No matter which spouse initiated the divorce, both are likely to experience negative feelings during and after the divorce process. However, although couples experience reduced life satisfaction leading up to the divorce, it is possible to regain some of that lost happiness following the separation, suggests "Time Does Not Heal All Wounds A Longitudinal Study of Reaction and Adaptation to Divorce," published in "Psychological Science." The 18-year study followed more than 30,000 Germans as they reacted and adjusted to divorce. With this information in mind, and a few strategies, you can recover from your separation.
A divorce could leave you with a negative self-image, but it’s important to keep your self-esteem high. Compile a list of your best traits and review that list daily, suggests Joan Winberg, a guest blogger for Mark Banschick's Psychology Today article, "Seven Ways to Thrive After Divorce." Include your open-mindedness, cooking skills or even your posture. In addition to this list, find a purpose in life, suggests Winberg. Take time to assess what's important to you and pursue it. For example, you might find yourself volunteering at a homeless shelter. The goal is to learn to focus more on yourself, rather than on your spouse or the negative self-image the divorce stimulates.
Along with heavy emotions, a divorce can also leave you with an abundance of responsibilities. Perhaps now you must now take care of the kids and pets by yourself or earn enough to cover the bills. Control this stress by engaging the present, rather than spending too much time worrying about the future, suggests Winberg. Use your senses to focus on what's going on in the present and appreciate the good around you. For example, take a moment to enjoy the smells of your kitchen, rather than worrying about whether dinner will be on the table in time.
Whether you initiated the divorce or your spouse filed, you might have gripes concerning his behavior before, during and after the divorce. Perhaps he cheated on you repeatedly before the divorce. Perhaps he is guilty of actions that you could tell your attorney about and seek legal revenge, says Therese J. Borchard, associate editor on PsychCentral, in her article, "Seven Ways to Beat Depression After a Divorce." An important step, however, in overcoming the negative aspects of divorce is to let go of your own negative emotions regarding your spouse, Borchard suggests. Set aside those thoughts of vengeance and bitterness and refocus on your own sense of peace.
Plan your daily schedule, suggests Borchard. Include everything from your breakfast morning shower to your time on social networking, if you want. The idea is that planning your activities cuts down on the time you spend lamenting your previous marriage and ex-spouse. Remember to leave room on your schedule to accommodate new hobbies and even jobs. Pursuing new interests enables you to meet new people and serves as a reminder that your life didn't end at the divorce, says Borchard.
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