Managing the Emotional Side of Moving

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Alex Reise / https://usmpo.org/

Last Updated: May 16, 2023 · 8 min read

Moving is often a stressful time. Whether it’s for work or family, a move to a new place can be emotionally draining.

There isn’t much that can make people grin and laugh one minute and mop up puddles of tears the next like moving house. Leaving friends, places and familiarity behind is a daunting thought for anyone.

Anxiety and Depression

Whether the move is to the next street or the other side of the world. Many people struggle with anxiety and depression during and after a relocation. This is because the change can be difficult. Especially if the old friends and social circle have not moved with you.

Anxiety and depression are different conditions, but they often co-exist. In fact, more than 60% of those with anxiety also suffer from symptoms of depression. Depression can make it harder to cope with the fear and uncertainty that often comes with an anxious condition. While anxiety can lead to depression if left untreated.

Fortunately, both conditions are treatable with the help of mental health professionals. Treatments include medication and psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy. These techniques teach patients to recognize and change negative thoughts. They also encourage physical activity, which causes the release of feel-good chemicals in the brain.

Grief

Grief is a natural reaction to any kind of loss. Whether it’s the death of a loved one, a relationship ending or even a move to a new house. Grief is associated with a variety of feelings like sadness and denial.

Although it’s normal to feel grief after a loss, it’s important to remember that everyone experiences it differently. Some people do not go through the five stages of grief identified by Kubler-Ross, and that’s okay. It’s also not uncommon for grieving to resurface around significant events, such as anniversaries and holidays.

When bereaved individuals have trouble making the transition from acute to integrated grief. They may experience psychiatric complications, including major depression. Recent research on complicated grief, however, has led to the development of a targeted intervention called complex grief treatment (CGT). This approach is effective at alleviating this specific type of prolonged suffering, and has a high rate of success compared to standard psychotherapies.

Loneliness

Loneliness associated with moving can be especially troublesome, particularly for older adults. This group is likely to have a hard time finding new connections, may experience medical or physical issues that make socializing challenging and/or expensive, and are more likely to be isolated due to distance and a lack of transportation.

Often, loneliness is caused by the feeling of not being understood or appreciated by others. These people feel misunderstood and unsupported and end up sabotaging promising relationships because they are afraid to take the risk of emotional vulnerability.

However, it is important to note that while being alone and lonely are closely related, the two can be explained in different ways. Solitude can be a positive, necessary, and healthy part of life that can lead to creativity, self realization and spiritual growth. On the other hand, loneliness is a feeling that can be present even when we are surrounded by other people.

Acknowledging and Validating Emotions

Regardless of the motivation behind your move, it’s important to acknowledge that emotions associated with moving are normal. If you’re feeling sad, irritable or anxious during the process, it’s likely due to the many changes associated with the move. It’s a big change to leave your familiar neighborhood, friends, family and job for a new location that’s far from the comforts of home.

A research study conducted by Landmann et al. (2017) found that the emotion of being moved can be triggered by a variety of different events, and that it is influenced by individuals’ level of emotional dysregulation. They also found that validation (expressing empathy for others’ feelings) leads to reduced negative emotions, while invalidation has the opposite effect. The researchers speculate that this is because validation can lead to the recognition of one’s own feelings as being valid. This is a positive emotional experience, which helps individuals to feel better about themselves and their transition.

Open Communication and Involvement

Moving can be a stressful time. It takes up your time and can cause you to put other parts of your life on hold such as putting off holiday plans or putting off work projects until after the move is complete.

It can also make it hard to say goodbye to friends as you pack up your home and head out of town. If you find yourself struggling with sadness, consider talking to a friend or getting help from a counselor. These feelings could be a sign that there is unresolved conflict or grief associated with your previous move that you haven’t addressed.

When it comes to being involved in the process, try writing out a schedule or checklist of what needs to be done. This will help you stay on track and feel more productive. You can also try practicing out your new route to places like the grocery store or work by visiting them with a friend to see how you will get there before you move.

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