Not doing this one thing will change EVERYTHING!
Your logical mind knows the fact that thousands of people survive divorce every year. However, the rest of you isn’t so sure you’ll be one of them.
You’re facing too many changes, too many losses. You’re not sure if you have the strength to continue on. You’re hardly sleeping or eating and you’re afraid you’re becoming severely depressed since you’re crying all the time.
Despite what you’re currently experiencing, there is hope. And that’s what you need to amplify. But it’s hard to do that when you’re swamped with negativity. So before you can accentuate the positive, you need to decrease the depression, panic, fear, anxiety, and worry.
It sounds like a lot, but you can address all of them if you do just one thing: stop worrying.
This probably sounds both simplistic and impossible. But, it turns out that worry is at the root of all the rest of it. According to Psychology Solution, here’s how it works:
WORRY leads to ANXIETY which leads to FEAR which leads to PANIC which leads to DEPRESSION
So if you stop worrying, then you can stop the chain reaction which leads toward depression.
The first step to stop worrying is understanding what worry is so you can recognize it when it happens. You worry when you’re facing an unknown or poorly defined threat that you’re trying to defend against.
These amorphous threats are usually the product of your imagination and are most easily recognized when you catch yourself caught up in a negative “what if”. What if I don’t get a favorable settlement? What if I’m alone for the rest of my life?
The problem with these negative “what if’s” is that you can’t solve them now. And when you have a problem you can’t solve you feel helpless or overwhelmed.
So when you catch yourself getting caught up in a negative “what if”, feeling helpless or overwhelmed, you know you’re dealing with worry.
Once you’ve caught yourself worrying, you can take one or more of these action steps to feel more in control and more calm.
- Gather more information about the situation. When you don’t have enough information or understanding about what’s going on it is way too easy to slip into worry. But when you’re sufficiently knowledgeable about what to reasonably expect, it’s amazing how quickly your worry will evaporate.
- Organize the information you have. Sometimes you have too much data to make sense of all at once. Your best bet in this situation is to organize what you know. By organizing it (even just a little bit) you’ll be able to formulate questions that you can find the answers to and that will help you to start shedding your feelings of overwhelm.
- Verify the information you have. It’s common to find conflicting information when you’re dealing with all the intricacies of divorce. When you do find information that doesn’t make sense, ask questions and do some research. The simple act of getting into action with determination and direction will eliminate helplessness.
- Imagine a brighter future. Humans naturally have a tendency to imagine the worst, but a tendency doesn’t mean that you have to continue doing it. When you notice that you’re succumbing to your imagination’s thoughts of horrible outcomes, start playing a game of coming up with 5 positive possibilities to counteract each negative one. (Just so you know, 5 isn’t an arbitrary number. There’s research in all kinds of situations showing that it takes 5 positives to cancel 1 negative.)
Trying something new – especially something that will require effort on top of everything that’s going on with your divorce – isn’t the easiest thing. But it’s only by taking positive action as you’re able that you’ll heal from your divorce.
So make the effort to choose some of the change you’re facing and choose to experience one specific loss – being overwhelmed and paralyzed by worry. And the best part is that when you’re free from worry not only will you heal from your divorce, but the rest of your life will be better too.
I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce and personal life coach helping people just like you who are struggling with divorce and don’t know how to stop the pain so they can move forward with their lives. You can join my anonymous 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.
Looking for more support and ideas for healing from divorce? You’ll find what you’re looking for in Dealing With Grief.
This article originally appeared on DivorceForce.