Dealing with the difficult process of grieving a failed marriage is one of the most traumatic life experiences you’ll ever undertake. Your grieving will begin long before you ever get to the divorce decree and will probably last well beyond it too.
You don’t have to remain mired in your misery over the end of your marriage and the life you knew. There are things you can do to help you heal and move through your heartache, so you can feel better.
In fact, here are seven things to do when dealing with grief to help you heal:
1. Research the stages of grief Learning about the different stages of grief will help you heal from divorce because you’ll have an idea of what to expect.
You won’t necessarily go through all of the stages in the same order as someone else. However, the knowledge you gain by this research will help you know that what you’re experiencing is normal and allow you to focus less on fear and more on feeling better.
2. Learn from the experience of others There will be times when the heartache you’re experiencing is overwhelming. And one of the most soothing things to do when dealing with grief, is to remember that although everyone’s divorce experience is different, the pain that it causes is similar. Hearing other people’s experience of divorce is incredibly comforting because you’ll immediately know you’re not alone in your pain.
The easiest ways to learn about other people’s divorce stories is by reading about them online, joining a divorce support group and/or making an appointment with a therapist or divorce coach who has personally experienced divorce.
3. Keep a journal People experience the stages of grief in different orders, and some people skip a step or two altogether. Keeping track of your journey through the stages of grief is another thing to do when dealing with grief from divorce. This practice can help you understand how far you’ve come and mentally prepare you for what lies ahead.
4. Speak to friends and family who love you Have honest and open discussions about what you’re experiencing as you heal from your divorce with the people close to you. Talking about your feelings can help them understand not only what you’re going through, but also how they can best support you.
5. Be kind to yourself Divorce is traumatic and recovering from your heartbreak won’t be cut and dried. Before you come out on the other side of your divorce grief you’ll do an awkward dance of “one step forward and ten steps back.” So, know that when you do take a step or two back every once in a while, it is a normal part of the healing process.
Giving yourself some slack is one of the most important things to do when dealing with grief about divorce.
6. Exercise, fuel your body, and rest Your physical well-being is largely influenced by your emotional state. Eating enough healthy food, getting enough rest and exercising regularly are basic requirements for dealing with any kind of grief.
However, it’s important that strike the right balance for you. It is possible to overdo and underdo caring for your physical well-being when you’re dealing with the heartbreak of divorce. Pay attention to what your body needs in addition to how you feel emotionally and you’ll find your way to best caring for yourself.
7. Run with the lessons you have learned Another useful thing to do while dealing with the grief of divorce is pausing to assess what you’re learning about yourself. When you do, you’re likely to realize that you have emotional strengths you couldn’t have imagined at the beginning of your divorce journey – before you had to survive the hurt, anger, despair and fear.
It does get better! I’ve done it and every one of my clients has done it too.
Doing everything you can to deal with the excruciating pain of divorce may not be glamorous and may involve a lot of ugly crying, but there is a reward for all your efforts.
For surviving one of the most brutal processes possible, you’ll be awarded the qualities of acceptance and hope. You’ll slowly regain interest in your life and accept that the one you’ve been grieving will make way for a different life that is at least as fulfilling as the one you’ve said goodbye to.
Every experience in our lives leaves its mark. You can utilize the negative experience of your divorce to leave a positive mark on the rest of your life.
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