When fall comes, there’s a chill in the air and leaves start changing colors. All those oranges, browns and yellows are a beautiful symbol of nature’s transition. Green leaves change colors then fall to the ground, making room for fresh leaves to come through in the spring. It’s natural, normal, all part of the circle of life. Take a breath of crisp fall air and remember that.

Many of us have a hard time with transitions and change. But change is natural. In fact, without change, our lives would be pretty boring! When a baby is born, there’s not much he can do for himself, but wait till a couple of years go by! Teenagers learn to drive, and suddenly they’re independent. An old, comfortable job makes way for a new, challenging job. A relationship doesn’t work out, or a marriage ends in divorce. We lose people we love. These are all examples of transition and change, and are normal parts of life.

What makes change bearable is our perspective. New parents might complain about all the sleepless nights and dirty diapers, but at the same time they feel grateful and blessed to have a healthy, thriving new baby in their lives. The parents of the teenager who’s driving can complain about fender benders and higher insurance but at the same time be happy to watch the young, independent person that they’ve raised. A new job might be stressful and scary, but at the same time it’s improving skills and advancing a career. And that relationship that seemed like everything (before it ended) might just be a stepping stone to something even better. Losing a loved one to death is very hard, but even there, we can look for the blessings. Maybe it’s freedom of a loved one from pain. Maybe it’s part of a higher purpose that the person left behind can’t fully understand.

Change can be scary, and it would be great if you could have some kind of warning so you could be brace yourself and be prepared, but usually, it just comes. A lot of times, people ask me if I can find out when something will happen, like when someone will die. The way I see it, people don’t have an expiration date. Only God knows when it’s time to go. There are things each of us are sent here to accomplish. But we also have the free will to make choices, and our choices affect the direction of our lives.

I don’t think it’s always helpful to know change is coming. Sometimes all that does is add to our stress because we can’t do anything about it AND it hasn’t happened yet, so we’re just worrying in advance. But when we know change is coming, or when change has already happened, there are things we can do to help ourselves and our loved ones cope better.

If you’re afraid of a change you think is coming, write about it. Write about what you’re afraid of, what you think will happen, how you think everything will go terribly wrong. Then turn it around and write about the positives. Look for the silver lining, the gift. Then let it go.

If you’re in the middle of change, that can be scary. You might have a lot of anxiety. Remember to breathe. Deep, slow breaths in and out. Maybe listen to a guided meditation or some quiet music. Look at something beautiful or just close your eyes. For that five minutes or ten minutes of quiet time, you can still your mind and help give yourself a break from the anxiety.

When you see those beautiful colors or big piles of fallen leaves, let them be a reminder to you that transitions are normal, natural. Some changes might be scary at first, but you can get through them. Just remember to breathe.

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