No matter the circumstances of a divorce, it can be stressful and even traumatic.
Your emotions are likely to be all over the place.
After all, it’s not easy to manage your emotions when you’re in a state of distress. Plus, in the case of divorce, it’s not as though the process is quick and easy. In some cases, it can drag on for months and months.
And even afterward, you’ll continue feeling the effects.
Thankfully, it is possible to handle the distressing emotions of divorce. Being able to do so can help you feel a lot better.
But it takes practice… and effort.
It all starts with being able to accurately identify your thoughts and feelings. Only then can you learn the skills necessary to keep them under control and even change them into something more positive.
Here are some ways to get started.
Breathe Before Reacting
The distress of divorce usually comes in waves. We may feel fine about the process one day, but something might trigger us the next day that sends us down into a spiral of negative emotions.
The problem with giving into our feelings right away is that it often causes us to react quickly. Unfortunately, these reactions usually happen without thinking and may cause us to do or say something we’ll later regret.
One way to keep your emotions from controlling you is to give yourself time before reacting to them. Breathe, and take five minutes or so to focus on that breathing and what you’re really feeling; see if you can name your emotion. You’ll start to feel calmer, and the heaviness of the emotion will start to lose its power.
Understand What Triggers You
Speaking of different triggers that bring up emotions, it’s necessary to understand what those actually are.
For example, you may start to feel angry when you see your ex-spouse. Or maybe you feel anxious when they talk to you about your children. Everyone has different triggers, and they can affect you in multiple ways.
Having a deeper understanding of your triggers can help you to recognize when they’re coming and how they impact you. As a result, you can better prepare yourself for the emotions that may start to arise within you at any given time, in fact, you can even plan ahead for triggers.
Change Emotions with Opposite Action
The idea of “Opposite Action” was introduced by Marsha Linehan, Ph.D. While the basis of opposite action might seem strange at first, it can be one of the best ways to change the emotions you really want to change.
Opposite action, as the expression indicates, means to behave in ways that are opposite of what your emotions may be telling you to do.
Every emotion has an action that goes along with it. And changing the actions that go along with your negative emotions can make a big difference and can help you in the long run. You’ll finally be able to break whatever vicious cycle may have formed throughout the emotional roller coaster of your divorce.
Obviously, this is something that takes time and practice. Thankfully, you don’t have to learn these skills on your own.
Seeking Help for Learning the Skills to Change Emotions
Dealing with a divorce is often more distressing than people realize. Being able to manage your emotions can help you to get through it and re-establish your identity in a positive way.
Of course, managing your emotions takes practice. So, you first need to learn the skills. And one of the best things you can do to achieve that is to seek out professional help.
Therapy is a great option for people going through a divorce who are having a tough time working through the distress of it all. In particular, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is an effective solution for someone going through a divorce. It can help you to accept what you’re going through and change the way you manage your emotions and deal with distress.
If you’re really struggling with your emotions and would like more information about managing them or you’re ready to learn the skills needed to do so, please don’t hesitate to contact me for an appointment, *Book Online* , or give us a call at 619-865-3203.