Anxiety 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. Between worry about children, finances, living alone, the divorce process itself, maintaining a relationship with your ex, and dating, stress levels can go off the charts! The good news is, there are ways of dealing with divorce anxiety.
Some people go on medication to deal with divorce anxiety. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Other ways of dealing with divorce anxiety include exercise, yoga, meditation, lifestyle choices, therapy, faith and something I’m going to address below—thinking differently.
Here are 9 things you might be thinking during your divorce, and 9 ways to think differently and ultimately help you in dealing with divorce anxiety:
1. 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 insignificant at some point.
2. I’m really scared. (or as my teenage son says, “I’m tweakin'”)
I have the power to recognize that fear is normal, but manageable. I also have the ability to use fear to drive me, motivate me, and energize me to achieve great things.
3. My financial picture seems bleak.
Everyone feels insecure about money during a divorce, even really wealthy people. The key is to stay calm, and have a plan. I need to talk to a financial planner and have him or her help me figure out how much income I have, my total assets, how much I spend, and what I need to be financially secure. Then I might have to make changes. Spending changes, or getting a job. But it’s OK! I am smart and I will address it. I got this.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Dealing with my ex can be so difficult.
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.
7. It’s hard to be a single mom (or dad). I feel alone sometimes.
Yes, it is hard. But 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.
8. 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? I will figure it out when I choose to do so.
9. Getting older isn’t easy.
It isn’t. That said, I am going to focus on what I can control: staying healthy and enjoying my life and people I love. Age is out of my control. Happiness is in my control.
I have one last suggestion for dealing with divorce anxiety: Go directly to the gym.
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 divorce anxiety, during and even after divorce. It’s part of life. The key in dealing with divorce anxiety 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!
Like this article? Check out “20 Things I Wish I could Have Told My Newly Separated Self”