Moving On

How To Find Happiness During Divorce

When one is going through divorce it is easy to wonder “Will I ever be happy again?” The answer is YES. Happiness is a fleeting feeling which requires frequent boosters. Happiness fluctuates in intensity as do other emotions. One can choose to be happy or not during the turbulent time of divorce. My divorced mother decided to be bitter for years afterwards, which resulted in having a barrier between her and the world. I went down a different path and found ways to insert moments of happiness amongst the chaos. My trick was to look for the positives and have a laugh at the absurdity in life.

Think about what brings joy or when you were truly happy. Schedule these into your agenda on a regular basis. Weekly lattes with pals contributed to my happiness. Talking about my spouse’s outrageous antics brought on the giggles. It is hard to be in a negative place when laughing with friends. Others get their happiness boost by a vacation. I went to Hawaii with my mother and sons during the nastiest part of my proceedings. I became ecstatically happy walking among the palm trees and talking to the wise Polynesian people. I brought this relaxed attitude back with me into the rest of the divorce. Some friends escaped to the spa or gym. Remove yourself temporarily to pleasant surroundings.

The secret to being happy is to find one’s meaning and purpose in life. Viennese psychologist Viktor Frankl wrote about his ordeal in a concentration camp in his book Man’s Search for Meaning. While imprisoned, he found that those who discovered their meaning in life were more apt to survive. Two men in particular had given up and were waiting to die. Frankl found out what was important to them, one needed to finish his book and the other had a child abroad waiting for him. Frankl helped these fellows to realize the meaning of their existence and they made it out alive from the Nazi death camp.

What gives purpose to your life or ignites your passion? Consider having experiences over accumulating more stuff. When you look back at your childhood, it is the great times that brought you happiness. You can increase your happiness and your children’s by doing enjoyable activities. The youngsters will remember fun adventures more than another toy. Giving back to others or being productive in one’s work can also give meaning to life.

There are various studies which indicate happiness can be achieved by connecting to others. Psychologist Dan Gilbert from Harvard said “The quality of connections with people is the biggest predictor of happiness.” Several studies were done by Gillian Sandstorm and Elizabeth Dunn which also found that happiness increases with the more interactions people have with each other. Interactions both with people the subjects had strong ties to and acquaintances, led to a sense of belonging to the community.

Explore ways to engage with others, whether it is professional networking or on a personal level. This means face-to-face encounters, not the kind on social media. Strengthen ties to those individuals you already know. Enlarge your social circle with new acquaintances. I joined some groups and took classes post-divorce and enjoyed meeting people. Attending travel talks and going to local events helps me to feel connected to others in my community. Make a point of speaking to those around you – the barista, cashier, neighbors and so forth. Going into isolation hinders happiness. One long-term friend told us that she wants to be left alone and will call us when her divorce is over. That is her prerogative, however she is miserable. Reach out to others and include pleasurable pursuits to boost your happiness.

My article was originally printed in DivorceForce   https://www.divorceforce.com/   Affected by Divorce? Join DivorceForce, the online community committed to empowering those affected by divorce. Many helpful articles for those facing divorce.   @divorceforce (Twitter)

 

How To Prevent Fear From Holding You Back

Fear of the unknown can hold one back during and post-divorce. It can keep a person stuck and prevent movement. An individual may feel that they are in the freeze part of the flight or fight response to a perceived danger (the divorce drama). Not taking action can seem like the safer bet, when someone feels paralyzed with uncertainty. This indecisiveness can come back to haunt you later, as it did a few people who were not happy about how assets had been split. If feeling clueless and overwhelmed, consider having your attorney or paralegal clarify the information being given. Asking for specific options or advice is helpful.

Fear creates a stress response which releases a cascade of hormones, such as cortisol. The University of Minnesota found that fear “impacts thinking and decision making in negative ways.” It leads to “impulsive reactions” instead of taking a better course of action. One reacts in a rash manner instead of having clear thinking, which is needed to get through divorce proceedings. Reducing stress is way to get out of the panic mode. Do what works for you – mediation, prayer, retreats, exercise, being in nature and so forth.

Fear can keep an individual rooted in one spot – not comfortable taking a step in any direction. This happened to me during divorce. Rather than making a mistake, I decided to take no action about the marital home and just stay there. It was the easy way out. Luckily, I got out of the fear mode, found a small house and then applied at a few companies for a mortgage. It was work moving, but worth it.

There are other causes besides fear which can cause people to feel stuck. It can be challenging to step out of one’s comfort zone, such as deciding whether or not to take a different career path post-divorce. One may feel it is easier to stay in an unfulfilling job, than to pursue various possibilities. Divorce can bring a new opportunity to start over. I got a job as a school nurse after my divorce which became stressful when too much work was crammed in to only a day or so. I stayed out of fear that I would not find other part-time work with some flexibility. After talking over my job situation with a Life Coach, I realized my folly and resigned. Being in a stressful situation, as in divorce, makes it harder to calmly go over options. Get help. More and more middle-aged adults are seeking the guidance from a Career Coach. Others get vocational testing or training at a community college to open the door to other career directions.

Are you stuck, unable to move on because you have too many commitments which includes helping others? We can be afraid to tell people or organizations “no” or worry about being judged if we do.   Please read more   http://www.divorcemag.com/blog/fear-and-divorce

Overcoming Loneliness Post-Divorce

It can be a shock going from having a companion (spouse) to being on one’ s own. When a divorce was unexpected and unwanted, it is especially unsettling going out into the world alone. Jumping into a new relationship to ward off loneliness has backfired for some. These individuals brought emotional baggage into it, before working through their feelings. If you are dating to avoid being alone in your house, then consider getting a pet. Adopting an animal is therapeutic and lowers anxiety. The furry friend makes a great confidant for the children.

Adjust your routine so that you are not following the same pattern that you did when married. This helps to alleviate the void in your life. Instead of going to the cinema at night, as you did with your partner, join the other solos at a matinee. If you miss your cappuccino, then go to a coffee house with a community table. One can socialize or read a newspaper, but still be among others. Cafes are following this trend of making it friendlier for single diners, with the option of eating at a large table. It is nice having the opportunity to strike up a conversation with other patrons.

This is the time to join others in activities. Guys I know, participate in sports through the community or with buddies from work. They regularly play racquetball, baseball or rugby with co-workers, post break-up. Delve into new tasks on the job. Several have become involved with the charity sponsored by their company. These individuals met employees from different departments as well as new faces from the non-profit organization.

Evenings and weekends can be challenging to get through when newly single. See if you can change your work schedule to coincide with your lonelier hours. I started an exercise class two evening a week after my divorce. Some divorced folks choose to work on holidays to avoid being alone. Job sites often have a potluck or some type of celebration on these days.

The big part of loneliness post-divorce was losing mutual friends or not knowing how to go about making new ones. What helped me was joining MeetUp.com which is world-wide. We go out to movies, lunch and other venues. Attend your local events. Twice a month our travel bookstore/café hosts travel talks. These are interesting and gives me a chance to connect with other travel enthusiasts. A divorced friend enjoys her dining club and met a nice fellow. Several others are in book clubs.

Please read more:  http://www.divorcemag.com/blog/conquering-loneliness-post-divorce