.” A phrase everyone has

thought or said at least once in their life. When we do this, we are shaming a past version of

ourselves for not knowing the information we now have after the fact. Living in the past and blaming yourself for what did or didn’t happen does nothing for you to move forward now and make substantial changes.


Find Some Familiarity in Everyday Life

Embracing change doesn’t necessarily mean you have to only engage in all new things.

Sometimes, we need comfort and normalcy when everything else seems out of control. We can achieve some sense of normalcy in small ways such as watching a show we’ve seen before, going to the same places we’ve always loved, or doing an activity that always makes us smile.


Build a Good Support System and Don’t Forget to Rely on Them

There is no shame in leaning on people in your life you trust during big changes. This may mean your family, friends, or a trusted therapist. You may be the only one experiencing the specific change, but that doesn’t mean change won’t affect your personal relationships in some way. This is typically when we need them most.


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Begin Working with An Anxiety Therapist in Madison, WI

Navigating life transitions is much easier said than done. Our team is honored to offer support for folks navigating change across the state. We are happy to offer support from our Madison, WI-based practice. You can start your therapy journey by following these simple steps:

  1. Contact our team to schedule an appointment

  2. Get to know a therapist from our trained team

  3. Start experiencing new and exciting experiences

Other Services Offered with Golden Vibes Counseling

We know that you may experience more than one mental health concern you may need support in addressing. This is why we are happy to offer a number of services to support you including anxiety therapy, adolescent counseling, BIPOC therapy, child therapy, and clinical supervision. We are also happy to offer therapy for college students, couples therapy, depression treatment, terapia en español, gender-affirming care, grief therapy, and LGBTQ+ therapy. Other services offered include OCD treatment, poly-affirming therapy, psych assessments, reproductive health, stress management, trauma therapy, sexual abuse treatment, and therapy for athletes.


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