Divorce is by far one of the most stressful and unsettling events that can occur in a person’s life. It shakes the once-solid foundation of the marriage—and the family.
It disrupts lives, changes routines, and often makes people feel like they are in an emotional spin cycle.
Although it may feel impossible at first, learning how to manage that emotional fray is one of the first steps toward healing your heart and finding peace. The key? Remembering that it’s a process—and one that takes time. Sometimes sadness or anger will get the better of you, and that’s ok. What matters most is that you do your best to keep moving forward from wherever you are. These steps can help:
Being able to compartmentalize your life is an invaluable skill and it’s one that can be learned. Often, when going through a divorce, a person spends an enormous time thinking about all the different aspects of the split. Hours, even days, can be lost. Not only is this behavior detrimental to the recovery process, it rarely provides the mental break and space needed to make clear, rational decisions. Instead, try to place limits on the amount of time you dedicate to divorce thought. In fact, you can even schedule it into your day. For instance, say you’re at work and find your mind wandering. Tell yourself you’ll come back to the issue for 30 minutes at lunch. It may seem awkward in the beginning, but actually this exercise is a way of reclaiming control. When it’s “divorce time,” have at it—go all the places you want to go. But when time’s up, it’s up.
Learn how to identify your thoughts and emotions. Ask yourself, what are the feelings and thoughts that I am currently experiencing? Where am I in this process? Are my feelings relevant? What purpose do they serve? What is the true meaning behind what I am experiencing? Often times, what we feel is something deeper than what it appears to be. By taking the time to check ourselves – where we are, where we want to be – helps keep us centered and present.
This technique helps you learn to recognize and accept your feelings without passing judgment on them. You recognize a thought or emotion, but don’t try to analyze it to the bone. Instead, you acknowledge it and then let it go. It can be a very powerful way to alleviate the pain of negative feelings. To learn how to do it, visit here.
If you go in thinking that your divorce should be a certain way or that you’re wrong for feeling the way you do, you’ll set yourself up for a vicious cycle of guilt, self-doubt, and low self-confidence. There is no right or wrong way to feel during a divorce. Expect that there will be days that will simply blindside you. You really will sometimes make two steps forward, only to take three back. When this happens, tell yourself that it’s ok and all part of the process. This simple reminder is can give you just enough space so you have room to accept your feelings and move on from there.
Focus on the big picture.
In the moment, it might feel good to be lost in your emotions. And there is a benefit to being truly present for them. However, part of the journey through divorce is also setting new long-term goals—and practicing visualization is a good way to do it. Here’s what to think about: What do you want your future to look like? How will you know when you have arrived? What steps (big and small) might you take to get there? By picturing a future filled with happiness, you’re actually doing something to help create it. You’re giving yourself permission and motivation to work toward something new and fresh. You’ll get there soon enough.
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