Getting divorced can be stressful even in the best of times.
Adding a pandemic to the mix can make it seem impossible.
Here are suggestions on how to get through a divorce in 2020 and during challenging times.
Stress is caused by fear, which is our hardwired response to the unknown. When we don’t know what is going to happen, or when difficult times are at hand, it is to be expected to experience some fear of the future. Depending on how we handle the fear determines whether we succeed or fail. Going through a divorce is stressful primarily because we don’t know what our lives will be like after it is over. We go from the known pain of a bad marriage to the unknown fear of the future.
Controlling Your Thoughts–One At A Time
Mankind has come up with numerous strategies for dealing with uncertainty, and my personal favorite is controlling my thoughts. We do have the ability to control what we think about. Researchers confirm that we only have one thought at a time, and we choose which thought to have. If we focus on the positive aspects of our lives, we can overcome the fear of the future. If we focus on negative aspects, we will be overcome by that fear.
The first step in controlling our thoughts is to separate our awareness from our thoughts. In other words, we have a consciousness that is separate from our thoughts. We are not our thoughts, but we can be overwhelmed by them. Simply observe your thoughts from second to second. By being an observer of your thoughts, you can avoid the emotional reaction that follows. We can catch ourselves thinking negatively by saying to ourselves, “I am having negative thoughts.” We can catch ourselves thinking positive thoughts by being aware that we are having positive thoughts.
Simply being aware of being separate from your thoughts will substantially reduce our irrational thinking. Sometimes our most delusional and devastating thinking will simply stop if we say to ourselves, “where did that thought come from?” One of the more interesting aspects of our psyche is that our thinking can spiral up or down, depending on whether we are having positive thoughts or negative thoughts.
Focus on What’s Known–Keep It Simple Sweetheart
It is also imperative that we focus on what we can do, versus obsessing on the unknown. This is a great time to review your life and decide what is working and what is not working to make your life more valuable. Are there any bad habits you want to change? Now is a great time to reevaluate who we are and what we are doing. It is a great time for starting that new hobby or getting some exercise. Perhaps you can do research on life after divorce online or join an online support group. There are endless possibilities awaiting you.
Just because we are at home doesn’t mean we can’t interact with our friends and colleagues. Zoom and Skype (and soon Facebook) have great computer conferencing abilities that are free or low cost. It is fun to catch up with family, friends, and colleagues on these conferences. You can network with your family and friends to show you care about each other, and perhaps to let everyone see you in your personal environment.
Be Aware of What You’re Absorbing Everyday–Keep It Positive
Just as it is important to focus on positive aspects of your life, it is also important to minimize how much negative information you absorb. The stress caused by bad news compromises our immune system just as much as any other stress. Getting divorced is stressful enough without hearing about death and economic destruction. Don’t watch the news more than you have to. Get plenty of sleep. Watch uplifting movies or play relaxing music. Get some exercise. Meditate or have some quiet time every day.
You can practice positive thinking at any time. When you go to sleep or wake up are both excellent times to practice. A favorite positive affirmation/thought of mine is “my life is getting better every day in every way!” Simply thinking that over and over will help, especially in uncertain times.