YES! Being kind will help you heal and find happiness again.
Are you stressed out? Depressed? Does your self-esteem suck? Are you pissed beyond words at your ex? Do you have little to no patience with anyone else? Do you frequently have mood swings that make you wonder just who you are? Or do you simply wonder if you can ever be normal and happy again?
If you're still reading this, then you're either having a difficult time dealing with your divorce or you know someone who is. And don't worry, you're not alone.
Most people coping with divorce experience a wide range of emotions and thoughts they've never had before. It's easy to get caught up in the chaos of it all.
Divorce is difficult. But there is hope!
Research suggests that kindness may just be the best way to get through your divorce and feel greater happiness.
It doesn't matter whether you witness compassion, you receive kindness or you act kindly, the health benefits of benevolence are tremendous.
When you witness compassion your find a renewed faith in human nature, you experience an increased connection to others and chances are you'll be kinder too. (Psychology Today)
When you receive the thoughtfulness from others, you feel connected and cared. These sensations decrease stress. But did you know that along with the kindness you also receive a significant improvement in the functioning of your immune system and a hit of serotonin (a neurochemical which helps alleviate depression)? (Read more at Underground Health Reporter)
And when you're the kindhearted individual, the benefits are even greater. First, you get the immune system and serotonin boost that the recipient gets. (These help combat the depression, sucky self-esteem and mood swings that go along with divorce.) And, according to Christine Carter, Ph.D., in her Psychology Today article, you also experience fewer aches and pains and extend your life.
This is fascinating research! But, when you're coping with the end of your marriage the first thing on your mind isn't looking for volunteer opportunities.
Compassion is critical to you combating the most common discomforts of divorce. So it's important to amplify the compassion in your life.
Here are 5 ideas to easily and nearly effortlessly bring more kindness into your world:
- Be compassionate to you. Yes, it totally counts if you're kind to yourself! Recognize that working through your divorce will take time and practice patience with yourself. Do something every day to nurture you - rub your feet when you take off your shoes (more simple DIY massage tips), stay hydrated, take a walk outside, or even give yourself a hug.
- Be kind to those who are standing by your side. No matter how it might feel, you've got others who are there for you. Maybe it's your kids, pets, friends, family or even your friends' pets.
- Ask for the help you need. Be specific about what you ask for so you'll more easily inspire kindness in others and have a better chance of receiving exactly what you need.
- Be on the lookout for compassion in action. You'll be surprised at how often you'll catch someone smiling at a stranger, giving a friend a hug, or even petting their dog.
- Choose to cultivate feelings of kindness in yourself. According to researchers at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, you can build your compassion like you would build a muscle. Try using this 30-minute meditation from the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds to build yours.
There is a caveat to all this. If you're not feeling kind, don't force it! Forcing kindness will only serve to make you resentful and further diminish your self-esteem which is exactly what you don't need.
But as you feel inspired, be kind! After all, even if you're only being compassionate to yourself, you're increasing the kindness in your world which is what's important to helping you cope with divorce.
I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce coach and advisor helping people just like you who are dealing with the stress and pain of divorce. You can join my newsletter list for free weekly advice. And if you’re interested in taking the first step toward working with me, you can schedule an introductory private coaching session.