Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Healing After Divorce

Here is a top 10 list of ways to make the most of your new life. Let the healing begin! 

1) Feel It!
After my divorce, I was, let’s face it, a wreck. I didn’t want to do anything, see anyone or be anywhere. I just wanted to wallow. My emotional state was so off kilter that I actually began having allergic reactions to food that I once loved! It was a dark time for me, to say the least. Yet, the mind needs to feel these things if it is going to move on to the next stage. Looking back, I realize that all of these negative emotions, and I felt every one, were part of the process that helped me grow. Sometimes, we feel guilty about all the negative things we feel. Society tells us that we should never be unhappy. But that’s ridiculous. We need to feel all the emotions, good and bad, to be whole.


 2) Don’t Go Overboard!
You don’t want those feelings to consume you. You can get into trouble if you allow all of the negative emotions you are experiencing become the driving force in your life. Guilt, remorse, sadness, and anxiety- they all come with a sense of helplessness. The longer you spend just wallowing, the more that sense of helplessness will overcome you. You are not helpless. I wasn’t. It was the realization that I was in control of my own destiny that put me on track to the happiness I feel now.

3) Surround Yourself with Good People!
You can’t heal alone. That’s just not the way it works. You are going to need the help and support of others. Humans are social creatures. We rely on each other for help and support. That’s just the way our brains are built. Find positive people in your life. It can be family, friends, coworkers- whoever. Find the people in your life who do not make you feel ashamed for needing help, advice or just a shoulder to cry on. They can be invaluable. But make sure that the person you choose is a positive influence. We all know the people in our lives who can be counted on, and the ones who can’t. Don’t be so desperate for that help that you turn to someone who might make things worse. You need the positive forces, not the negative.

4) Talk It Out!
I’m going to say it- therapy didn’t work for me in this instance. It just wasn’t what I needed at the time. That isn’t to say that it can’t work for you. Professional counselors deal with issues of hurt and heartache every day. Many people find them valuable precisely because they are not people you have a personal bond with. You are paying them; they are trained professionals. That means that you have the opportunity to seek advice from someone with the tools and training to offer great help. And, you get the opportunity to share everything you’re thinking, and saying, without fear of being judged. Again, everyone needs the support of others in life. 

5) Do Your Homework!
Go on Amazon some afternoon, and look up self-help books. You may be surprised to find out how much is available. So many resources. Type in “getting over heartbreak” in Google. Enjoy all the reading you will have in front of you for the next week, or year depending on how ambitious you are. There are so many resources available to you if you look for them. Some will be helpful, some not so much. Some you will keep by your bed for the rest of your life, some you will get rid of immediately. What these resources can provide are twofold. First, they are filled with helpful tips and ideas that can help you tremendously. Often, these are ideas that you would not have thought of on your own, no matter how much time you had. The other thing they provide is perspective. You can’t search through these resources without realizing that plenty of people have been through this before, and plenty of them have come out the other side.

6) Work On Your Body!
Ask any professional, and they will tell you: there is a very clear connection between the body and the mind. A healthy body contributes greatly to a healthy mind. How do you get a healthy body? Well, start by eating healthy. Foods that are rich in nutrients and low in sugars and unhealthy fats work to ensure that your body is performing at maximum efficiency. It will help your mind to be clearer, stronger and faster. Hit the gym, or take a walk- do whatever kind of exercise that works for you. When we exercise, our bodies release a whole host of chemicals that improve mood. When I was ready to begin my journey back, I started going to the gym with a coworker. I can’t overstate how important it was to getting back on a better track. The added benefit is that you will start to look better. Coming off of heartbreak, it is easy to start really doubting yourself. There is nothing better for that than being able to look in the mirror and see all the results of your hard work.

7) Work On Your Mind!
As I mentioned before, therapy was not the way for me to go. However, I am not sorry that I went. It was part of my journey to recovery. Thomas Edison once said that he never failed, he just found 10,000 ways that didn’t work. That is a critical mindset for anyone. Learning that therapy didn’t work, helped me continue on my search for what did. Finally, what I discovered was Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). This is a method of using a form of self-administered acupressure to relieve anxiety or depression. You can read more about it in my book, as well as check it out for yourself, I cannot tell you how much of a lifesaver it was for me. The point, though, isn’t to sell you on EFT, it’s to get you to understand that the mind needs to be exercised just like the body. Try everything and anything that seems as though it will help put you in a stronger mindset. Take a class, try meditation, do whatever you can find, until you find that technique that works best for you. Just like Thomas Edison, it can take trying plenty of things that don’t work to reach the thing that does. But, when you find it, you will not regret a moment of the time you spent.

8) Try New Things!
Part of the negative feelings that come from heartache, is the sense that you are losing a part of your life. If you were like me, you dedicated a good deal of yourself to the relationship that you were in. Now that it has ended, you have no idea what to do with that part of yourself. But, you need to reevaluate that mindset. Stop thinking of it as an ending, think of it as a beginning. This is your opportunity to take all that energy and reapply it to something else, possibly something better. Take this time to discover parts of yourself you have never explored before. Take a class, try something you’ve always been curious about. Learn a skill. There are any number of ways to fill that part of you that you fear will never be filled again. This will give you the chance to become the best you that you can be. It also gives you the chance to meet new people who share common interests. You are starting a new chapter in your life, rather than dwell on the negative, start it in a positive way.

9) Learn from Your Mistakes!
Chances are, you’ve spent some quality time cataloguing your mistakes when it comes to your previous relationship. Were you too closed off? Were you too needy? Did you fail to communicate enough? Did you say everything that came to mind? You have a whole list of “coulda, woulda, shouda’s” somewhere in the back of your mind that keep turning over and over again. As much as we hate regret, it serves an extremely useful purpose. It provides us with the opportunity to grow and change. Instead of seeing all those things you feel you could have done better as negatives, make decisions, concrete decisions, on how you can work to improve how you function in a relationship. That way, when you enter into your next one, and I promise you will, maybe you won’t make all of the same mistakes. Life is a learning experience, no one gets it 100% right 100% of the time- and think about how dull it would be if they did. What matters is not whether you make mistakes, but what you do once you have.

10) Get Back Out There!
I’m not suggesting you do it right away. You need time to heal and grow before you put yourself back in the scene. However, the last thing you want to do is give up on the possibility of love. There is a world of possibility out there, when you are ready for it. By the way, when I say ready, I don’t mean 100% ready, because no one ever is 100% ready. Only you can know that threshold you need to cross before you can consider trying things out again. However, when you get there, you will find that there is no better cure for a broken heart than the feeling that comes with mending it again. You will encounter bumps along the way. For a detailed catalogue of just how many bumps you may find and ways to deal with them, check out my book, “Outsmart Your Broken Heart. Dating Online and Offline: A New Beginning.” http://amzn.to/1V8F09k
I can promise you, there is no such thing as smooth sailing. However, when the time comes to get out there, you will find the sea is sweet indeed.

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