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Life After Divorce

How to Add Some Happiness to Your Holidays

Forget the pasted on smiles. Here’s a practical way to add real happiness to your holidays.

Unlike Grandma’s fudge recipe, the first holidays post-split aren’t usually a recipe for happiness. More often than not, you’re trying to paste a smile on your face during the day and facing long nights of extreme sadness. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be like this.

A few years ago, Martin Seligman released his book Authentic Happiness, and in it he explained the Equation for Lasting Happiness. (An equation really appeals to my geeky side, but don’t worry if math isn’t your thing. I promise this is an easy equation to understand.)

The equation looks like this: H = S + C + V
H is Lasting Happiness
S is Inherited Happiness Set Point
C is Conditions of Living
V is Voluntary Actions or Daily Choices You Make

What this equation means is that to experience more lasting happiness, you can try to improve your inherited happiness set point, your conditions of living, and the daily choices you make.

Let's start with your inherited happiness set point, S. We all have one of these, and one set point isn't better than another. Your set point is just your set point. According to Seligman, adjusting S isn't so…

Read more: How to Add Some Happiness to Your Holidays

3 Essential Truths That Will Help You Find Life Balance, FINALLY!

Self-care is essential to life balance the way inhaling is essential to breathing.

I’m turning 50 in just a few days. Honestly, I’m excited about it. This has honestly been the best part of my life because I’ve finally found balance, and for me balance translates to happiness.

But finding it and learning how to hold on to it took me years to figure out. And, I wish it hadn’t. So, I’m going to tell you the 3 best life balancing truths I learned so that you can skip to the front of the line and enjoy more happiness, too.

1. Having balance doesn't mean balancing everything at once. 
For most of my life I thought, just like almost everyone else, that balance meant balancing everything I was doing and getting it all done as perfectly as possible. While I was a child living at home, this was pretty easy to do. I just had to balance school, play and chores. Aren't there times when you long for those days, too?

By the time I was a teenager, I had a part-time job and boyfriends to add to my very simple balancing act. As most teenagers idealistically do, I thought I had the whole life balance…

Read more: 3 Essential Truths That Will Help You Find Life Balance, FINALLY!

30 Awesome Ideas for Valentine’s Friend Dates

Tip #20: Visit a pet shelter for some serious snuggle time.

Whether you're single by choice or circumstance, Valentine's Day can seem more like Single's Awareness Day instead of a day celebrating love. Rather than dreading February 14, why not try something different? Celebrating with your girlfriends is a great alternative to sitting at home alone or feeling jealous about the flowers that co-worker received from her boyfriend.

So in the spirit of love, here are 30 ideas to spark your creativity for celebrating this Valentine's Day with your besties.

  1. Host a karaoke night.
  2. Have a Wii dance party. You might want to try Zumba, belly dancing, disco or stripper moves.
  3. Go out for manis and pedis.
  4. Treat each other to lunch. Yes, you'll each still have a bill, but somehow it's still fun to know you were treated to lunch!
  5. Send each other a gift at work.  Who doesn't love to receive flowers or chocolate for Valentine's Day and letting the whole office see?
  6. Send each other "what I love about you" notes. This is your chance to tell her how much you love her brilliance or kindness or sense of humor or…  And you'll get to hear the same from her!
  7. You've…

Read more: 30 Awesome Ideas for Valentine’s Friend Dates

Special Occasions Can Still Be Special After You’re Divorced

Child celebrating special occasions after divorce

One of my clients recently asked me if it was weird for her to want to be friends with her ex-husband’s sister. I asked her for a few more details about the relationship to see if I could figure out why she was asking this question. She started squirming in her chair as she gave me the details. It turns out she was feeling weird about wanting to remain friends with her former sister-in-law because she thought she wasn’t supposed to.

The first special occasion I attended with my husband’s family was weird for me because his ex-wife was there and each of his siblings referred to her as their sister-in-law. I had all these thoughts about them sending me a message that I wasn’t welcome.

My client and I had both bought into the common belief that once you divorce, you’re expected to divorce the entire family and might even declare them enemies.

What I’ve come to realize and teach is that the common belief is WRONG. Each relationship you have is unique. Each relationship can grow, wither, and transform. Each relationship can do this independently of the others if you’re both willing to let it.

What all this means is that family occasions…

Read more: Special Occasions Can Still Be Special After You’re Divorced

My Attorney and I Aren’t on the Same Page – What Now?

Work with a divorce attorney before you sign those papers.

This is a post by guest blogger Joy Ragan.

There is often a misconception that your attorney should be an extension of you. People believe the attorney is supposed to “speak on their behalf” and, therefore, should say or do exactly as the client directs. This is a dangerous way of thinking. Attorneys do speak for clients. Attorneys are their voice in the courtroom. However, attorneys are not puppets. If you and your attorney are not on the “same page” it probably means you have a good attorney.

Think of it this way, attorneys work in the system daily. Attorneys know the ways of the court system. They see thousands of cases and have a very different perspective from those who are going through a divorce. Attorneys are trained to deal with a case as a set of facts and to apply those facts to the law to gain the best possible result for the client. A person who is going through a divorce does not look at the situation in this way at all. It is actually a very unnatural way to view your circumstances. Especially in a divorce, there are many emotions. On some level, you want your attorney to “be on the…

Read more: My Attorney and I Aren’t on the Same Page – What Now?