How does gratitude help you in a divorce? How easy is it to change how you are feeling when you may have lost everything?
Gratitude is the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness…
The thought of thanking anyone when your partner walks out on you, ends your marriage and your world seemingly falls apart seems like the last thing you want to do. The mind monkeys laden with heavy bags of negative emotions can take over and wake you up nice and early each morning. If you were anything like me it was just before 4am or before my weary head hit the pillow after another exhausting day.
So here is the thing. How do you practice gratitude if you never wanted a divorce, you don’t know what happened or went wrong and you are in a world of pain? Where do you begin? Do the words ‘thank you’ sit well with the divorce call even if it was the final nail in an unhappy marriage coffin? If divorce was the end to the daily challenges and difficulties of an unhappy marriage why would you not be practising a silent thank you? The end to many familiar arguments around your joint parenting, daily household chores and the hours spent each day you are awake asking you to question what are you doing with this person? Whatever your situation, it is time to practice gratitude and this practice is calling to you.
Whoever made the call on your relationship ending, the fact remains that scary divorce life greets you each morning and bids you goodnight. The emotions you feel surrounding your divorce can make a big impact on how your day continues and how well you sleep. If you are in the majority of the human population currently feeling stressed in life, divorce is not going to make you feel any better. You need more sleep, you want to feel happier and this is where gratitude comes in! Believe me, my divorce days got better with gratitude and I want to share with you how and why…
So the best time to practice gratitude, if you’re in the thick of divorce then is absolutely right now. If you are fed up with making all the decisions as a single parent, feeling hard done by or that nothing is working for you, try practising gratitude – for more info check out my mindfulness teacher Shamash Alidina’s blog here.
- Helps you sleep better and longer – feel-good thoughts before you sleep rather than the worries on your mind
- Lowers your stress levels – by taking your mind off the negative thoughts and focusing on the good stuff
- Makes you feel happier – because there are the smallest things in life that can make you happy – gratitude gets you into the practice of remembering
- Better physical health – you are more aware of how you can best look after your body and are grateful for all the parts working well for you during this stressful time
- Helps increase our self-esteem – we feel good about ourselves when things get tough, we remember what we did well in the day – small wins, big wins… put them all in!
So here are a few ways for you divorcing lovelies to practice gratitude and help yourself feel better through divorce daily life:
- Begin each day thinking ‘gratitude’ or a big ‘thank you’: As soon as the alarm clock goes off (you may need to set it 5 mins earlier – it is so worth it, I promise you). Then think of 5 people you are grateful for your life and who are there for you, who make you smile and who are on your ‘phone a friend’ list. These may be family members, friends, work colleagues or your divorce coach. Notice how you feel when you do this, does it feel good to know there are people who have your back – even a little – because it is lonely getting divorced. I know this.
- Write a gratitude journal: Whilst it is easy to say and hard to do on those days when you feel your world is collapsing. Did I mention – it does make a difference. Try to get into the habit of writing five things down at the end of each day that you are grateful for…
- Like the meeting with your lawyer went well
- No sh***y emails from your ex or letters from his lawyer
- You got yourself and your kids up, fed, homework completed and off to school on time
- You decided to give mediation a try
- The sky was blue for part of the day and maybe you noticed the sun came out
- You actually laughed about something with your Ex – it is still okay for this to happen
- You found a great group online and were brave enough to join…
- You decided to buy yourself a book, a bunch of flowers or cook a lovely fresh meal
- You can dig deep and thank yourself for getting through the day, maybe you resisted the need to tuck too much into the wine or chocolate
- Maybe the nice person behind the cash till at lunchtime smiled at you as they handed back your change
- Maybe you qualified for WTC and you can breathe a little more
- Your work colleagues were supportive
- You did your tax return… I could go on… and on…:)
- Share what you are grateful for with a friend or your children every night during dinner. Try to think of different things or people to be grateful for every day to keep the process fresh and make it fun. Children get really imaginative and so can you!
- Check out my Gratitude Jar practice from my children’s Mindfulness for Ninjas toolkit to encourage practising as a family, how to create one and lots more besides.
- Write a list of 100 things that are good in your life and don’t stop until you have done this. Give yourself 20 minutes, a cup of tea and get writing… keep this list and READ IT when you are feeling down.
Here are some journals that you may find helpful or you could use a simple notepad – whatever works for you… Gratitude Journal: 100 Days of Gratitude Will Change Your Life or The One-Minute Gratitude Journal or Gratitude Journal for Women: Creating Happiness, Love and a Life Worth Living or The 6-Minute Diary | 6 Minutes a Day for more Mindfulness, Happiness and Productivity | A simple and effective Gratitude Journal and Undated Daily Planner
It is the little things that make the most impact when life feels tough. Be gentle on yourself, take time out each day to say thank you, begin to rewire your neural pathways so you can think more positively. This is good for the really tough days when you need that safety net.
I practised gratitude when my life was imploding and during moments when feeling alone, vulnerable and fearful about the future. I dug deep into what was real and good in my life and present rather than worrying about what was going to happen in the future or thinking about the past.
We all have times when life feels overwhelmingly hard and taking a few minutes out every day to think of the good stuff is like a little gentle reminder to our minds that all is not lost.
PS Feel free to download My 5 Secret Divorce Tips Workbook with guidance on how to start a few other simple practices to help you through this time x