Health

Why Mindfulness Helps In Divorce And Other Stressful Events

Mindfulness is, to put it simply, the practice of focusing your attention on the here and the now; of training yourself to exert a greater degree of control over your thoughts in order to stop them from veering into unpleasant territory. Before I tried mindfulness, I believed that the physical sensations I associated with anxiety were caused by my thoughts. Instead, the physical sensations we associate with anxiety are a survival mechanism which served our ancestors well but, with the world posing much less of a physical threat than it did in their day, it’s become significantly less helpful.

For 27 years, I suffered from debilitating anxiety. This, I believe, provided me with experience that I was able to utilise when providing clients caught in the midst of a divorce with tangible advice. It made me more empathetic, more understanding of their situation and more motivated to help them. When the prospect of having to give a speech on my wedding day brought about worry so severe that I had no option but to seek help, I discovered something that would help not only me, but hundreds of my clients, too.

What this means is that, when you feel anxious, it’s little more than a random biological occurrence; a release of chemicals designed to make you more aware of the world around you and more prepared to deal with physical threats. Often, the experience is brief and simply passes away. During times of stress, however, this physical sensation causes us to analyse our current situation and find a reason to be worried. This results in a cyclical process that feeds our anxieties leaving us feeling stresses, exhausted and irritable – particularly whilst we’re in the midst of a highly stressful even such as a divorce.

Why mindfulness helps

Whilst it might appear as though the practice of mindfulness is one that is exclusively centred on controlling our thoughts, this is only half of the story. We are, for example, not always aware of what we’re thinking and are not always capable of choosing to think of something else as a result. Instead, mindfulness is centred on choosing to change our thoughts when we are indeed aware of them. Equally important, though, is that it teaches us to be accepting of the fact that we will not always be in control of our thoughts and that this is ok. Our minds have a tendency to wander so it’s vital that we accept that we’ll have negative thoughts and that, rather than aggressively trying to exert control over them, we should be kind to ourselves and gently try to think of something else.

Mindfulness – by improving understanding of anxiety and it’s causes, coupled with its non-aggressive means of exerting greater control over our thoughts – is proven to significantly increase people’s confidence in their ability to cope with change whilst reducing stress. I can attest to this personally; as can many of the clients I’ve helped over the past few years.

With time, mindfulness helps people to live in the moment. As a result, it is not only extremely beneficial when it comes to helping people through their divorces but, as it often also brings a new-found appreciation for the world around us, is fantastic preparation for the new life that awaits them post-divorce, too.

Author Bio:

Jay Williams works for Quickie Divorce, one of the UK’s leading providers of fast, affordable online divorce solutions.

 

Keeping Healthy in Body, Mind, and Spirit, After Divorce

photo-1498568715259-5c1dc96aa8e7 - CopyAnyone who has been through a divorce will easily understand why the process ranks second in the iconic Holmes and Rahe stress scale. Such a big change in one’s personal life has a significant impact on your financial situation, home stability, and, sometimes, social status. Living a happy, healthy life post-divorce can be challenging, but it can definitely be achieved by keeping your body and mind in optimal shape. In this post, we discuss the importance of approaching health in an integrated manner, during the post-divorce weeks and months.

What Happens to Your Body when You are Stressed?

Stress is more than a state of worry or anxiety; when present chronically, it can cause elevated blood pressure, digestive problems, and headaches, and it is linked to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. There are no big secrets when it comes to being physically fit. Daily exercise (aim for 30 to 40 minutes) and a sound, Mediterranean diet (comprising lean proteins, seasonal fruits and veggies, nuts, and healthy fats such as olive and flaxseed oil) are key.

Foods for Life and Adaptogens

Stressful times call for extra measures, and this means placing a bigger emphasis on life-enhancing superfoods such as apples (linked to a reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes), apricots (which are a known immunity booster) and blueberries (rich in anthocyanin, a flavonoid thought to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes). These are just a few of a vast list of superfoods, so feel free to experiment with new ones depending on the results you wish to achieve.

Back these up if you are feeling low with amazing adaptogens. As noted by beauty guru, Leslie Kenton, these are herbs and roots that “improve your ability to adapt to all forms of stress, while at the same time helping to normalize its biochemical effects.”

Some of the best known adaptogens include Siberian ginseng (thought to promote better sleep, increased stamina, and clearer thinking), suma (a wild root said to raise energy levels and increase endurance), and echinacea (an excellent detoxifying supplement).

Making Room for Mindfulness

Mindfulness based activities such as yoga and meditation are currently used across the globe in top centers catering to a numerous conditions, including eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.

Yoga is also recommended to deal with stress caused by diseases such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, and heart disease, with researchers strongly recommending this millenary practise as a complementary therapy following their successful findings.

Study after study has shown that yoga, meditation and even Tai Chi significantly lower levels of stress hormone, cortisol, and boost energy levels and mood. Scientists belief their success has to do with their emphasis on mind-body control and on pranayamic breathing (which is a powerful way to stop a panic attack in its tracks, as well as keep the mind ‘in the here and now’, instead of focused on the past or in a state of worry about the future).

When going through a divorce, it is vital to approach health and fitness from a multi-faceted perspective that encompasses both traditional healthy nutrition and exercise, as well as activities that work on a mental and spiritual plane. By committing to yourself and exercising self-compassion, health and wellbeing can be two core values that shape your life for the better.

 Author of this article, Lucy Wyndham, is a freelance writer and former Financial Advisor. After a decade in industry, she took a step backward to spend more time with her family and to follow her love of writing.  

Supplements for Stress and Divorce

Going through divorce takes a toll on emotions and can wreak havoc on the physical functioning of one’s body. Stress puts the body on red alert, that one is facing danger and to get prepared. Chronic stress keeps the body in a hyper vigilant state instead of having down time between episodes. Stress in divorce can particularly affect the cardiovascular system. How to mitigate the damage? Take supplements with your health care provider’s guidance.

Omega 3 protects the heart by maintaining an optimal rhythm and increasing blood vessel flexibility. Stress increases inflammation in the body and Omega 3 decreases it. The Journal of Psychiatry is studying the use of Omega 3 for people with depression and other mental health disorders. A study done at Ohio State University on medical students indicated that it decreases mild anxiety. Participants took either a placebo or Omega 3 over a three month period. The results showed a 20% decrease in anxiety with the Omega 3 group, plus a 14% decrease in the pro-inflammatory compound interleukin 6.

Interleukin 6 can be an anti-inflammatory when within normal limits. It relays information between cells, regulates the immune system functioning and cell growth. It helps to stop colds and infections. When the body has chronic low grade inflammation due to psychological stress, then interleukin 6 increases too much and becomes pro-inflammatory. This leads to diseases such as autoimmune disorders including rheumatoid arthritis.

Co-Enzyme 10 (Co Q 10) is an element found in the mitochondria of cells and is especially concentrated in the heart. It converts food into energy and reduces free radicals. A study at Tulane University in New Orleans indicated that Co Q 10 increased the ejection fraction (pumping ability of the heart) by 3.7%. It promotes healthy heart functioning.

Antioxidants are nutrients that include flavonoids that decrease free radicals. Free radicals are the waste products of cells that increase inflammation in the body and the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol increases the heart rate, blood pressure and insomnia. Cortisol is responsible for the flight or fight response.

Holy Basil helped me to relax and get deeper sleep during my divorce. I continued to take it at least for a year post-divorce and have gotten positive feedback about it from others undergoing stressful lives.

B Vitamins get depleted when your body is under the stress of divorce. B6 is especially important for immune health. When the B6 level is low, then the production of White Blood Cells, T Cells, and interleukin 2 are decreased. These elements of the immune system fight off colds and infections. B12 is required for cell growth and division. Middle age decreases B12 and stress does too, so consider particularly having your B 12 level tested.

Biotin is needed for the production of insulin and helps in the metabolism of glucose, fatty and amino acids. You may want to take a multi Vitamin B complex supplement. I notice that I get more headaches when I am lax taking this supplement.

Aromatherapy helped me in divorce and beyond.  Nipping into Neal’s Yard for their fabulous aromatherapy products zapped my stress and anxiety. Therapist have recommended Clary Sage for those tensions headaches that come with divorce. Spraying Lavender on your face or pillow at night is relaxing and induces sleep.  Homeopathic remedies have helped many get through divorce too. Follow the path that is most comfortable to reduce stress for you..

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine  https://www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/