Discovering the person you love most in the world wants to separate or divorce can be excruciatingly painful. When your world has been turned upside down, and as you try to make sense of things, it can cause the sanest person to act and behave in ways that are completely out of character. Here are six life hacks to help soothe heartache during divorce and ease the incessant chatter of the monkey-mind (that’s the Buddhist term for an unsettled or restless mind).
Tips on How to Soothe Heartache During Divorce
1. Set a Powerful Intention
You are not your divorce story or all those other terrible divorce stories that you’ve heard about. You are powerful and it’s entirely up to you to decide who you become during this time, even when other people aren’t playing fair or kindly.
The intention you set early on in your divorce process will help set the tone going forward. What do you stand for? How do you want to show up?
Kind? Compassionate? Non-judgemental or generous of spirit? I admit, these qualities aren’t generally associated with divorce. They are, however, the qualities that will help you heal and have a happier outcome.
Using these qualities doesn’t make you a pushover. You still have to set healthy boundaries, they will help you feel less like you’re on a runaway train with no control! When you set a clear intention it helps you refocus your energy and stop you from behaving in ways that may be detrimental to your future and well-being
Tip: Set an intention to help guide the way you communicate and show up during your divorce.
2. Start a Journal
It’s best to get your thoughts and feelings out of your head and on paper, otherwise, you can end up in a crazy 8 loop, asking the same questions over and over. “Why me? What did I do wrong?” This line of questioning will take you into a spiral of self-doubt, self-recrimination, confusion, and criticism.
The act of writing your thoughts on paper in a journal will help you offload and separate from them. This will give you an opportunity to break free of the noise of the monkey-mind and sit back and reflect. As we witness our thoughts and feelings, we begin to see our limiting beliefs and patterns of thinking. We can challenge our assumptions and start to control the areas we want to change.
Tip: See if there are any repetitive themes or beliefs. Select one and start to challenge your assumptions. As you write, ask new questions like: “What else could this mean? What can I learn from this? What can I do to shift my focus?”
3. You Don’t Have to Act on Every Feeling You Feel
Feelings, especially difficult and uncomfortable ones, tend to mount up and reach a crescendo point. Usually triggered by an external event, an unexpected email, miscommunication, or a disappointment, we end up lashing out, oftentimes making the situation worse for ourselves.
When we are emotionally triggered, the feeling we have at that particular moment is often linked to past experiences and past meanings. In the first three years of a child’s life, the Ego (identity) is formed, and this is the sense of self we have in relation to people and the world around us. The Ego is often called the “false self” as it holds within it all the misconceptions, false beliefs, and assumptions about ourselves that form our “wound.” This is often the internalized critic and the part of us that believes we are unworthy and unloveable.
Tip: The key is to step back and create space. Do this by slowing down and taking responsibility for your feelings. See if you can observe what you are feeling, experience the feelings in your body, and notice all the sensations. Understand that you don’t have to act on them. Underneath every emotion, there is a positive impulse for an unmet need to be met. What is underneath your emotion? What do you need?
4. Stop Cyberstalking Your Ex
Cyberstalking your ex-partner is one of the worst things you can do to yourself as you’re constantly giving your power away to circumstances outside of your control.
Breaking a relational bond is challenging. Humans are hard-wired to belong to a tribe. We form primary attachments for safety and would rather have a negative attachment to someone than none at all. The constant stalking gives us the feeling that we are still attached, even if it is a negative connection.
It’s time to put yourself first and focus on taking care of you. If you’re focusing your attention on your ex, it will take you longer to heal.
Tip: Either take yourself off social media or de-friend your previous partner on Facebook, Instagram or any other platforms. In the spirit of taking care of yourself, start to do things that show love and appreciation for the beautiful soul that you are.
5. Breathe and Get Some Exercise
You may want to sit on the couch and binge on Netflix, but exercising is an absolute must if you want to reclaim control of the way you’re feeling.
Stress has a big impact on your body and it’s vital at this time to get your body moving in order to elevate your serotonin and dopamine levels. When we’re stressed we go into “fight, flight, or freeze” mode, and our adrenals increase cortisol production which in turn increases our blood sugar levels. Cortisol suppresses our immune system and stimulates the digestive system, thus increasing gastric acid and causing nausea. That “sick to the stomach” feeling is very real and it’s partly due to the increase in cortisol levels.
Get out in the fresh air as much as possible. Being in nature can be very grounding and connects us to source energy. Feeling the sun and wind on your face will help bring you into the present moment. See if you can be mindful and connect with the beauty around you, the sounds of the birds, the trees, and the expansiveness of life rather than the limitation you might be experiencing in your day-to-day life.
Tip: To help soothe heartache during divorce, consider getting a buddy to exercise with. This person should hold you accountable when your inner sloth is running the show. Dance to your favorite music in your living room, power walk, go running, or do some yoga. Anything that gets your body moving and breathing differently.
6. It’s Not Personal
I know it feels very personal, especially if you’re the person who has been left. However, when someone behaves in ways that are unkind or trigger you to feel unloved, unworthy, or let down, then remember this: people’s behavior will tell you more about them, than you.
Your reaction to their behavior will reveal what you need to heal within yourself. If you can, do your best not to judge your ex’s actions. Be mindful of what you’re making things mean.
Tip: Recognize that only you can make the choice to be kind to yourself. Practice little acts of kindness and make sure each day you do something you love. It doesn’t have to be big or expensive, it can be a relaxing bath, meeting a friend for coffee, wearing your favorite dress, or doing something outside of your comfort zone.
Remember, you are powerful even if you don’t feel like it, and your power lies in your ability to make choices. To soothe heartache during divorce, remember that time isn’t the healer of broken hearts, choices are. Now is the time for you to focus on your well-being and your children if you have them.