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  • Writer's pictureJasmine Wilson, LCSW

Why Life Transitions in Young Adulthood Cause So Much Anxiety

Updated: Feb 27

Life transitions are like unexpected plot twists in our personal stories. But why do they kick our anxiety into overdrive, especially when you're just starting out in the adulting game? In today’s blog, we’ll explore why these shifts can sometimes feel like an anxiety-fueled rollercoaster and provide some tips for navigating the anxiety.

A young woman looks out the window as she contemplates life. Therapy for Life Transitions in La Mirada, CA can help young adults understand examples of life transitions and how to navigate them. Available in La Mirada, CA.

Fear of the Unknown

Life transitions – whether positive, negative, expected, or unexpected – can alter our life direction and propel us into unfamiliar circumstances. As with anything new, young adults typically experience initial discomfort, fear, and worry as they adjust to the transition. The fear of the unknown, the fear of failure, and the fear of not measuring up are enough to make anyone feel anxious about the future.

The Fear of Not Knowing Can Cause Extreme Anxiety

When we stand on the edge of a life transition, peering into the abyss of uncertainty, fear tends to take over, making us question our abilities, decisions, and whether we're on the right path. For most, the not-knowing, the uncertainty, and the lack of a clear roadmap can send anxiety levels through the roof. It's like trying to navigate in the dark without a flashlight. Trust that fear is normal and an indication that you’re doing something significant; as cliché as it may sound, do it afraid!

A young woman looks in a mirror reflecting on the life transitions she is facing. Life Transitions Counseling for Young Adults can help navigate these changes. Therapy for Life Transitions is available in La Mirada, CA.

Social Comparisons and Societal Expectations

Thanks, social media, for giving us a front-row seat to everyone else's seemingly perfect lives. The comparison game is strong, especially in our young adult years. Seeing others hit milestones or seemingly have their lives together can make us feel like we're falling behind. The pressure to have it all figured out is real, but let's be honest, who really does at this age?

You’ve probably noticed that young adulthood comes with its own set of societal expectations. Finish school, land a dream job, find "the one," and voila – life sorted, right? Not quite. The pressure to meet these milestones can add an extra layer of anxiety while the clash between societal expectations and our authentic selves can create a storm of internal conflict. But here's the truth: Life doesn't always follow the script, and that's perfectly okay. In Therapy for Life Transitions in Brea, CA, you can learn how to navigate this internal conflict in a healthy way.

Shifts in Identity

Cue the influencers! No, not just the ones on Instagram. We're talking about the influencers in our lives—family, friends, society, and the ever-chatty inner critic. These voices play a significant role in shaping our identity. The challenge? Sifting through the noise to find our authentic selves amid all the expectations. As we navigate different roles—student, professional, friend, partner—we might find ourselves adapting to fit the mold, and in turn, fear we’re losing touch with our past selves.

Life Transitions Bring Major Life Questions

Additionally, young adulthood may be the first time you begin to ask yourself major life questions, like Who am I? What do I want in life? What are my passions and values? These questions, though exciting, can also trigger anxiety. The pressure to "figure it all out" can feel like staring at a blank canvas and being told to paint a masterpiece without knowing where to start.

Combine all these factors, and you've got yourself a pressure cooker ready to explode. Societal expectations, internal pressures, and the fast pace of young adulthood can turn even the smallest life transition into a source of stress and anxiety. Therapy for Life Transitions in Brea, CA can help mitigate and overcome those feelings.

A young man with headphones on walks down the street smiling  empowered by the many life transitions she is facing as a young adult, Life Transitions Counseling in La Mirada, CA can walk you through examples of life transitions and learn how to face them.

Tips for Navigating the Storm:

  1. Take it One Step at a Time: Life transitions can bring up new goals, change, and challenges. Break down big goals into smaller, manageable steps.

  2. Mindfulness and Grounding Techniques: When anxiety kicks in, ground yourself in the present moment. Deep breaths, mindfulness exercises, and focusing on the here and now can help calm the storm within.

  3. Define Your Circle of Control: Identify what you can control in the situation and what you can't. Focus your energy on the aspects you have influence over and try letting go of the rest.

  4. Build a Support System: Share your fears and uncertainties with someone you trust—a friend, family member, or even a mental health professional. Sometimes, voicing your concerns can lighten the load.

  5. Embrace the Learning Journey: Look at life transitions as opportunities for growth and learning. Each twist and turn is a chance to discover more about yourself and the world around you.

  6. Self-compassion is Key: Treat yourself like you would a friend going through a tough time. Be kind, understanding, and patient with yourself.

  7. Therapy for Life Transitions Can Help: Remember that support is available and a Life Transition Therapist can offer support and guidance on your journey.

A young adult couple walk together outside, smiling after successfully navigating a major life transition with the help of Therapy for Life Transitions in La Mirada, CA.

Learn to Manage Your Anxiety With the Help of a Life Transitions Therapist in Life Transitions Therapy in Brea, CA!

Understanding why life transitions and anxiety often go hand in hand is the first step in tackling it head-on. It's okay not to have everything figured out. Life is messy, unpredictable, and beautifully chaotic. Start the journey with a life transitions therapist at Adaptive Resolutions Counseling Services. Embrace the ups and the downs through Life Transitions Therapy in Brea, CA, and trust that everything will be okay. Follow the steps below to begin today:

Other Services Offered at Adaptive Resolutions Counseling Services in Brea, La Mirada, and Online Throughout CA + AZ

​In addition to Therapy for Life Transitions in Brea, CA, I offer a variety of services designed to meet you exactly where you are in your life. I offer Therapy for Anxiety and Self-Esteem, as well as Individual Therapy and Group Therapy options. Reach out today to learn more about my background, training, and approach to therapy.

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