Getting through divorce is not easy, but what can you do afterwards to improve your mental health? Here are 6 psychological tips that can benefit you emotionally.
1. Document the lessons you learned
You’ve probably spent a lot of time thinking about the causes that led to the divorce. There may have been warning signs you ignored, or choices you or your ex made that caused the breakdown in the relationship. Perhaps you’ve grown and now realize you married them because of your low self-esteem, or thought they were your last chance for a relationship.
Now is the time to pay attention to the lessons you learned, so you should take a journal and write a list of things you’ll do differently in your next relationship such as:
- Listen more and criticize less
- Help out around the house more
- State what your needs are
- Talk instead of yell
- Ask more questions
- Trust more or trust less
- Insist on respect
- Be a friend and not an enemy
Now is the time to reflect and make resolutions. Keep a journal and revisit your reflections when you begin a new relationship with someone special.
2. Avoid negativity
You’ll find plenty of cynical divorcees who will tell you that once you’re divorced you might as well stay single forever. They’ll tell you stories of bad dating relationships and horrible marriages. Or that the dating pool is too small, and how all the good ones are taken. You might have to suffer through their stories if they experienced a traumatic divorce — even if it was 20 years ago. Be prepared for the onslaught, as it will happen.
Cut these people out of your life (or limit your contact with them). Surround yourself with friends who are happy to be single and thrilled to be dating. You’re in a vulnerable state right now, so the last thing you need is to hang out with people who are angry, depressed, or fill your head with pessimism. When someone starts talking this way change the subject, or excuse yourself and find someone else to converse with. These psychic vampires suck the life out of you with their negativity and draw you into their drama. Two words: Move on!
3. Decide on a new you
Now that you’re free from a difficult marriage, you can focus your energy on living a life of excellence — be the person you wish to be. Performing excellently doesn’t just mean working hard at your job. It also means aspiring to be the person you know you can be. There are probably things your ex said that damaged your self-esteem. Or if they left you for someone else, you may feel they thought you were boring or not good enough (which is seldom the case). Remember that most people who strike out verbally are projecting how they feel about themselves on the person the closest to them.
Now is the time to rebuild your self-esteem by living proudly and in excellence. Do a great job in everything you do, and take pride in your performance. Complete that project at work, clean your house thoroughly — or thoroughly mess it up, landscape your yard beautifully, get stuck into some shabby-chic restorations or perfect your tennis game. Whatever you choose, becoming proficient at something will help your self-confidence and bolster your pride.
4. Find your spiritual path
If you have spiritual beliefs, now is a good time to fan them into a roaring flame. Studies show that people who take part in religious activities tend to be healthier and live longer than those who do not. If you have stayed away from your church, you can rejoin the congregation or find a new church to join. You may want to pray, reading spiritually inspired texts, or join a group of like-minded individuals. The positive energy you gain from believing in a higher power may help you get through this trying time and support your mental wellbeing.
Many churches have singles groups, or you can volunteer for children’s or teen’s programs. You could even join the choir. A church is a very safe, uplifting place to get reconnected with your spirit, your community, and become a part of a unified group of people.
5. Get Involved With Children
Children are naturally positive and enthusiastic. They are willing to try new things and use their creativity, and will constantly pick your brain with a multitude of questions. If you have children, devote yourself to them by exploring their interests and sharing a deep affectionate bond. If you don’t have children borrow a niece or nephew, volunteer to tutor, or join a community group.
Kids can do great things for mental wellbeing; indulge in ice cream, skip down the street, read a joke book, or go shopping at the mall together. Have fun with your little friend as you become refreshed and inspired to take life less seriously.