The Intelligent Divorce

And further unorthodox advice on relationships, marriage and parenting

Seven Ways to Thrive After Divorce

How to Enjoy Life After Divorce

Just went through a divorce? Well, the period after divorce can be challenging as well. Guest blogger, Joan Winberg has some great pointers to help you thrive after your divorce. She has a program to offer as well.

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After divorce is a very challenging and overwhelming time in a person’s life.

It’s an emotional roller coaster ride that no one wants to ride alone. It is also hard to adjust to being single again, as well as living “out of the habit” of being married, especially if you have been married for many, many years.

To move your life forward, it has to start by focusing on yourself. Use this precious opportunity to rediscover who you are. Think of this time in your life as an adventure to explore the real you.

Take a deep breath and let’s get started and say… Will the Real Me Please Stand Up!

1) Treasure Your Magnificence

Realizing you are born with “gold nuggets” is a hard concept for many people to believe about themselves. Think about how magnificent you really are! Over time, you might have forgotten your unique gifts and are only thinking of what you don’t like about yourself or your life. Set a new intention, starting today, to list all of your great qualities and read that list every day. Keep reading it until you believe it. Examples: beautiful smile, kindness, generosity, loving, caring, intelligent… keep going. Your list is endless, when you start focusing on your great qualities. Allow yourself to see the shining gold within. It’s already there!

2) Ten minutes a day can make a difference

During and after a divorce it is common to have the feeling of grieving, similar to that of the loss of someone. Many people feel the need to stay busy to keep their minds off of this stressful time. To be the best you can be for yourself and your children, it’s important to remember that you deserve to do something special for yourself every day, even if only for 10 minutes. It can be as simple as taking a walk or reading a book with your favorite cup of tea. Give yourself permission. The happier you are, the happier your family will be!

3) Learn to let go

Holding onto regrets and bitterness will only keep your life from moving forward. Is your inner voice working overtime with all the “what ifs” and “if onlys”? This is normal for a period of time, but ask yourself… are these thoughts serving me or helping me feel better? Will thinking about them over and over again change anything? To move your life forward, it is important to acknowledge your feelings and to learn from your past experiences to prepare yourself for the next exciting chapter of your life. Yes, there is life after divorce. Learn to let it go! Just, let it go!

A quote from Buddy Hackett, “I never hold a grudge because while I‘m being angry, the other person is out dancing.”

4) Lighten-up

Life after divorce usually means added responsibilities. If you are a single parent or are now the one responsible for the once shared to-do list, how do you handle it all without being totally stressed out? To start, learn to laugh more, especially at yourself. Learn to let things go and not take life so seriously. Lighten-up!

Learn to live in the present moment. Living in the present is where all the “good stuff” in life happens. Yesterday’s worries are gone forever and tomorrow’s to-do list can wait. Think of it this way, when one is missing this moment in time, one is missing out on one’s life.

So how do we live in the present?

If you are feeling stressed, immediately leave your thoughts in your head and take off your blinders. (Blinders similar to what a horse would wear, not allowing it to see from side to side). Start to look around you. I mean really look around you. Look closely at everything. Really focus. Use all your senses! For example, if you are with your children observe them. Cherish their smiles. Give them a hug. See the true beauty of who they are and appreciate them for being a part of your life. You will start to feel your stress subside and a feeling of peace sweep over you.

To be present, no matter where you are, use all your senses to pull yourself back into the moment. Take time to appreciate all the beauty that already exists around you. You only have to be present to see it!

5) What Makes You Truly Happy?

What really matters to you? What do you feel is your true purpose in life? If someone asked you that question, how would you answer them?

Why is it so important to be clear on what your life’s purpose is? Knowing your purpose, will give you a true sense of who you are and how you are supposed to make a difference in the world. It gives your life direction and helps you make clear and easy decisions concerning that direction. It’s your compass!

Without a purpose, can your life be compared to a piece of driftwood floating endlessly in whichever direction the tide decides to take it and ending up on any beach with no will of its’ own.

When you live your life based on your purpose you are living in integrity with yourself and are in alignment of who you really are in all aspects of your life - body, mind and spirit. Take this time to focus on what really matters to you. Feel the true passions that exist in your heart and write them down.

6) What Are Your Vibes Saying About You?

Are you familiar with the Law of Attraction? Maybe you have heard the expressions, “What you think about, you bring about” or “The more attention you give to something, the more attention it will give to you.” As mentioned, when going through a divorce, your emotions can be compared to a roller coaster ride. Use this time to become reconnected to your inner awareness of who you are.  Learn to be still to understand the emotions you are feeling. 

To get started, check in with yourself to recognize if your feelings are of low (negative) energy or of high (positive) energy.

A few examples of low energy that will keep you stuck are stress, fear, resentment, and a sense of lack (lack of time or money). Examples of high energy that will move your life forward are joy, abundance, happy, love and compassion.

If you are having feelings of low energy, how can you help yourself shift to feel more of the high energy?

One way to help yourself shift is to be thankful for what IS working in your life right now. By focusing on the positive, you will start to feel yourself shift to the higher energy instantly.

7) Be True To Yourself

During and even after a divorce, we are often filled with doubts. We question ourselves about what is right, what to do or how we feel. Should I or shouldn’t I?

It seems difficult to make a decision. Listen to your heart. What feels right? What doesn’t feel quite right? If a situation does not feel right, honor your resistance by pausing or waiting. Sometimes waiting is the best thing to do. By waiting you may have allowed the situation to unfold more easily without having to worry!

 If a decision feels right, usually that means you are heading in the right direction. When we listen to our hearts, we are in integrity with ourselves. When we are in integrity with ourselves, we learn to say NO more easily.

Has this ever happened to you? You are asked to be on a committee or to volunteer for something and you say “yes”, even though you know it will make your schedule even tighter or you really don’t want to?

How do you stop this from happening? Next time you are in this situation and you are ready to say yes … STOP! Take a breath or even take a step back (this action will prevent you from saying yes). Pause! Thank the person for thinking of you, but let them know you will have to check your calendar and get back to them. When you do have time to think about it, focus on how you are feeling. Are you excited to participate or do you feel some resistance?  If in a day or two you are still feeling doubtful, realize the timing may not be right. If you are feeling excited, say “yes” and have fun!

In summary:

Divorce is not easy or fun, but realizing you can and will make it through this time of your life is the first step.

To survive and thrive after divorce requires support and tools. It is a major transition in your life. Why do it alone?

Are any of the following concerns keeping you awake at night or distracting from your everyday routine?

- Will I always feel this lonely?

- I can't seem to get out of my own way. I feel stuck. I need help setting goals for my new life.

- I need to find a new career or go back to work, but what do I really want to do? I've lost my purpose in life!

- How do I deal with stress and the feeling of being overwhelmed as a single parent on a daily basis?

- Dating again? How do I get start? How do I attract the "love of my life" into my life?

If you have any of these concerns, don’t wait or rely on chance that your life will get back on track or that will you feel happy again after divorce. A good plan for action can make a big difference. And, it’s tough to do it alone.

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The National Association of Divorce for Women and Children and The Divorce Source Radio Network are co-sponsors of the online 5 week Survive and Thrive After Divorce Boot Camp, a must for all parents after divorce. For more information: For the women- www.SingleAgain-NowWhat.com and for the men- www.SingleAgain-ForMen.com

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Mark Banschick, M.D., is a psychiatrist and author of The Intelligent Divorce book series.

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