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Global Guide to Divorce

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Moving On

Having a More Positive Attitude in Divorce

During and after divorce it is easy to slip into negativity. Lives are changing with a dip in finances and time spent with the children. Dwelling in what is not working out can blind you to what is going right in your life. People that do not move on after divorce, can build a wall around themselves which keeps others away.

How a Positive Attitude in Divorce is Beneficial

Various studies have indicated that people who were more positive about what lies ahead were less likely to have ailments. Web MD found that “People who have a positive attitude during stressful events are 22% less likely to have a fatal or non-fatal heart attack than those who hold negative attitudes.” The Mayo Clinic discussed the health benefits of optimism – seeing some positives including in stress-full situations. Some of these are “greater resistance to the common cold”, less cardiovascular issues and decreased risk of depression. The Dalia Lama states “Unhealthy attitudes disturb the body. The body/mind relationship affords ample proof that human health depends on positive feelings.”

Surround  Yourself with Positive People

Choose to be surrounded by positive people. One attracts friends who are like them. Being negative is like a magnet which draws others with negative attitudes to you. These pessimists may forecast gloomy outcomes for your divorce or hold you back by focusing on obstacles to success. I had a divorced friend who was concentrating on what was not working out in my divorce. I would change the subject and she did not get the hint. My son finally told her bluntly to stop talking about divorce. She eventually drifted away when I refused to discuss the negatives. I surrounded myself with upbeat people who are still my cheerleaders today. One’s outlook is how they see the world -as a scary, dark place, or where many good things happen. One projects their positive or negative outlook onto others, as if they were a screen.

People sometimes seek out the negatives as a way to validate their political, career or other life choices. I heard a speech recently whose message was since her candidate did not win the election, that the apocalypse is coming. She refuses to try and see anything positive and attempts to dissuade others from doing so. When I was in London during the Brexit voting, it was a similar situation. The other side was totally wrong for many people.   In divorce, this type of attitude hinders negotiation and being flexible in working out custody arrangements.

Live in the Present, Not in the Past

A way to be more positive is by not living in the past. Put energy into focusing on the present and near future. You cannot change the past, but can learn from it. Be in the moment as in mindfulness. Tend to what is needing your immediate attention: splitting assets, dividing personal property or just taking the dog for a walk. Distraction helps to gets one’s mind off the negativity of the divorce situation and on to something fun.  Please read more   www.divorcemag.com/blog/looking-for-positives-tips-for-avoiding-negativity-throughout-divorce

Dealing with Anger in Divorce

Anger and other strong emotions are a by-product of divorce. It is natural to get upset over the crazy antics of one’s soon-to-be ex. Perhaps one’s partner sees divorce as a contest where there is a clear winner and loser. The word “compromise” is not in their vocabulary. There are ways to deal with anger during the divorce process without having an explosion. Anger in itself is okay, but how it is expressed may not be. An example of this is road rage. The driver takes out their hostility by ramming the car in front of them or threatening someone else. They over react to a slight provocation. An especially tragic act of divorce anger is when one parent retaliates against the other by killing their children.

Anger is an emotion which needs to be acknowledged first before dealing with it and moving on. Anger is a response to a perceived threat or being the target of hostility. Analyze the situation to determine what action you can take. If it is out of your control, accept that and realize that you do have control over your reaction to it. When spouses get tangled up in anger, that can lengthen proceedings which results in higher legal fees. How to get rid of anger:

  1. Physical activity helps to release anger and anxiety. Exercise lowers the stress hormone cortisol which is responsible for raising blood pressure and the heart rate. Go running, to the gym, a fitness class, on a hike, or cleaning spree to keep you moving. Some people feel that striking an object releases anger better for them, such as by playing tennis, golf, or bowling. Others don boxing gloves and do sparring.
  2. Write a letter to your spouse about your grievances. Pour out your wrath in detail. Put down your feelings and then notice how cathartic this activity is. Later rip it up or burn it, but do not send it. A variation of this is to keep a journal and jot down your thoughts on paper. This helps to release strong emotions and months down the road one can look back and appreciate the progress in healing that has been made.
  3. Release your anger by discussing what you are going through with friends. They will listen and p put your situation into perspective when anticipating a bleak outcome. They remind you what is going right in your life so you see there is some balance. Having friends’ support enables one to know that they are not going through divorce alone.
  4. Consider joining a divorce support group or co-parenting class. The camaraderie in a “Women in Transition” class kept me from losing my sanity. It was helpful in a co-parenting course to hear the other gender’s point of view. The guys had me laughing and not being so serious, which got rid of much anger. In support groups, the non-judgmental acceptance can be a life-line to getting through the divorce process.

What counteracts anger is looking for several pleasant things that happened to you each day.  Please read more…www.divorcemag.com/blog/dealing-with-anger-during-divorce

First Steps During Initial Post-Divorce Period

Moving on after divorce can be done in small increments or in one giant leap. Sometimes one may need to get away in order to evaluate their options and just to think about things in general. One man had an ingenious way to get over a traumatic divorce and get past overwhelming feelings. His mind kept dwelling on his unhappy circumstance and severed marital relationship. What came as a surprise was the dramatic metamorphosis and finding his purpose in life. Alan’s career was in Martial Arts and his back, neck and joints cried out for him to retire.

A Way to Recover Post-Divorce

What is his secret? Alan left his job post-divorce and booked a Round-the-World (RTW) airline ticket which was for several months of travel. By immersing himself into the various cultures, Alan’s focus was off his own woes. He discovered that humans around the planet are more alike than different. People have more in common than not and he developed a respect for others’ customs, beliefs and spirituality.

Self-Compassion

This compassion spilled over to himself, enabling him to accept that his old life was finished. Forgiveness for himself and ex-wife set him free and he was transformed. Alan was on the last leg of his journey in Cape Town before flying back home, when he discovered that he could book another RTW ticket for half of what he had paid in London. He used this opportunity to fly back to Asia.

Going on a retreat can be the key to gaining self-awareness. Alan attended a ten day retreat in India in which meditation was taught. The participants were silent for the first nine days and spoke on the last one. He had judged others and formed preconceived notions about who they were and what they did. On day ten when all were allowed to speak, Alan was blown away about how wrong he was. During this retreat, Alan learned more about himself than he had his whole life and spirituality gave meaning to his existence. He now helps others globally to find their right path after situations like divorce.

Gaining Self-Knowledge

Gaining self-knowledge and wisdom can come at a much cheaper cost than a Round-the-World ticket. A weekend retreat and being around positive people can be a catalyst for change, as Alan’s longer ones did. Shop around for the experience or assistance that you require in your price range.

A woman in the Philippines said “divorce was impossible” so eventually was granted a “civil and Catholic annulment.” She too desired to get away to find herself and to heal. She searched for the best price for a European river cruise and found out that booking the same one in another country and in their currency can lower the fee. She got this cruise for half, through the Canadian branch of that global company by paying in their currency. She is enjoying cruising Eastern Europe on the Danube right now.

Be diligent when chasing your dream by checking on various options. If one road is blocked then take a detour, however keep trying.   Please read more ….  www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/post-divorce/

Getting Past Obstacles Post-Divorce

During or after divorce – there are obstacles which make chasing a dream or pursuing a goal challenging. Sometimes barriers to success are more in our minds than in actuality. People are stressed out and often do not think a situation through, but more on a superficial level. This is where friends come into the picture. Discuss where you feel stuck and are not able to get past an obstacle. Let friends bounce their ideas around and a feasible solution may be discovered. Really listen and be open to their suggestions. Several people I know who had problems post-divorce, talked about them endlessly. However when we gave practical tips on how to solve these dilemmas, they were quick to find reasons why they could not work. It was as if they did not want to move on and enjoyed wallowing in their dramas.

Reframe Your Situation

Getting through an obstacle post-divorce correlates with how first aid is performed. One does an assessment of the injury or situation. One looks at what is really going on, how it happened and the extent of the damage. The next step is to evaluate one’s capabilities. Is one able to remedy the problem or is additional help required? With a patient, they may need an x-ray or stitches which is out of your scope of practice. Next is to reframe the situation and act on it. Instead of seeing a situation as a catastrophe, it is reframed as being a minor setback. One cleans a wound and applies a bandage or comforts an individual until an ambulance arrives.

Can You Fix It?

When facing a barrier hindering your success, do an assessment. Really look at your situation and attempt to understand what happened. Is it something totally out of you control that you just have to accept, at least for right now? Or does it look like you have some options for getting past it? It can be beneficial to discuss this blockage with a life coach to help you devise with some strategies for dealing with it. Evaluate your capabilities to find ways to remove the obstacle. Visualize different scenarios for getting past the barrier between where you are now and where you want to be. Analyse what your strengths are and utilize them in getting on with your life. Reframe the situation in your mind to take on a more positive view.

Several people who were made redundant with their jobs, said they felt their careers were over. When reframing that they had the chance for new opportunities their lives turned around. Some did freelancing and had a better work/home life balance. Others capitalized on their hobbies by turning them into new careers. People have started online businesses after losing jobs and remarked how their stress level went down.

An obstacle in life is unreasonable people, You can change your actions, but cannot not change someone else. You only have control over yourself.  In a mathematical equation, changing one variable can alter its outcome. When you are the variable that changes in a situation that can alter how an obstacle affects you. Several people wanted out of the marriages quickly and their spouses were creating roadblocks which prevented this during the divorce process.

When these individuals changed their behaviour and told the spouses to take whatever they wanted from the houses, that barrier was removed. The divorces then moved along quickly and these folks got their freedom. It is your choice how to react when facing a barrier with divorce. A minor change in your perception or reaction can mean a big change in your circumstance down the road.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine  thedivorcemagazine.co.uk

 

 

Tips on Getting Through Divorce

In the early stage of divorce one may be in shock, regardless of who actually filed for it. Having a partner walk out or being the bearer of divorce news is traumatic. One is on autopilot going through the daily motions of life. One divorced man said just put one foot in front of the other and keep walking. These tips will help one get through the first months of the divorce process.

  1. Do not be stoic and feel you can do this alone. Gather the troops around you and vent. Or at least surround yourself with people in a public place, even if not in the mood for interactions. A few divorced folks that I know who withdrew from friends and family were bitter and angry. They erected walls around themselves which became permanent.
  2. Ensure that you maintain contact with your children. One of your lawyer’s first tasks is to set up regular visitation, particularly if your spouse is being uncooperative. As a part-time school nurse, here is what worked for other parents. Talk to your kids’ teachers to see how you can volunteer with their classes. Offer to tutor, chaperone field trips or be the muscles needed to hoist up scenery for class plays or school concerts. The kids are proud and it gives extra contact with you. This also goes for scouts, sports, chess and other activities. The bonus is when custody or shared care is being determined, you are viewed as the involved parent that you are.
  3. It may seem like having fun is frivolous when one’s world is falling apart. It is not. When snipers were shooting citizens in Lebanon a decade or so ago, folks reported risking bullets to go to cafes, get manicures and so forth. When interviewed, they seemed surprised to be asked why they did not stay put. Life is about balance. Keeping anger and anxiety bottled up inside can lead to cardiovascular problems and a good laugh can release them. Having a blast with your kids at an amusement park, soccer or other entertainments, is also good for bonding.
  4. Take care of yourself. Eat some nutritional food every day and take out is fine. Living on junk food and beer will sap your energy which is required to get you through the divorce process. If you try to run your vehicle on junk –it will not go far. You have important decisions to make when dividing assets – so eat protein for your brain. Consult your health care provider for which supplements to add when your diet is dicey.
  5. Consider making your workplace as your sanctuary away from divorce.  Please read more… dadsdivorce.com/articles/9-steps-get-divorce-one-day-time/?utm_content=buffer89cbe&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

 

Divorce Workshop in London

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Finding Support When Going Through A Divorce

Divorce is a traumatic and stressful experience which can trigger many negative emotions. A person may feel unsettled, frightened and uncomfortable with the many changes they are going through. They may experience depression, guilt, anger and despair over the ending of their relationship. They may also feel frustration, fear, and anxiety about their future. The ending of a marriage frequently leads to sadness. A person may also dread the prospect of being single. If they’ve been married for a long time, they may also have to deal with changes in their social and financial state.

Divorce can bring out the worst in people, leading some to make to petty demands and display abusive behavior. Some people may begin to feel guilty that they were not able to do more to save their relationships. Others may become depressed at the thought that their life is going to change and they may not be able to handle it by themselves. All of these jumbled up emotions can make a person miserable.

As painful as these emotions are, they are a natural part of the grief process. This is how many people respond to life-altering events. These emotions are difficult to handle and there is no cure for how you feel. However, there are some healthy ways to handle your feelings, so that you can gain strength, compassion, and wisdom from what can be a very negative experience. Your emotional healing process begins when you allow yourself to grieve the end of your relationship and you will begin to heal when you can finally move on with your new life.

Some people find that sharing their feelings with others can reduce their suffering. A sympathetic ear can do wonders for a person in emotional pain. That’s the reason people turn to family and friends when they are in the process of getting a divorce. They ask for assistance and support from the people they trust and those who are best able to offer help.

While many people find someone who will allow them to vent their anger, cry out their hurt, talk about their fears and listen to them, it can be difficult for some to find that comfort. Many people have complex and stressful lives and over time, they may tire of listening to a person’s grief, especially if that person cannot get over their pain and move on. Unfortunately, some people find that they do not have anyone to support them through their divorce. For those people, support groups or a professional therapist can offer the help they need.

The main benefit of attending a support group is that you are with other people who are going through the same type of situation. These meetings are usually held in a church or community center. A person can meet face-to-face with others in various stages of grief, all healing from the pain divorce has caused in their lives. In these groups, people come together to learn how to handle their emotions and support.

Some people find it difficult to attend a face-to-face meeting or there may not be one available in their local area. Online support groups offer 24-hour support. However, the support provided is not as personal, although it is more accessible. With online support groups, a person has the opportunity to meet people who are going through the same pain. But be warned that these groups are often plagued by trolls who use this public forum to insult and ridicule others.

If a person has existing mental health conditions, divorce can make things worse, especially for anyone suffering from anxiety, depression or personality disorders. Divorce is often viewed as a personal failure and for some, this increases any feelings of inadequacy they may already have. Therapy is one way to work through these feelings. Some people need to understand why their marriage ended and therapy can help give them a new prospective, which can help stop them from blaming themselves for everything that went wrong.

Many people who have divorced have learned about what they want and don’t want from a relationship. However, in order to learn this, they need to discover more about themselves and their personal characteristics. Therapy, during and after divorce is more about a person learning about themselves than it is about them getting over their marriage.

A qualified therapist understands the effect divorce can have on a person’s life and the changes they will experience during the divorce process. They can offer a person a place to vent in a healthy way. A person can talk openly about their fears and share emotions that may be too intense to share with their family and friends.

A therapist can show a person various techniques to help with stress, grief and negative thinking. This can help a person going through a divorce to be a caring and effective parent who can help their child cope with the divorce in a healthy manner. It also lays the foundation for a healthy new life after the divorce is finalized. Before choosing a therapist, a person should interview several and then, choose a person that makes them feel safe, but is also prepared to guide them out of their grief.

A person does not recover from divorce overnight. This is a process without any time limit. There are many changes to adjust to. It’s not uncommon when couples split that friendships are also dissolved and in-laws will be lost. This only makes the pain worse. A parent may also feel guilt over the pain divorce causes for their children.

Getting the right support can help a person work through these issues in a positive way and can help to turn a difficult event into an empowering and life strengthening experience.

Ferdinand Marin is the publisher of CBT Worksheets, http://cbtworksheets.com/  providing custom worksheets which help mental health professionals to more effectively and accurately use the Cognitive Behavioral Method in their practices. Visit CBTWorksheets.com to learn more.

 

 

Getting Past Divorce

Divorce is a life transition to move through as quickly as possible. Yet some folks relive it over and over again. Their proceedings are their go-to- topic of conversation, which gets old. There are traps that keep one stuck in divorce instead of moving forward with life.

It is hard to forget about your ex when plotting revenge. This may be repeatedly taking a former spouse to court for perceived infractions, or starting rumours which border on slander. Revenge is a way to keep attached to your former partner by wishing evil things to happen to them. These revenge fantasies drain energy and time which could be used for something more productive.

People sometimes project their own emotional states onto someone else, like an ex-spouse. If they are vindictive, they see their former spouse as that way also. Our views are projected onto others as if they are a screen or mirror. A happy individual interprets interactions as positive and a bitter, angry person encounters a hostile world. A person stating on social media that their ex cannot move on is probably the one who is not letting go. Could your complaints about your ex really be about your own issues?

Following the same routines as when married, may be a way of hanging on to that relationship. One’s former partner may have jumped ship for someone else, yet they are haunting the places that they went together as a couple. Dining in your favourite restaurant as you did when married or replaying a song from your wedding keeps you attached. This is like lyrics from the 1980’s band Naked Eyes’ song: “I walk along the city streets you used to walk along with me. And every step I take reminds me of just how we used to be. Well, how can I forget you, girl? When there is always something there to remind me.”   Instead of going to the same Greek island or walking the streets of Paris that you roamed as a duo, discover new destinations. Grab buddies and go away for a long weekend to somewhere enticing. Shake up your routines by finding new cafes and a favourite pub. It is time to exorcize your ex’s ghost by having new adventures.

Open the door and allow joy to enter your life. Divorce evokes negative feelings such as tension and hurt. It is easy to fall into the habit of staying in the place of anger instead of climbing out of that dark pit. At first it takes effort and practice to notice the sweet things in one’s life  Please read more…  www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/how-to-cope-with-a-break-up/

Becoming More Confidant After Divorce

Getting a divorce can affect one’s self confidence. One may have to get a job, move to a different locale or meet new people. A lot is thrown at you at once. Divorce does not define who you are, but is a word indicating your marital status. Being divorced is just a part of one’s multi-faceted being. There are ways to boost one’s confidence which leads to a more fulfilling life.

SELF-INVENTORY

The first step for gaining more confidence is to do a self-inventory. In what areas do you feel overwhelmed and could use improving? Think about where you excel, such as on the job, with some relationships, or in your hobbies. Your talents and abilities, may have brought accolades, such as when winning local tournaments for a sport. A person may have a magnificent voice which is central to their choir. One may be surprised at how many areas of confidence outweigh what scares them. People sometimes focus on the negatives instead of the positives and feel that they lack confidence in general, rather than in a few specific aspects of their lives.

LEARN SOMETHING NEW

Learning new skills, material and strategies is the way to fix the areas that are weak and lacking in confidence. Building confidence is like building up a muscle when lifting weights – it benefits the whole person and not just one part. Take a computer class if feeling wobbly about IT on the job. Some scientific   guys have confided they feel awkward trying to make small talk. Small talk is a way to connect with others and is important socially as well as at work. Joining groups with a purpose, such as hiking, photography, chess, books and so forth make discussing the subject at hand easy, which then leads to other conversations. The trick is to get help for what is draining one’s confidence.

Rewards do work. I had a phobia for public speaking and as an author, I knew interviews and doing workshops were inevitable. I joined Toastmasters International to help get over this fear and increase my confidence. However, I paired Toastmasters meetings with getting together afterwards at a coffee shop with friends. Eventually my brain linked going to Toastmasters with treats. I no longer feel the need for lattes afterwards and found I really enjoy speaking in front of others and doing radio interviews. Pick a treat to motivate you to go to a class or do something out of your comfort zone.  Please read more  www.divorcemag.com/blog/5-ways-to-build-confidence-after-divorce

Finding Meaning in Life Post-Divorce

Divorce shakes one’s foundation, so doing some rebuilding of one’s life afterwards is a must. What seemed important when married such as extended shopping sprees, may be viewed as trivial now. Let divorce be the catalyst to shift priorities in order to have a more rewarding life. One can feel like they are drifting along and every day is the same. How to get your groove back after divorce? The secret is to discover what is meaningful to you and gives you a sense of purpose in this world.

Leo Tolstoy said “The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity.” Volunteering is a great way to connect with others, while getting so much more back. Volunteering counteracts misconceptions of feeling worthless, powerless or weak which can be by products of a toxic marriage. Seeing tangible results of how you make a difference in the world is what gives meaning to your existence. I volunteer weekly for a cat rescue organization and the kitties’ purrs and affection just make my day. Other divorced friends help out at soup kitchens, delivering meals to homebound elderly, or use professional skills such as accounting. This is what ignites the spark in our lives. Think about what your interests are and find a position in one of those areas. In the public schools – we have executives who tutor youngsters over their lunch hours. The staff tells them that this is their most important job and these high powered individuals readily agree. The Dalai Lama stated “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others.”

Reaching out and strengthening connections increases life satisfaction. There are all kinds of studies which show that having bonds to people increases longevity and contributes to better health. Rekindle old friendships which may have slipped away when married. Spend more time with family and be an involved aunt. Childhood is fleeting and your children grow up quickly. Give them undivided attention with your devices switched off and really listen. Plan fun outings and special pizza nights at home. I expanded my social network and feel more content. I am closer to my college pals post-divorce and this creates more pleasure in my life.

Discover what kick starts your passion and go for it. For us it is going on global journeys. We live frugally and diligently save cash to reach our goal, which is a good life lesson in itself. My sons and I become closer without the distractions of being at home. It is possible to travel to far flung places on a limited budget. For others it is dusting off an instrument, painting, hiking, treks in exotic places and so forth. Engaging in your passions is what quality of life is all about. This includes following your dreams.

Experiences give richness to our lives much more than another handbag or the latest gadget. It is the memories of visiting your grandparents’ farm or summer trips to an amusement park that are meaningful, not some item which was broken eons ago. Instead of buying things for the quick fix of feeling better, consider which experiences will give long lasting joy.   Please read more   divorcedmoms.com/articles/suddenly-single-and-seeking-purpose

 

Getting Rid of the Divorce Blues – Moving On

It is easy to feel overwhelmed when stress and loss mounts up in divorce. Going through monumental changes and downgrading one’s lifestyle can result in feeling blue. There may be financial worries and the realization hits that one will see the children only part-time. If a person is prone to depression all of this turmoil can be a trigger that pushes one down that slippery slope. One way to stop melancholy moods is with distraction. When sadness is like a DVD playing over and over in your head, substituted it with happier ones. The blues may hit expectantly like a huge wave, and that is when I mentally insert a DVD of fun times on holiday. Sometimes I can banish morose feelings when looking at our holiday photos and reminiscing about our adventures.

  • Many people have expressed being in nature rejuvenates them. This is as simple as eating lunch outside or taking a stroll in a leafy area to lift one’s mood. There are hundreds of studies that back up the physical and mental health benefits of being out in nature. A study out of The Netherlands analysed records of 195 doctors with the focus of seeing if living near a green space was beneficial to well-being. They found that there were less “disease clusters” for those who lived within 1 kilometre of a green space. This particularly held true for those with depression and mental illness. University of Washington has on their web site a result from a study where some participants took a walk inside and the others did out in nature. 71% of the ones taking a walk outside had a decrease in their depression as opposed to 45% who were inside. Professor Jules Pretty from University of Essex and other researchers analysed data from ten studies. The common denominator was being out in nature improves “mental and physical health”. Even five minutes in the green is shown to improve health.
  • Do something special for yourself. One friend has a glass of her favourite pinot grigio wine and watches a classic movie. This week she laughed her way through “How to Marry a Millionaire” with Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable and Lauren Bacall. Last week her treat was watching “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” A divorced acquaintance watches snooker when thoughts of his ex-wife occur. When I am feeling blue, I enjoy a hands on treatment, such as facial (Neal’s Yard) or a pedicure.
  • Get out of your flat. Moping inside only compounds the blues, so go to a coffee or tea shop. If you are feeling lonely, chatting with other at the community table may be just the ticket. If not in a sociable mood, take your book or laptop and be surrounded by people, but not interacting with them. One elderly divorced woman made it to daily Mass with a treat afterwards. She was not auditioning for sainthood, but having somewhere to go every day was important to her emotional well-being.
  • Go to the cinema or theatre. Being engrossed in a thriller or comedy is a great temporary escape from the stress of divorce. Crying through a heart-breaking film releases pent up sadness and despondency and one can feel so much better afterwards. West End has so many choices for whatever mood you are in, and I feel comfortable going alone.   Please read more   www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/post-divorce-blues/

 

How To Boost Your Happiness

You may be going through the motions of life while others seem to have the secret to happiness. Happiness may have alluded one during marriage and finding it after divorce is high on the list. What exactly is happiness? It is a transient feeling which requires frequent boosters. Planning an exotic getaway, buying designer shoes on sale, or a day at the spa bring on happiness temporarily. Once the boost is over then one looks for another fix. We are born with a set point for happiness and various studies put it between 33% to 50%. This means that how happy we are is partly due to genetics and we can control the rest. Some people seem to be born cheerful and others more morose, as I have witnessed in the school setting. Andrew Carnegie, the American philanthropist born in Scotland, said “If you want to be happy – set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes.” During divorce, just surviving and getting through it may be the goal. After divorce come up with long-term ones such as exploring the world, a better financial situation or balancing family and work.

POSITIVE OUTLOOK

Cultivating a positive outlook helps one to view the world as a friendlier, safer place. If one expects to be treated badly, then they perceive normal interactions with others as negative. In one study on happiness, people were asked to think about a memory. The happier folks thought of happy ones. The test subjects who were depressed gravitated towards sad or unhappy remanences. What is the secret to happiness? Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert states “The quality of connections with people is the biggest predictor of happiness.” This message is echoed in a 72 year study by Harvard of 268 men in regards to life satisfaction and happiness. Psychiatrist George Valliant was one of the researchers who found that “The only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people.” Post-divorce focus on the quality of the connection with other people. Having several close friends brings more happiness than 500 ones on social media. What is important is engaging with others. Strengthen your ties to friends post-divorce. American psychologist Jaime Kurtz has done much research on happiness in the field of positive psychology.

How to Sustain Happiness

To sustain happiness is to have meaning and purpose in life. Ask yourself these questions. What inspires you? What is your passion? What drives you? If you are drifting along and not sure what you want to do after divorce, map out a life plan. Where do you see yourself next year, in five years, in ten? Giving back to others, whether volunteering, doing pro bono work, or mentoring helps give meaning to life. It is easy to be self-absorbed and reaching out to others creates healthy connections. Some people post-divorce started practicing gratitude, where they learned on a regular basis to appreciate the good happenings in their lives. Stop and notice the little things.

If you were on your deathbed now looking back over your life – did you accomplish all that you set out to do? What would any regrets be? What would you have left unfinished and do you have a legacy to pass on to family and friends? This is a good starting place to examine what you want to still accomplish. People that I talked to on their deathbeds, wished they had spent more time with others or had travelled to specific destinations. Let this guide you into have a more fulfilling life which brings happiness.

Schedule fun activities with friends and family. Since these only affect happiness on a short-term basis, fill your calendar with these events. This may be the time to adopt a pet who showers you with unconditional affection.  It takes time to heal after divorce or other adversities, however if feeling like you cannot climb out of a black pit, then seek some help.  Originally published in The Divorce Magazine