How to Handle Life’s Transitions with Emotional Intelligence

Article contributed by Rosalie Chamberlain

The last quarter of 2021 provided me opportunities to see Social and Emotional Intelligence at work during a major life transition of moving from one state to another. We moved from Colorado to Oregon which encompassed a very fast-paced, short-term span. We had everything lined up and when we arrived, we quickly had to adjust to the fact that our belongings would take 3 more weeks to arrive. Services such as electricians, painters, contractors were all delayed for months. The reality was that these delays were happening virtually everywhere, and we were not immune to the same situations. The characteristics of Personal Agility, Stress Management, and Resilience served me well.

Three Emotional Intelligence Categories to Support Transitions

My Personal Agility lead the way allowing me to manage the changing situations and transitions with ease. Self-awareness allowed me to assess situations and choose appropriate responses rather than emotional reactions. I am a person who likes order and being in control of my situation.

My Stress Management was at full force 24-7 and I am grateful I was able to be aware of what I was feeling so that I could assess how to handle situations. It helped me know when to push back and let go.

Using Resilience was a wonderful way to help cope, despite setbacks and limited resources so that I could choose how to be flexible and adaptable.

Looking back, one of the most beneficial elements of exercising these characteristics gave me the opportunity to practice and increase my Social and Emotional Intelligence and empathy. Social and Emotional Intelligence is not static and can be increased and make for happy transitions.

Ways to Implement these Emotional Intelligence Categories

Personal Agility

Determine what changing situation/transition is currently in your personal life or work. What emotional reaction do you notice with respect to the situation? Do your thoughts define it as an opportunity or a problem? What feeling/emotion will help you approach the current circumstance with more ease?

Stress Management

Stress is a normal part of life. Determine how you define the stressful situation and question the thoughts and beliefs behind the story you are telling yourself. Several helpful tips are listed in my previous blog, Four Mindful Tips for Managing Stress.


One definition of resilience is “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.” Determine what you need to recover and return to a calmer state of being. If you need external resources to support you during the stress, seek them out. It may be you have internal resources such as mindfulness practices that will help. External resources may include individuals who can support you, including specialists who understand trauma and stress in challenging situations.

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