Four Steps to Emotionally Let Go after a Divorce
Divorce is a split — and not just between you and your partner. The healing process for you, even if you’re the one who initiated the divorce, will take time.
In order to emotionally let go after a divorce, you must make a commitment to fall in love with yourself and learn about you. Before you entered into this relationship, you were an individual. Remember that you are a worthy human with unique qualities, interests, and skills. Treat your divorce as an opportunity to fall in love with yourself again. Why do your friends love you? What do you love to do? What are the little moments in your day that make you happy? Work off of this momentum and invest in loving yourself without limits. Create a plan for healing. The first step: forgive yourself.
Stop calling yourself names and being hard on yourself. Remember that divorce is a huge transition and it is not easy for anyone. Forgiving yourself and acting as your own best friend is the first step to healing. If you cannot nurture yourself, how can you allow someone else to? Each morning after you brush your teeth, look in the mirror and say, “I forgive you.” This may feel awkward at first, but it’s a powerful psychological exercise that we all need to practice whether we’re going through a breakup or not.
Identify and Work Through Ruminating Thoughts
In order to successfully emotionally let go and release from a relationship, you will eventually have to process your emotions. Depending on the details of your marriage, you may feel anger, guilt, regret, and sadness, but you may also feel freedom, courage, and contentment. All of your emotions are valid and you should not be ashamed of how you feel. Work on identifying just what it is you are feeling. This allows you to review, reflect, and remember your relationship. You can do this in whatever way works for you: journaling, talking to friends, seeing a therapist or counselor, meditating, etc. but start by noticing what thoughts you ruminate on, this will lead you to the root of your emotions.
The process of identifying and working through emotions helps you regain strength and control. Once you identify how you feel, begin to release the residual effects of each emotion. This can be a continuation of the first step, maybe you simply need to write out why you feel this way and that is enough to release the thoughts or maybe you need to have clear conversations with the parties involved to allow yourself some closure. If you aren’t able to work through these emotions on your own, schedule a few counseling sessions. The sooner you chip away at what and why you are feeling a certain way, the sooner you allow yourself to heal.
Heal Mentally By Pushing Yourself Physically
Emotional healing happens in multiple ways. Keeping up with repetitive thoughts and emotions zaps us of energy. It’s tiring to process a big change. It may seem counterintuitive, but exercising will restore that vitality. When you exercise, you increase the amount of oxygen in your system, your lung capacity increases, and both of which allows your blood to circulate more efficiently. This delivers more oxygen to your muscles, which increases the functioning throughout your entire system and a heightens energy production. In short, you are replacing your depleted mental energy with increased physical energy. This will help you better manage your stress, fall asleep easier at night, and keep your endorphins and serotonin supply up.
Exercising for a little bit each day also signals to self that you’re making progress. You don’t need to join a gym. Simply ask yourself what activities make you feel alive and well and incorporate a few minutes into your day. A walk around the block? Taking a bike ride? Pumping out a few crunches and pushups while you watch your favorite evening show? Any amount of exercise is a step in the right direction to emotionally let go. Bonus points if the activity takes place outside as nature is neurologically proven to reduce stress.
Realize You Are Not Alone
Remember that you are not alone. There are millions of people in your situation. People that are trying to emotionally let go. If you need to reach out for help in your journey to emotional healing, call a friend, family member, or join a meetup group. Many support groups are based on activities and interests such as hiking, wine tasting, travel, etc. If you don’t want to sit in a circle and chat about your divorce, you don’t have to, but connect with people in similar situations and allow their progress to inspire your own.
Emotionally healing from a divorce is completely in your hands. It is a time to release the dreams and hopes of the unknowable future that you once held. It is a time to let go of self-defeating beliefs, beliefs, and thoughts about situations of which you do not have control. The sooner you are mindful of your thoughts and emotions and take steps to work through them, the sooner you regain control of your present and future life while developing self-love and respect along the way.
A divorce can be extremely painful and emotional healing is tough. If you need help meeting individuals who feel like you or want to get advice from professionals, register for our next monthly workshop at Second Saturday Wake County.