You’re meditating. You’re exercising. You’ve got a coach. Still, there’s a knot in your belly most of the time. What’s bringing you down?
Most likely, it’s your own brain working against you. Here’s the thing: Your brain can’t discern good news from bad. It takes it all in, chaff and grain together, and whatever you see, hear, touch, smell gets embedded in your head.
Normally, you can deal with all the stuff that comes in, no big deal. During divorce, however, all your senses are heightened. That was supposed to protect you in primal times. Today, however, there’s so much stimuli thrown at you that you can’t possibly sort it all out. So, in it all goes.
Because your brain in divorce recovery is working overtime, the bad news has a higher impact on you than it would “normally”. You’re already stressed to the max during divorce. Add the horrific news of late – shootings and deaths in wars we don’t understand – and voila! You’re a charter member of the divorce over-the-top high-anxiety club.
Let’s look at a visual of how bad news gets driven into your brain when you recoil over the horrific news of the day. Have you ever watched a clam wedge into itself into the sand and disappear into the muck? You can’t see him anymore, but he’s there, inside the sand, taking up space. It’s the same thing that happens each time you hear something frightful and gruesome on the “news”. Watch it here.
Think of that clam as the news of all the violence and shootings of late. Let’s say each jerk of his maneuvering is bad news, getting deeper into your brain.
The good news is: this is one stimuli that you can control. Simply, turn it off. I didn’t say “don’t listen”, because, like secondary smoke, you’ll still experience it. Hit “power off”.
This is divorce survival. It’s you becoming fully aware of what you need for your healing. Change the channel. No more clams hiding in your brain.
For me, I flip to music when I hear “Breaking news….” Am I uncaring? Possibly, but I can’t control the violence and I already ache from head to toe for the families of the victims. Instead, Give me Justin Timberlake's "Can’t Stop The Feeling".
Here’s the thing: Nasty Stuff Happens. It always has, and it always will. People disappoint. Marriages fail. Leaders lie. Merchants overcharge. Cars crash. Investments fall. Jobs disappear. Cancer kills.
I’m not being cynical, I’m being realistic. And, I’m saying we have a choice. We can wait for the atrocities to stop and torture our overworked brains on divorce, or we can rise above it, and feed our brains happy, not horrific thoughts, right now – right in the middle of the misery.
Here’s the (other) thing: Good Stuff Happens. People are kind. New relationships start. Leaders lead. Merchants say “No charge for that.” Cars become safer. Investments rise. Job appear. Cancer remises.
Life is a big soup bowl. We have to taste it all, but we don’t have to dwell on the ingredients we don’t like, especially during divorce.
With a prayer and a sigh, let’s quit obsessing over the tragedies. Stop talking about it. Instead, scour the landscape for loving acts of kindness. They’re out there, but no one mentions them. They may not make CNN News, but your brain and your new life will be a whole bunch better off for it.
Ditch the bad news. Turn off the TV.
Turn up the music. Dance. Even if you’re all by yourself in the kitchen.