Anxiety fear and divorce go together. In fact, I think anxiety and fear are two of the most prevalent emotions in divorce, and they last the longest. If you think about it, it makes sense. The unknown can be scary and stressful, especially when it comes to children, finances, living alone, the divorce process itself, maintaining a relationship with your ex, and dating.
There are many ways to soothe anxiety and fear. Some people go on medication. While I am not personally a fan, I think in some cases it is necessary and can be very beneficial. In fact, I myself went on medication for a little while during my divorce. There is also exercise, lifestyle choices, therapy, faith and something I’m going to address below—training your mind to re-think.
It doesn’t happen very often, but there are times I fall into this bad place where all of my problems come to the forefront of my mind, and this horrible feeling of hopelessness creeps into my psyche. It brings tears to my eyes, angers me sometimes, and has me asking, “Why so often does life feel like it’s two steps forward, four steps back?”
Here are 9 things you might be thinking during your divorce, and 9 ways to train your mind to re-think them:
- Life feels like it’s two steps forward, four steps back. Hard work, dedication and consistency will ultimately move me ahead, making the steps backward not even noticeable at some point.
- I’m scared. Fear is created in my own mind. I have the power to recognize that and to use it to drive me, motivate me, and energize me to achieve great things.
- My financial picture seems bleak. I have a roof over my head, food on my table, heat, medical care, even a bed to sleep in. That’s not bleak.
- I hope my divorce doesn’t affect my children in a negative way. I have the power to raise my children as I see fit. I’m a great mom (or dad), I show them love, I have open communication with them and I am doing everything in my power to help them during this difficult time. The rest is uncontrollable and therefore is a waste of negative energy to think about.
- When it comes to dating after divorce, relationships can be complicated with kids and ex’s, and loving again takes vulnerability and courage, which I don’t know if I have. Romantic love at any age is beautiful and fun and sexy and breathtaking. Vulnerability is healthy and makes the relationship better. Whether he loves me or not is out of my control. All I can do is be me and be proud of who I am.
- Dealing with my ex can be so difficult. Stop whining and put on your big girl pants. I’m in a relationship I will have to maintain in a healthy way for a long, long time. Learn to live with it. It’s not going away. And, never stop taking the high road. It will never be the wrong decision, no matter how he (or she) acts towards me.
- It’s hard to be a single mom (or dad). I feel alone sometimes. Would I rather be in my former bad marriage? Also, I am not alone if I have children, a good family and/or friends, and people who love me. Plus, 50% of the population is divorced making 50% of them single parents, just like me.
- Why is my ex in a relationship and I’m still single? This isn’t a competition. Let him or her live their life. I need to focus on mine. Do I want to be in a relationship? How can I make that happen? Am I happy? If not, what’s it going to take to make me happy? Better figure it out soon.
- Getting older isn’t easy. Really? You’re playing that card? Am I healthy? I need to do what it takes to get to my healthiest potential. Health should be my number one priority. What’s it going to take?
I have one last suggestion for dealing with fear and anxiety during divorce. Go directly to the gym.
There is something about that place, as if it has some kind of a vacuum that sucks in everything that is bugging you.
I’m not saying that working out solves your problems, but rather that engaging in physical activity, lifting weights, and challenging your body takes your mind to the core of what you are doing at that moment—working hard, and it makes everything in life seem so much more manageable and solvable.
It’s kind of like you walk in there all doom and gloom, and you walk out refreshed, your mind open to all these creative avenues that are going to help solve your problems, along with a feeling of accomplishment and self-worth. It happens to me time and time again. I’ll go so far as to say going to the gym is like taking a happy pill.
Remember that everyone experiences fear and anxiety during divorce, and even after. It’s part of life. The key in managing it is focusing that energy on the things you have, the positives, and the aspects that are going to shape your bright future. And when you start thinking that way, good things begin to happen!