Divorce is a time of tremendous change. It can feel so unsettling that many people will do whatever they can to help themselves feel more grounded, sometimes choosing methods that aren’t very healthy or in their best interests.
Some try to anchor themselves by jumping into a new relationship they aren’t emotionally ready for. Others seek random sexual relationships to momentarily distract them from their pain, and some avoid spending any time alone for fear they might disappear into an emotional black hole. Our identities are so closely tied to our relationships that when divorce absolves us of those familiar identities, we feel cut loose, untethered, and lost in space.
4 Tips for Finding Your Footing During Divorce
1. Know That You Are Exactly Where You Are Meant to Be
Knowing that you are exactly where you are meant to be requires a great deal of faith and trust. During this time of growth and change, it’s normal for you to feel unsteady. Out of tremendous pain comes amazing personal growth. Know that there is a larger plan for your life. This life event is not a coincidence but a lesson for your higher learning. All that happens is for your greater good. Be open. The answers will make themselves known.
2. Learn to Tolerate the Discomfort
Remind yourself that these difficult feelings won’t last forever. Learning to tolerate the discomfort of change involves becoming mindfully aware of and acknowledging your feelings as they come and go. When you feel gripped by emotional discomfort, attempt to locate the areas in your body where these feelings settle and breathe deeply into them. Repeat this mantra: breathe in peace and calm, breathe out anxiety, fear, and stress. Continue this breathing exercise while visualizing your feelings come and go, moving around you like the wind until they blow away. No feeling is permanent, and mindfully acknowledging them will alleviate discomfort and help them pass. Know that you will be okay.
3. Relax Into the Unknown
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, everything seems more manageable in small increments. Learning to live in the present is key. Change feels so difficult because you’re made to live in a state of uncertainty. To be able to tolerate uncertainty, you must learn how to let go. Letting go can be difficult for many people to do. When you try to hold on tight to something you can’t control, you are creating resistance, and in resistance lies all suffering. When you work to let go and relax into the unknown, you’ll learn to trust that you don’t have to fix everything right now, have all the answers, or understand everything. Breathe deeply into the uncomfortable feelings. Know that in the present moment all is well. Everything will unfold in time and make itself known.
4. Practice Gratitude to Shift Your Focus and Broaden Your Perspective
Spending time in nature, yoga, meditation, and gratitude are a few ways to pull yourself out of your intense inner experience and into a much larger view and perspective. In this larger perspective, there is peace and calm. Practicing gratitude is an incredibly valuable tool to help you refocus out of your discomfort and into your hidden blessings. In every difficult experience, hidden blessings can be found. It may feel a challenge to identify them at first, so I recommend starting with small blessings, such as being grateful for the comfortable chair you sit in, or the food you had for breakfast. Focus on your gratitude and thankfulness for these things.
Click here to try this great mindfulness tool to help relieve anxiety and troubling thoughts.
For many, the first year of divorce recovery is the most painful and unsettling. Although a full recovery can take from two to five years, there are many important milestones you reach in those first 12 months. If you practice these tips, you will benefit greatly and experience less discomfort as you go through this challenging time in your life.
Brave Hearts. Honor Your Courage. Honor Your Knowing.
Jamie Daniel, MS, LMFT went into the field of clinical counseling with a heart to help others going through the journey of divorce recovery.