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Thriving in the Transition to Adulthood

For most, the late teen years and twenties are a time of incredible change. Typically, you finish your schooling, look for and begin a job, move out of your family home, and maybe even relocate to a new town or city. While this may all seem exciting and full of opportunity, it also can carry with it a vast array of stressors and challenges. In fact, it is not uncommon for someone to experience his or her first bout with depression or anxiety during these transition years. The new responsibilities and potential for feeling alone and isolated in new surroundings can be disorienting and difficult to manage.

While this may be a hard time, you are not destined to struggle. By understanding that transitions can be inherently challenging, you may begin to embrace this period of flux and actually thrive in it. Here are a few ways to thrive during your transition to adulthood.

  1. Reconnect with family and friends. Many young adults are excited about detaching from their family and making it on their own. If this begins to feel lonely or scary, do not feel ashamed to reconnect with these people. Fostering existing relationships while you explore new ones can keep you tethered in a way that feels stabilizing.
  2. Give yourself permission to fail. We can learn a lot about ourselves when we try something and fail. If you avoid failure at all costs, you lose out on chances to take risks and challenge yourself to grow and change. Take calculated risks, and do not beat yourself up if you fall short.
  3. Revisit and revise your values, ethics, and morals. Emerging into adulthood means that you have some autonomy about how you live your life. If old morals or value systems that were impressed upon you as you grew up (or are simply embedded in cultural norms) do not serve you well, take this time to articulate and act on values that work for you. This may be scary, but it is also freeing.
  4. Resist comparing yourself to others. It is imperative that, during this time of self-exploration, you be very careful not to compare your worth or success to those around you. You will feel much more satisfied and stable if you learn to respect your own process of discovery, whether that is on the job front, in terms of being in an intimate relationship, or anything at all!
  5. Seek help from a professional. Never be afraid to talk to a therapist. At this stage in your life, a therapist can help you understand yourself better, communicate more effectively, deal with strained relationships, cope with stress, depression, and anxiety, and build a work/life balance that is satisfying.
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