Divorcing your spouse is a major life event that can leave you feeling a range of challenging emotions; from sad, exhausted and energy-depleted to angry, bitter and regretful. As we approach the holiday season, past memories of when your life was very different are easily stirred up. It can also be difficult to be faced with family members, friends and co-workers questioning your new single life at holiday gatherings.
It’s crucial to acknowledge that going through a divorce can be an unbelievably stressful time. And, to help guide you through this trying time it’s more important now than ever to be grateful for the good in your life. Here are three things you can do to appreciate what is good in your life and how to remember them when times are hard.
Recognizing the Good
Gratitude is not only great for your peace of mind. There is science that backs up claims that practicing thankfulness actually benefits your health. Clinical trials have shown that those who maintain a daily practice of gratitude typically have lower blood pressure, better immune systems and more peaceful sleep patterns. Studies have also indicated that the act of keeping a daily gratitude journal can act as a stress reducer and can decrease the effects of aging on one’s brain.
Take time out of each day to recognize the good parts of your life. Maybe it’s your weekly-anticipated nights out with friends, or your Saturday shopping trips, a job that you love or the volunteer work you do at the local hospital. Perhaps it’s the time you keep just for yourself every Sunday night, watching your favorite TV show, snuggling up with your dog while drinking a delicious glass of red wine.
Buy yourself a journal or notebook and make a point to write down the things in your life that you are grateful for. If you are feeling down, the number of things on your list may surprise you to see once. Make it a habit to do this each day and read over it when you need a reminder.
Refocusing on the Good
Give yourself permission to be sad, angry or upset when times are hard. But, once you have let yourself feel the emotions make it a point to re-center yourself and refocus on what you are grateful for. That way you are never sad or upset for too long. This is especially helpful for when you have to be professional or interact socially.
Spend time with your kids. If you are parents, your ex will always be a part of your life as they are your children’s parent, too. It’s important to acknowledge the good that came out of the relationship – your beautiful offspring!
Creating More Good
Once you have allowed yourself to feel the negative emotions and have come to a point where you can be grateful for the many good things in your life, it’s important to pay it forward so you can help others going through a potentially hard time in their lives. When you can come to a point where you realize that others might be worse off than you, you gain perspective.
For sure divorce is hard! However, as you have glimpses of the new possibilities or come out on the other side, it can be a new beginning–you can build your new life. Create more positivity in your life by doing more of the things that make you feel good and are beneficial for others. Remember that you wouldn’t be in the positive place you can be in today had you not found a way through and past your thorny relationship.
It’s incredibly easy to incorporate a gratitude practice into your everyday life. The benefits continue to be proven and have the power to drastically increase the quality of your life. When times are tough it might seem like the last thing you want to do is ignore the negative things that may be going on in your life. The power of gratitude is there to help ease the burden and allow you to move forward in life.
Divorce with Dignity helps our clients move forward in a positive way. We can help ease the burden of preparing and filing divorce papers. We can also provide recommendations to family therapists and mediators to ensure that our clients have the best resources possible to establish amicable co-parenting relationships.
By Staff Writer, Divorce with Dignity