When’s the last time you heard someone say, “I feel stuck!”? It probably wasn’t that long ago. Heck, it might have even been you hearing yourself uttering or muttering these words.
When I went through my divorce and the process of rediscovering myself, I felt stuck. Everything in my life was changing, but I felt stuck. I had repetitive thoughts that got in my way. I had beliefs about being less than others and these beliefs often kept me from having, doing and being what I wanted. In short, my divorce derailed the life I was living and I was feeling overwhelmed by all the changes.
What I know now that I didn’t know back then is that all of my feelings of stuckness were just my personal dragons that I needed to slay before I could fully engage in my life again.
So just to be clear about what it feels like to be stuck these are some common things my clients say to describe being stuck:
- Stressed out
- Feeling misaligned with what’s going on
- Experiencing strong unpleasant emotions
- Needing to get more knowledge about something, but not sure what or how to do it
- Repetitively trying things that just don’t work
- Not able or willing to take the actions needed
(Of course there could also be a medical reason for experiencing these feelings of stuckness and those folks need to work with their healthcare provider too!)
Maybe these descriptions of stuckness seem familiar to you. Maybe you’ve seen your own fire-breathing dragons and are tired of being at their mercy. If that’s you, I’ll bet you’re wondering “How do I slay my dragons?”
And that, dear reader, is exactly the question I hoped you would ask.
It turns out that there’s been quite a bit of amazing research done over the past hundred years or so on the human body and discovering that we each have “multiple brains”. If we define a brain as a collection of a large number of ganglia along with sensory and motor neurons, neural cells with inter-neurons, support cells and components such as glial cells and astrocytes. In addition a brain has certain functional attributes such as perceiving, assimilating and processing information, memory and storage access, ability to mediate complex reflexes via an intrinsic nervous system and a storage warehouse of neurotransmitters. With this definition and capabilities, it turns out that we each have at least 3 brains (You can read more about multiple brains in Oka and Soosalu’s book mBraining: Using Your Multiple Brains to do Cool Stuff). Your 3 brains are located in your head, around your heart and in your gut. By understanding how to connect with each of your brains and in a particular order you can slay your known dragons.
Here’s how I suggest you go about slaying your dragons:
- Relax. The exact method here isn’t as important as that you just do it.
- Step into the logic of the issue to get really clear and specific about what the current situation is and what your desired situation is.
- Tune in with your heart. What is your heart telling you about the situation?
- What is your head/logic telling you about the information from your heart?
- Tune back in with your heart. What adjustments to the thoughts from your head need to be made?
- Tune into your gut. What does your gut say about this information?
- Ideally, at this point your gut has given you an indication of what actions need to be taken and given you the energy to take them. If not, then take the information from your gut and return to step 3.
As you can see from the steps above slaying your dragons is all about getting clear and energized about taking actions because you’ve been able to think about the situation (dragon) in a different way. I think Einstein said it best – “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
Solving the challenges and problems that come along with divorce requires you to think and act differently than you have been. Once you can see them from a different perspective, it usually becomes fairly clear about how you can slay your dragons. How do I know? Because I’ve done it myself.
Your Functional Divorce Assignment:
- Identify a dragon you’re ready to slay. I recommend starting small. What’s one small thing that’s keeping you stuck?
- Apply the process above. Allow yourself the time to experiment with this process. I think you’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll be able to get in touch with each of your brains and get moving in the right direction for you.
I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce and personal life coach 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 or schedule a confidential consultation with me.
© 2013 Karen Finn. All rights reserved under all copyright conventions.
Have you ever felt all tangled up on the inside and didn’t know which direction to turn?
Or maybe you’ve felt that you’re stuck in quicksand and it’s taking all your effort to just make it through each day?
Or worse, you’ve felt that you’re wearing a choke-chain of all your responsibilities and don’t really know who you are anymore?
Don’t worry. I’ve been there. In fact, everyone I know who has been through divorce has been there before too. Overwhelm can be hard to overcome and yet it’s a common part of divorce. Knowing how to get through it or stop it all together is a critical skill to develop. What I’m going to share with you today are some of the techniques I regularly use with myself, my family and my clients when things start to feel overwhelming.
1. Change your story.
When I was finding my way through the aftermath of my divorce, I used to tell myself really scary stories. They were stories of doom and I told them over and over again – like a broken recording. I was feeling overwhelmed and the stories I told myself made things worse. I didn’t see any way that I could ever stop the chaos I was living in. I felt like I was performing and not really living. I was really miserable!
But, things slowly changed when I started changing my internal story. Instead of envisioning a life of doom and destruction, my stories became more about experiencing sadness and then more about being tired of the sadness and imagining what changes I could make. And then, I started actually making changes – some really big changes. I started living again instead of feeling like a prisoner of circumstances.
It can be the same for you. Simply by changing the story you’re telling yourself, you can dramatically (even if it takes time like it did for me) change your life for the better and stop feeling overwhelmed.
2. Take care of you first.
For those of us who have a tendency to get burned out, when we feel stressed about out divorce it can be especially easy to forget about taking care of ourselves and just focus on what needs to be done for others instead. After all, they’re depending on us, right?
It’s easy for me to identify a new client who isn’t taking care of themselves because they have a difficult time answering questions like
- Are you getting enough sleep?
- Are you exercising?
- Are you eating nutritious meals?
in the affirmative. They’ll squirm a bit before answering or try to deflect the question with a joke or some explanation as to why they can’t sleep or exercise or eat well.
If you can’t honestly say you’re getting enough sleep, adequate exercise and eating well, you would probably benefit from taking better care of yourself. Taking care of yourself isn’t an afterthought – something you do after you take care of the rest of your responsibilities. Taking care of yourself is VITAL to you being able to take care of your responsibilities. Without your physical well-being, you won’t be able to take care of anyone or anything else, so, please, make sure you’re putting you first and treating yourself well.
3. See the lighter side and laugh.
Somehow, when things are really miserable and you’re just not sure how you’re going to deal with one more pressure, there comes a moment when you realize just how ridiculous everything is – all the pressure and stress suddenly become laughable. I’ve found the best thing to do when I reach that point is to laugh. I’m not talking about a simple tee-hee-hee or chuckle, I’m talking about a really deep from the gut laugh.
Laughter is a great cure for stress and overwhelm. It causes you to loosen some muscles and tighten others. It requires you to breathe differently and it gets some different hormones flowing through your body – the kinds that help you to feel better.
In working with my clients, I often incorporate really bad jokes to get some laughter going. Laughing always lightens the mood and allows my clients to see things from a slightly different angle and break the strangle hold overwhelm had on them.
With overwhelm and stress being such common elements of our daily lives – not to mention divorce, these 3 simple ideas can be a great springboard for you to prevent yourself from succumbing to burn out.
Your Functional Divorce Coaching Assignment:
The next time you’re feeling stressed out, pick one of the 3 suggestions above and try it out. After all what have you got to lose besides your stress? I know that if you consistently take the necessary steps to help you deal with the stress of your divorce, you’ll be better able to manage it.
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.
© 2013 Karen Finn. All rights reserved under all copyright conventions.