Tough divorce recovery?
Take heed from Brad’s divorce saga: Turn off the news.
The gavel came down on my client Brad’s divorce 5 weeks ago. You know the drill. Mediation failed. Court – the only option. It wasn’t pretty: Screaming. Crying. Begging. Negotiating. Hearts breaking. Kids weeping. Blood on the walls and scorched earth. Everyone feels like they lost something. Anxiety everywhere.
To make matters worse, the kids were struggling miserably. Last week, Courtney, 6, asked: “When are you and Mommy going to stop fighting?” Brad utters his truth: “I don’t know, sweetheart.”
At the end of Brad’s custody week, a neighbor takes the kids to Mommy’s house. Relieved to be alone, wishing the world would go away, Brad flops on his couch, fumbles for the remote. It opens to the US Impeachment Trial of Donald Trump. His exhausted body watched and his temper rose. The drama trapped him, and the little energy he had to spare flew into an uncontrollable rage.
Brad might as well have extended his court trial. Participating in the negativity in the news today – whether it’s hot politics, Coronavirus, troops dying or natural disasters – is just as damaging to his mental health as his time in court watching his marriage of 20 years disintegrate before his eyes.
Sometimes you must simply step aside and let the aggressor fly right by.
In Martial arts, when you’re tired and need a moment to think, a wise move is to take a step to the side and let the aggressor blow by you. The same is true of watching the news today. Sidestep the media negativity for the sake of your own happiness and mental stability while you recover emotional fortitude after divorce.
Channel surf away from the frenzy of anger, hopelessness, and helplessness in the news. Period. No exceptions. Afraid you’ll miss something? You won’t. Hundreds more talking heads will dissect the same issues in the days ahead. You’ll miss nothing.
No matter what side you pick in the fight, the media wants to get you hooked on the drama. Talk about invasive! It comes right into your living room, sits directly across from you and makes you pay attention by shouting platitudes that whip you into outrage, hatred, bitterness, ugliness. Your anger is blocking your right to happy moments. We wouldn’t allow anyone else to do that!
We can’t blame the TV journalists. It’s their job. They feed on the public’s addiction to drama. They don’t care that you’re a wreck from your nasty divorce. At the end of the day, they take off their headsets and go home to feed the cat and order Grubhub, like the rest of us. Your fragile divorce-pressured mental health is of little concern to them.
Turn it off, now!
Then what? There may be a big hole in your life when the constant banter of news is gone.
- If you need action and crave violence, get into a streaming service like Netflix or Amazon Prime series. Your channeled anger goes into a fictional story, not real-life disasters with ambiguous, scary actual outcomes that could personally affect you. Violence in a fictional story stays on the outside. Violence in a happening-now news story stays on the inside of your brain.
- If you can get away from the tube, try walking outside, regardless of the weather. It quickly and efficiently distracts and relaxes your brain.
- Learn meditation. Sound too “woo woo”? It’s not. It can lower your blood pressure and relax your anxiety.
- Journaling. Dump your fears, anxiety and depression out of your brain and on to paper.
- Still need to know what’s going on in the news? Subscribe to a once a day summary email such as The New York Times Morning Briefing. Most of the big news outlets around the world have snippet updates. Check it out. You’ll get your news fix with just enough news to be informed but not enough to push your brain into high anxiety.
Divorce is brutal enough without a steady diet of angry, negative news. Essential divorce recovery tip: Turn off the news now, and instantly begin healing from your divorce anger, anxiety and depression.
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