10 Steps to Reducing Divorce Stress

divorce stress

By Lisa Lisser, Attorney, Certified Divorce Coach, Spiritual Coach, Founder, LZL Coaching

Those of us who have been through divorce and those of us going through a divorce know all about divorce stress. Every moment seems filled with thoughts of what happened, what now, and what’s next? You worry about everything, from where will I live to who is going to get the kid’s photo albums.

I haven’t even mentioned the sadness, grief, anger, loss, frustration, disappointment and broken-heartedness that may be an overlay to all of your divorce stress. It all builds on itself to form the perfect storm, thrusting you into an inescapable downward spiral of worry and overwhelm – the mindset traps that can sabotage your divorce process.

Never fear! There are some simple (and challenging) action steps you can take that will help you navigate the overwhelm and lift you out of the spiral of despair and divorce stress. These steps can be the recovery tools that light the way to your better, brighter and more powerful future. You simply need to take time, build awareness, and practice the habits to get yourself there.

Here are 10 Steps to reduce divorce stress:

1. GET HELP and Support

Honor yourself and recognize that you don’t have to do this alone. You are entitled to support. Support can come through friends and family, support groups, and support professionals. Family and friends do the best they can, but they often have a stake in the conflict and can’t offer completely unbiased opinions. As a divorce coach, I work with clients to understand where they are emotionally as well as where they are in the process of divorce. We work to identify and prioritize what’s really important so my clients feel confident at communicating their wants and needs to the people who need to hear them most – soon to be ex’s, lawyers, and/or mediators.

2. Take OWNERSHIP of your life

Just because something happened to you in a certain way in the past, doesn’t mean things will always happen that way. You get to decide how you want to live your life now and in the future! YOU ARE IN CHARGE!  You also get to write the story of your past in a different way, you can choose to tell the new version of your past in a way that magnifies what was good, diminishes what wasn’t. It’s your story after all. Telling it in a way that diminishes the bad will help you heal more quickly and move forward with more positivity.


Lisa Lisser, Divorce and Spiritual Coach, LZL Coaching


3. Create a NEW VISION for your future

Start to dream about what your life could be. Be audacious. Be bold. Be creative. Be daring. What do you really want? What do you dream about? Write it down! Even if your rational mind says you could never achieve it, beginning the process of envisioning your future is a phenomenal tool to take you out of what feels like a dark and stuck place, and moves you into a space of light and joy. Once you begin to write down your dreams, they become more real. You begin to imagine the steps you can take to achieve them. Where you once saw only obstacles and barriers, now you see openings and doors.

4. Learn to be MINDFUL of your thoughts

When we are talking about mindset shifts and mindfulness, this might mean you could start noticing when you begin going down a negative thought spiral. Noticing will give you the space to pause and change direction – a specific mindset shift. Noticing may be enough to stop the cycle of negative thought.

I have a coach who shared a mantra with me – “Your thoughts are just your thoughts.” When I first heard it, I fought it. I mean – how can you say that? My thoughts keep me up at night! My thoughts are everything! My thoughts are important! And – then I realized, he was right! My thoughts are just my thoughts. What if I decided to change my thoughts? What if I decided that my thoughts don’t control me or my future? What if I decided to think different thoughts? How would that make me different? These are big questions, but the bigger the question, the greater the mindset shift!

5. Focus on GRATITUDE

Gratitude is a powerful tool. We live in a world where we so often focus on what we lack rather than on what we have. We face the world from a position of scarcity rather than abundance. What if you took a moment – 5-10 minutes a day – and focused on abundance. What are you truly grateful for? What do you have in abundance? What do you take for granted? Do you ever think about the miracle of air? We breathe in and out air every day.

Most of us never think about it. For most of us, the simple inhale and exhale of our lives is reflexive and abundant. It is simply there and it keeps us alive. It is a miracle. So basic. Something we probably never stop to feel gratitude for. In meditation and in yoga practice, we focusing on breathing. It’s not easy to train our minds to stop taking in all the other inputs that are battling for our attention. Yet, when my clients are feeling overwhelmed, I always invite them to breathe. In and out, in and out. There is power in the calmness of breath. The abundance of air. The sound of the oxygen. Just breathing is gratitude.

6. Discourage Mental Weeds

Notice when your mind begins to focus on the mental negativity – to further the metaphor, when it begins “watering the mental weeds”. Start pulling your thoughts away. Focus on the good, plant the seeds of beauty, strength, abundance, and resilience

Some people find it helpful to track negative thoughts – identify when you notice them, what is happening for you? Are you alone, bored, worried, with a big crowd, feeling isolated? What could you do to alleviate those thoughts in those circumstances when you notice them? How would you “plant” other thoughts?

7. Encourage mental gardening

Just as you pull the weeds of negative thoughts, begin planting the seeds of positive thoughts, and water them. Make it a practice to consider the positive thoughts every day. Build new neural pathways focusing on the positive thoughts. Each time you do you will be widening the pathway toward the positive thought and it will become easier and easier to get you to positivity.

8. Invigorate your heart, mind, and body

Walk, bike, exercise, golf, whatever activity you can begin now – on your own or in a group. What is an activity you once loved but have let go? How can you you reincorporate it into your life?

Is there a brand new activity you would like to try? Is that on your list for your new vision for your life? What small step can you begin to take toward that vision? How can you make it a practice, a habit?

What do you need to do for yourself that will keep you on track – make it small and achievable. The more small achievable tasks you take on and accomplish, the more likely you are to commit to additional small achievable tasks, which will in turn translate into big life changes.

9. Write a NEW STORY about your divorce

You may be stuck in your divorce story – this terrible thing happened to me! Yes! It did! And what else? How can you tell your story in a way that a) doesn’t hurt too much, b) takes some ownership of what happened and c) finds light, power, and opportunity in the results of what happened.  The more you tell the story the old way, the more real it becomes. But when you start retelling the story and focus on different issues, the new version becomes more real and you can have a different backstory that will help you move forward.


you may have been focused on putting everyone else’s needs in front of yours, as a mom, an employee, a volunteer. Our society teaches women to be good little girls. And when we don’t fit the mold, we don’t receive accolades. Now is the time to put yourself first. Be the one to direct your life. You are the one in charge! Don’t be shy about asking for what you want! Dream big! Go Bold! You’ve got this!

Lisa Lisser
Lisa Lisser, Attorney, Divorce Coach, Founder, LZL Coaching

Lisa, Certified Divorce Coach practiced litigation law before choosing to stay home with her young children. While at home with her kids, she became deeply involved in non-profit work. She supported her community as a public speaker and advocate. She designed community wide programs and was an active participant on multiple non-profit boards. A lifelong learner, she went back to school, earned her masters in Jewish education and became a certified spiritual counselor.

Now, a CDC certified divorce coach, Lisa is blending her talents and life experiences to do the work she was meant to do. She understands the complicated process of divorce through both legal eyes and personal experience. With empathy and compassion, she will help reduce your overwhelm, provide you with a sounding board, and give you the confidence you need to move through your divorce and launch into the next stage of your life. Learn more here.

Like this article? Check out, “Advice for: ‘I Feel Like My Life is Falling Apart'”

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