And it's fun to learn too!
Healing after divorce is really challenging because the end of your marriage itself is so traumatic. Your life gets ripped apart all at once and again and again as you struggle to find a new equilibrium, a new way of living – on your own.
It’s kinda like divorce is this huge, catastrophic earthquake. And then it’s followed by all these aftershocks of varying intensities (e.g., a nasty gram from your ex, selling your home, paying child support instead of living with your children every day) until you are able to complete your healing and move on from the end of your marriage.
You might believe that your divorce recovery is subject to the whims of others like your ex, your attorney, the judge, or even your kids. And you’d be right, but only partially and only slightly.
The biggest determining factor in your healing after divorce is your peaceful core.
A peaceful core is that place you can go to on the inside where you feel calm and powerful. Nothing can shake you when you’re at this place of peace. You can often discover new ideas to help you on your healing journey when you regularly spend time with your inner calm.
In his book The Power of Positive Thinking, Norman Vincent Peale writes “A peaceful mind generates power.” And I completely agree with him. It’s only when you remove yourself from the distractions of all the aftershocks of your divorce that you’ll find the powerful thoughts that will help you speed your healing after divorce.
Worried that you aren’t sure how to reach your peaceful core or if you even have one? Here’s a great exercise I learned from John Addison of Success Magazine that will help you get in touch with your inner calm:
Close your eyes and picture a moment when you were at complete peace. It could be a time when you were 5 years old or just last week. The when doesn’t matter. What does matter is the experience and how vividly you can remember it.
Now, I’ll bet that if you really let yourself fully relive just that moment of complete peace you’ve got a smile on your face. This place of pure contented peace is your peaceful core.
Since you now know what your peaceful core is, you can purposefully build it. By doing so, you’ll find it to be the bedrock of strength you can call on to help you recover from your divorce and move on with your life no matter what challenges you face along the way.
You’re probably wondering “How do I build my inner bedrock of strength?” You do it by creating more experiences of complete peace.
Here are 5 tips to help you have more peaceful experiences:
- Regularly spend time enjoying a hobby that’s calming and rejuvenating. Some hobbies are stressful or frustrating. If you have hobbies like this that you enjoy, that’s great because you stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone. Participating in hobbies like this usually lead to improved your self-confidence when you become proficient at them.
But they’re different than the hobbies I’m talking about. The recreational activities I’m talking about are the ones you can lose yourself in and feel completely at peace doing. Gardening, dancing, stamp collecting and writing are examples of hobbies that I’ve heard some people say they can lose themselves in. (Dancing and gardening both work for me.)
- Enjoy nature. Spending time outside listening to the birds sing, watching the clouds move leisurely across the sky, or feeling the grass beneath your feet are all ways to disconnect form the hectic pace of divorce and slow things down.
Nature has a way of healing bodies, minds and souls that most of us don’t take advantage of often enough. Who knows, you next experience of calm could be waiting for you right now just outside your front door.
- Meditate or pray. These practices are all about creating peace and have been advocated as doing so for thousands of years. (If you don’t believe me, there’s plenty of current research you can take a peek at.)
If you need some suggestions for how to get started with meditation check out YouTube or listen to this 2-minute guided meditation I’ve put together.
- Listen to a particular song or type of music. Music can completely transport you. I’ll listen to music to help me express emotions or just to relax. (I love to listen to Mozart when I want to happily relax.)
What music can you completely lose yourself in? Listen to more of it to build your peaceful core.
- Develop an attitude conducive to peace – genuine happiness, gratitude and perspective. It’s really hard to be peaceful if you’re consistently feeling attached or miserable. However, if you can shift your perspectives to ones of happiness, gratitude and thoughtful responsiveness instead of reactivity you’ll discover that peace comes more naturally to you.
Yes, I know I might be starting a bit of a chicken-or-egg discussion here, but does it really matter? I don’t think so. The goal is to increase your experiences of peace. So do what you can whenever you can to shift your attitude toward peace. (Once I got past the chicken-or-egg nature of this suggestion, I was able to create a whole lot more calm in my life by shifting my attitude.)
Just because you develop the skill of experiencing your peaceful core doesn’t mean that you’ll never lose touch with it again as you continue your healing after divorce. What it does mean is that the inevitable aftershocks won’t throw your equilibrium off as must. You’ll find it easier to deal with and move forward from whatever challenges you face. And before you know it you’ll be living a new life as a confident, calm recently re-singled person instead of a frazzled recently divorced one.
I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce and personal life 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 ready, you can take the first step toward working with me as your personal coach by scheduling a private consultation.