Top 10 Ideas for Divorce Healing
Ask 20 divorced people about what helped them find their resiliency and healing after a divorce, and you’ll probably get 25 answers.
Over the 15 years that I have helped clients reach a financial and practical agreement, I have also helped many clients through the emotional white waters of divorce.
Getting a Grip on Divorce
Divorce is such a drastic change that my clients often are overwhelmed with the work, emotions, and challenges it brings. I have created my own Top Ten list of the most useful tips for navigating these obstacles. The process outlined below has helped many people get grounded, regain their balance, and begin healing, both during and after divorce.
Work Through the Issues
To start with, give yourself permission to heal. This may mean being willing to set aside anger or bitterness. It could mean letting yourself start to believe that happiness can be yours again.
Gather a Few Simple Materials
Start with some paper and a pen or pencil. Consider getting a separate notebook, as plain or fancy as you like, to gather and keep your thoughts together. This is your private journal, a way to focus on the healing opportunity that the tip is offering. Even a small shift of focus is very useful.
Set Aside 5 Minutes Each Day for Writing
It’s not a lot to ask of yourself, because you are definitely worth spending time on. And it doesn’t have to be the same time every day. Add this activity on your to-do list. Or write a reminder each day on your calendar on the time you select to do this.
Some ideas for possible times and places you can find to be alone:
- Before you get out of bed in the morning.
- When you drink your first cup of coffee in the morning.
- During a coffee break at work.
- During your lunch break.
- Right after the kids go to bed.
- When you climb into bed at night.
Daily Journal Entries
On the first day during the 5-minute period you set aside, choose and read any one of the tips below. Write about how you relate to that tip. What are your thoughts? Anything that comes up is fine, even if what you write about is you don’t know what to write about. Be honest with yourself. Don’t censor or edit; just keep the pen or pencil moving. If you have time and want to keep writing after the 5 minutes is up, by all means, keep going.
For the next nine days, work your way through the rest of the list, writing about each one.
After 10 days, start over and write about the first tip again.
After another 10 days, start over again with the first tip.
In one month, you will have a very useful guidebook about which of these tips you are willing to incorporate into your healing.
Top 10 Things to Do During Divorce
- Take care of yourself physically. Find a way to release stress, move your body, and clear out your mind. Yoga, exercise, and meditation are great tools.
- “Fair” is a matter of perspective. What seems fair to you may not seem fair to your spouse or your children. Fair is a moving target.
- Wishing things or people were not the way they are is a tremendous waste of time and energy. Instead, focus on changing what you can change.
- For things to change, first you must change. That means doing something differently, especially if cling to what you believe is the only way for things to get resolved.
- Your life and your divorce are different from your neighbor’s, your friend’s, and your brother’s life and divorce. What worked for them may or may not work for you. The decisions you are making are not subject to a “vote” from other people. Take their well-meaning advice as information only.
- When you forgive someone else, you are helping yourself more than you are helping him or her. Harboring resentments is like taking poison and hoping it will cause someone else to die.
- Accept and work through your feelings. Your emotions are your body’s way of moving energy. The more you push emotions away, the more powerful and overwhelming they become. Acceptance does not mean you agree with what happened, it just means you stop the struggle with your feelings.
- The only thing we can really count on is change. When things are the way we want them, be grateful, because they are going to change. When things are not the way you want them, be grateful that they will also change.
- Treat yourself kindly and accept kindness from others. Allow others to do for you what you would do for them if they needed it.
- The right thing to do is the right thing to do, regardless of how hard it seems or how anyone else is acting.
Give Yourself the Gifts of Healing
You will be amazed how much better you will feel after only 30 days of focused and honest journaling, and only 5 minutes a day at that. You may find yourself more able to:
- Clarify your thoughts and feelings. Do you ever seem all jumbled up inside, unsure of what you want or feel? Taking a few minutes to jot down your thoughts and emotions (no editing!) will quickly get you in touch with your internal world.
- Know yourself better. By writing routinely you will get to know what makes you feel happy and confident. You will also become clear about situations and people who are toxic for you — important information for your emotional well-being.
- Reduce stress. Writing about anger, sadness and other painful emotions helps to release the intensity of these feelings. By doing so you will feel calmer and better able to stay in the present.
- Solve problems more effectively. Typically we problem solve from a left-brained, analytical perspective. But sometimes the answer can only be found by engaging right-brained creativity and intuition. Writing unlocks these other capabilities, and affords the opportunity for unexpected solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems.
- Resolve disagreements with others. Writing about misunderstandings rather than stewing over them will help you to understand another’s point of view. And you just may come up with a sensible resolution to the conflict.
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