Thursday, 23 May 2019

If You’re Still Angry with Your Ex, Read This

Long-gestating anger will never allow you to move forward emotionally. Instead, you are hanging on to someone that hurt you in a powerful way and your emotions are still too raw for you to do anything but linger in the past.

This will not be an article about the importance and power of forgiveness. I’ve already written about my issues with that philosophy. What I will talk about, however, is the responsibility you have to yourself and your children when it comes to managing anger issues towards your ex.

Responsibility is an interesting word. By definition, it means “a state or fact of having a duty to deal with something or of having control over someone.” Is it your duty to deal with any anger that you may have towards your ex? Do you have an obligation or duty to raise and protect your children? I ask both of these question in full realization that anger towards your ex may be justified, especially if there was abuse, infidelity, abandonment or neglect of any kind. These are serious infractions. Unfortunately, the seriousness does not negate your responsibilities.

There is another question that comes to mind in this topical space. What is yourresponse ability? For your ex, it was likely lacking. Perhaps they lacked the ability to respond to frustrations in a mature and respectful manner and it led to verbal abuse. When temptation tapped them on the shoulder, they may have been the type to tap it back and disrespect you in the process. For them, responsibility and response ability were a bridge too far.

You are not them, however. As well, you are no longer with them. This already demonstrates a response ability on your part to teach people how to treat you. You also ensured that your children would not grow up watching a failed marriage play out in front of them. This is a responsibility that both parents have and yet you proved to be the role model that did the right thing. Great response ability on your part.

Without context to your situation, I, nor anyone else, can judge the validity of your anger. However, how you respond to that anger is what’s important. Do you control it or do you let it control you? When we let anger take over, there are several unintended consequences, a couple of which I would like to lay out here.

Anger unhinged will leave bodies in its wake. You may make rash decisions out of anger for your ex; decisions that negatively affect loved ones.

Samantha’s son Nathan really wants to switch weekends so that he could go on a fishing trip with his father (Rick). Samantha is still angry at Rick and is having a difficult time not letting her anger affect her decision. Nathan may suffer.

Erin has lingering anger issues with Ted. Her friends and family hear about it all the time and it puts a strain on conversations and relationships. In some cases, good friends have become complicated acquaintances.

You will never fully move forward as an individual. You and your ex have both moved on, at least physically. But long-gestating anger will never allow you to move forward emotionally. Instead, you are hanging on to someone that hurt you in a powerful way and your emotions are still too raw for you to do anything but linger in the past.

Once you are able to move past the anger, you will be able to begin channeling your emotions to a healthier, more personal journey of rediscovery and self-fulfillment. For every minute that you spend holding onto the past, that is one less minute you are moving forward.

Responsibility and response ability. Two things that you can decide to co-mingle or segregate. We all have responsibilities but not all of us have the response ability. There’s you, your children, your family, your friends, and your ex. Who within the many of these peeps deserves the least amount of your mental attention pointed in their direction? I think we both know the answer to this question.


Wednesday, 22 May 2019

6 Easy Ways To Be A Whole Lot More Optimistic About Anything

If you're a pessimist, you can vault yourself into a worst-case scenario in a nanosecond. You get an invitation to dinner from a new neighbor, and you imagine an awkward meal, followed by a lifetime of mutual dislike right on your own block. New clothes are a torment, lying in wait for a ruinous dab of salad dressing. A trip to one of the most beautiful ski resorts in the country? At best, you'll be miserably cold or break an ankle; at worst, you'll wind up snow-blind.

Negativity may appear to be a great defense mechanism: If you keep your expectations low enough, you won't be crushed when things don't work out. But recent research has revealed that the tendency to be a wet blanket in just about any situation—a trait the experts call "dispositional pessimism"—doesn't merely ruin a good time and prevent you from making friends. It seems that it's a bad strategy by about every measure. Optimists, it turns out, do better in most avenues of life, whether it's work, school, sports, or relationships. They get depressed less often than pessimists do, make more money, and have happier marriages (you won't want to miss these 5 secrets for a happy marriage—from a couple who met 84 years ago).

And not only in the short run. There's evidence that optimists live longer, too. A 9-year study of cardiovascular health in more than 900 men and women in the Netherlands found that pessimists not only die sooner of heart disease than optimists, but they also die sooner of just about everything. And pessimism has even been linked to higher odds of developing dementia.

Fortunately, a grim outlook doesn't have to be permanent. Leading researchers say that optimism and pessimism are two ends of a continuum, with about 80% of the US population scattered from mildly to relentlessly optimistic. But research reveals that if you're hunkered down on the other end, you can slide on over—or at least get some of the benefits that usually cluster on the optimistic side of the scale, says Suzanne Segerstrom, PhD, an optimism researcher at the University of Kentucky and author of Breaking Murphy's Law. It takes only a few changes. They're small, gradual—and not what you'd expect.

Don't try to be happy.

In one of Segerstrom's favorite studies, researchers asked a group of people to use a beautiful piece of classical music to raise their moods, while telling other volunteers simply to listen to the symphony. The result: The concert didn't help those who were focused on lifting their spirits—but the others wound up feeling much better.

"To truly be happy, you have to stop trying," says Segerstrom (it's true; naturally happy people never do these 6 things). Even monitoring yourself—Am I feeling better yet?—gets in the way, studies show.

Instead, aim to be engaged. "Engagement bypasses pessimism," she says. One reason: When you're fully involved in something, it can distract you from a pessimist's favorite pastime—rumination. (That's what psychologists call the destructive pattern of obsessing endlessly over problems or concerns.) When you're ruminating, it's not just a bad day—it's always a bad day, and a bad life, and you're a bad person. The habit will blow up even a minor problem to billboard size. It takes up so much bandwidth, who has room to focus on a solution? It's no surprise that optimists accomplish more than pessimists.

Attitude adjustment: Find quick distractions you can use when you realize you're stuck on the same negative thought, suggests Segerstrom. Try activities that demand your full attention: Go to a yoga class (or a kickboxing or aerobics class, where you have to commit fully to avoid falling on your face). At the office, try calling a friend or switching on some absorbing music.

Imagine that it's the end of the world.

Ruminating is just one road to pessimism. Another habit that dims your outlook: a process called catastrophizing, mentally rewriting grim possibilities until they become true doomsday scenarios. A simple cough turns into pneumonia (and not the kind you recover from, either). One missed deadline is the first step in a fast trip to permanent unemployment.
This rumination-and-catastrophization combo packs a terrible one-two punch: Worst-case scenarios may be absurd, but playing them over and over makes them seem not only logical but inevitable. And it sucks the joy out of life.

Attitude adjustment: Exaggerate those scenarios to the point of comic hilarity, says Karen Reivich, PhD, codirector of the Penn Resiliency Project at the University of Pennsylvania and coauthor of The Resilience Factor. "At some point you think, Oh, come on, now. Am I really going to be living beneath an underpass in a refrigerator box because I'm a day late on a project?" 

Don't stop with the refrigerator box. Picture yourself trying to trap squirrels for supper—maybe even whipping up some squirrel fondue for the other bag ladies you've met under the bridge. Then paint the opposite scenario. Your project makes your company a million dollars! You're promoted to CEO! Finally, write down the outcome that's most likely. Chances are, it won't include the executive suite—or the one under the freeway.
"The beauty of this goofing around is that you feel a bit of power over your thoughts and the situation," Reivich says. "That sense of control is the antidote to pessimism."

Go ahead, blame someone else.

Researchers have learned that optimism and pessimism both boil down to little more than our "explanatory" style—a person's distinct way of interpreting life's ups and downs. When a good thing happens, pessimists dismiss it as a fluke; optimists take the credit. When bad things happen, pessimists blame themselves and expect to suffer a long time, while optimists see bad events as having little to do with them, and as one-time problems that will pass quickly. A pessimist who misses a shot on the tennis court says, "I'm lousy at tennis"; an optimist says, "My opponent has a killer serve."

University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin E. P. Seligman, PhD, author of Learned Optimism and a pioneer of positive psychology, was the first to discover that a person's explanatory style is fairly stable—and that it often explains why pessimists fail when optimists succeed. After all, it's easier to keep practicing your tennis serve if you're sure you'll do fine against someone at your level.

Thanks to the power of their explanatory style, optimists have an easier time even when things go wrong. Optimistic breast cancer patients are just as depressed by bad news as their pessimistic counterparts, researchers have found. But women with an optimistic disposition are more likely to expect their cancer ordeal to have a positive outcome, studies show; not surprisingly, these women report significantly greater emotional well-being during treatment, while pessimists suffer more distress. 

The good news: Researchers have found that pessimistic, self-blaming people can learn to come up with alternative explanations for setbacks and move forward to problem solving. However, making a long-term mindset switch takes continuous effort.

Attitude adjustment: When you catch yourself thinking like a pessimist, reframe the problem so that it's not all your fault. Instead of standing alone at a party thinking, No one is interested in talking with me—I look pathetic! try something like Where's the hostess? I'd never let a newcomer fend for herself without making introductions!
Of course, a true optimist wouldn't go looking for a scapegoat—and you do have to acknowledge your contribution to a problem if you want to make it better. But it helps to recognize that you're not the problem, even if your behavior could use some tweaking. Finally, set a small, achievable goal: Find that hostess and ask her to introduce you to three people at the party.

Try, try again.

Why do optimists tend to end up with so much to feel good about? Long after pessimists have given up and gone home, optimists keep trying to solve problems. In one study, optimists continued to work on unscrambling an impossible-to-solve anagram 50 to 100% longer than pessimists.

There wasn't a lot of payoff for persistence in the anagram exercise (and the pessimists are still thinking, suckers!). But in the real world, studies show that persistence leads to more success in school, a fatter paycheck, and a host of other perks.

In fact, in a study of law students, Segerstrom found that a person's level of optimism in the first year of law school corresponded with his or her salary 10 years later. The impact wasn't measly: On a 5-point optimism scale, every 1-point increase in optimism translated into a $33,000 bump in annual income.

Attitude adjustment: The quickest way to get yourself into the positive-feedback loop that keeps optimists going strong (hard work leads to success, which leads to more self-confidence and a willingness to work even harder, which leads to...) is to act like one. What's more, studies looking at the "fake it till you make it" approach show that it can have a surprisingly strong—and immediate—impact on your emotions. In research at Wake Forest University, for example, scientists asked a group of 50 students to act like extroverts for 15 minutes in a group discussion, even if they didn't feel like it. The more assertive and energetic the students acted, the happier they were.

What's best about this kind of cognitive-behavioral change is that it doesn't even require much faith, Segerstrom says. "You don't have to believe an antibiotic is going to work for it to work." The same is true of reaping the benefits of adopting a positive mindset. 

Make friends with an optimist.

If you're not in the mood for playacting, hooking up with an optimist may be the next best strategy. A yearlong study of more than 100 college-age couples from the University of Oregon found that both positive thinkers and their partners have greater satisfaction in their relationships than optimist-free pairs, in part because happy-go-lucky types tend to see their partners as supportive.

"If you are the partner of an optimist, both of you will be more satisfied in the relationship and more constructive in resolving conflicts," says Sanjay Srivastava, PhD, lead researcher on the study. It's not that a rosy worldview is contagious, it's just that you'll feel more positive about the relationship.

Attitude adjustment: Besides "slipstreaming" on your partner's optimism, socialize with cheery friends and bounce ideas off your more positive colleagues; research hints that these kinds of relationships with up-side types can make you feel better, too. And if you happen to be married to a pessimist, or are on your own? Your optimistic friends and coworkers are your best sounding board.

Try these 3 quick, feel-good moves:

You don't have to spend years in therapy to become more positive. Studies have shown that these three strategies take just 1 week to make a real improvement, according Seligman.

Use your signature strengths in a new way: Researchers asked study participants about their top five strengths—generosity, for instance, or creativity—and then told them to use one of these strengths in a new and different way every day for 1 week. The result? The volunteers measurably increased their happiness for a full 6 months.

Write down the good things: Every day, a group of adults was asked to write down three things that had gone well and why they happened. And again, even though the experiment lasted only 1 week, participants reported feeling happier for 6 months afterward.

Pay a gratitude visit: People were given 1 week to write and then deliver a letter of gratitude in person to someone who had been especially kind to them, but whom they had never thanked properly. The happiness boost from this experiment lasted about 1 month.


Tuesday, 21 May 2019

8 Ways to Finally Stop Wasting Your Time Hating Your Ex

Hating your ex is only hurting you.

You’ve done it! You’ve finally created a post-divorce life for yourself that you love. And honestly, things are absolutely perfect. Well, perfect except for one thing – you still hate your ex.

Hating your ex for a while as you heal from your divorce is part of the process. But when the hatred doesn’t abate despite moving on in every other way, it’s time to re-evaluate the energy you’re continuing to invest in the animosity.

The fact that you still hate your ex reflects all the hurt you felt about the end of your marriage and/or your ex’s behavior before, during and after the end. And these are valid reasons to seriously dislike, mistrust, and/or wish your ex would fall off the face of the planet.

But the more time, effort and emotional energy you spend hating your ex, the less time, effort and emotional energy you have for you and your nearly perfect new life. And seriously, your ex doesn’t deserve any more of you, do they?

So now it’s time to put the detestation behind you and stop investing in the past.

Here are 8 tips to help you move on if you still hate your ex:

Get Grateful.

Start focusing on what’s good about your life now. Any time your mind wanders to the past and what did or didn’t happen, remember that today you’ve got a great life and shift your attention to what’s good.

Take a time-out from technology.

Being connected is a fact of life and has its benefits and detriments. And technology has a couple significant drawbacks when you’re still hating your ex.

First, the ability to connect 24/7 increases the likelihood of yet another argument with your ex. Second, the ability to keep tabs on what your ex is doing.

Neither of these is necessary or good for you, so do what you have to do to eliminate being constantly connected to your ex and the temptation to cyberstalk them.

Curb the caffeine.

Caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline which stimulates the fight, flight or freeze response. So when you know you will need to interact with your ex, cut down on your caffeine consumption and you’ll find that you are more able to keep your cool.

Stop the negative self-talk.

When you load yourself up with negativity about you, it’s really easy to want to shift the focus (and blame) from you to your ex which only exacerbates your extreme dislike. So learn to stop the negative chatter about you and you’ll start being less vulnerable to your ex’s antics.

Get sufficient slumber.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that if you don’t get enough sleep, you tend are grumpier the next day.

Well, if you’ve already got plenty of reasons for still hating your ex, then cheating yourself out of the rest and recovery that sleep offers will just make you that much more prone to continuing your hatred because you’re too exhausted to try something different.

Change your perspective.

You’ve already had to change your perspective about so many things because of your divorce. Choosing to change how you feel about your ex is just another one of the perspectives you’ll be better off changing that continuing to center on.

(And changing your perspective doesn’t mean that you’re going to forget. It just means that you’re not going to focus on the negativity anymore.)

Set boundaries.

There’s no reason why you can’t come up with appropriate limits to how and when you will engage with your ex.

(Obviously, if you have kids your engagement with your ex will be much greater than if you don’t.)

Stay aware of your emotions.

Hate is a very strong emotion. When you’re stuck hating your ex, it’s very easy for the hatred to seem to take on a life of its own. That’s when you know you have a habit, an unconscious reflexive emotion of hatred toward your ex.

By staying aware of your emotions, you’ll be able to catch yourself in the habit of hostility and choose to change your thoughts as you consciously move on from hating your ex.

Employing these 8 tips won’t cause you to immediately stop hating your ex. But they will get you on the correct path for finally moving past the hatred and hurt.

And if you find that after working these 8 tips on your own for a while that you’re still stuck hating your ex, then it’s time to reach out for some help. There are plenty of divorce professionals who can help you overcome your hatred.

Your time is precious – arguably the most precious resource you have. You’ve already invested so much time into your ex and the marriage you had. You don’t need to continue to spend any more of your life hating your ex.

You deserve to fully enjoy the wonderful new life you’ve created for yourself without your ex ever taking anymore undeserved focus again.


Monday, 20 May 2019

6 Kinds Of Adversity, And How To Overcome Them

Our troubles don’t define us. However, the way we handle them does. 

Because of that, we should always be aware of the kinds of adversity we might face in our lives, and understand the tools and techniques that can be used to overcome them.

Adversity comes in many different forms. Here are six kinds of trials you might face, and what you can do to get out the other side.

1. Physical Adversity

A physical disability is the most obvious example of physical adversity. The quarterback who breaks his spine during a football game and is suddenly stuck in a wheelchair faces a number of new challenges and a drastic change to the way he lives his life.

There are less drastic but similarly problematic types of physical adversity, as well. Handicaps like chronic pain, fatigue and obesity force people to fight to achieve a sense of normalcy in their lives.

Whether they’re unable to exercise how they want to, have to more carefully monitor their health or have to deal with other limitations most of us will never know, those with some type of physical adversity face barriers that are not easily overcome.

What can people do to handle their specific situations, other than seeking out magical cures? There are a lot of options for coping with physical limitations, big and small.

A priority should first be put on coming to terms with your condition. Accept that it’s a part of your life (at least for now) and that you’ll be facing struggles that most others won’t. Don’t obsess over how it’s not “fair.” Rather, learn to live with the adversity without feeling bitter about it.

On that same note, you need to consistently take good care of yourself. Whatever steps you can take to manage your health, physical and otherwise, you should take. Regular exercise, a healthy diet and positive thinking are all necessary components to doing well.

If that still isn’t enough, look for support groups made up of people going through similar circumstances. There are services from such organizations as Overeaters Anonymous, the American Chronic Pain Association and more to help you find a community of individuals who can relate to how you’re feeling.

2. Mental Adversity

Just like a physical handicap might limit you, so can a mental problem.

Being properly treated by psychiatrists and psychologists is obviously crucial to managing your mental health, but there are steps you need to take beyond going to the doctor. If you’re dealing with mental anguish, routines are your friend. Get in a pattern of waking up, exercising and especially taking your medication at the same times of day.

Another key aspect of handling mental health problems is to never give up on the idea of getting better. Things can be rough for a while, sometimes quite a while, but there’s always something new you can try to improve your well-being.

Work with a doctor on adjusting your medications and adding supplements. Keep trying different kinds of meditation and mindfulness techniques until you find something that works for you. Confront your problems.

If something stops being as effective, go back to the well to find something that will do the trick. Keep looking, and you will eventually find sanctuary.

3. Emotional Adversity

Most of us desperately need to learn how to have our feelings without letting them overcome us. Emotional maturity comes from experience and an effective state of mind. Those who don’t have that maturity face more difficulties in life.

A very common, very human problem is for people to undervalue themselves. Those individuals need to learn how to improve their self-worth.

Another emotion that can overwhelm us is rage. Schools don’t teach you how to forgive, even if they should. You have to figure that out for yourself or find guidance elsewhere.
Every emotion, no matter how fierce, can be tamed. Learn to tame yours through the resources available to you (this Huffington Post article is a great one) and by keeping a watchful eye on them in case they flare up.

4. Social Adversity

How we interact with people is paramount to our success. Life is awfully lonely without friends by your side1. You can’t get a promotion at work if your boss doesn’t enjoy being around you.

That means that anyone who doesn’t have certain social skills is at a major disadvantage. People who are “awkward” (such as those that fall somewhere on the autism spectrum) face major and sometimes insurmountable hurdles to succeed in either their personal or professional lives.

What can people do to handle social problems? There are creative and surprising things you can do when you’re lonely. Likewise, there are programs and self-help books that will help you improve your social game. Almost anyone can benefit from a little study and practice into how to improve their people skills.

5. Spiritual Adversity

Faith in some kind of a higher power is generally an advantage in life. That higher power doesn’t even have to be a god. People who believe strongly in the human spirit, the power of community or something equally important will often attain a sense of peace that a lot of others do not.

If you don’t have that, find it. Enrich yourself by embracing something that you think matters. 
If you already have some kind of faith but feel it slipping, return to the core of why you put your faith into it.

6. Financial Adversity

One of the most obvious kinds of adversity is when you don’t have the money to afford a certain lifestyle. There is no quick way to go from rags to riches, but there are steps you can take to improve your financial well-being.

Learning new skills doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Oftentimes you can make more from a trade school than you can from a university.

Additionally, there are plenty of ways to learn new skills! Night school at a community college is fairly affordable. is a wonderful service that teaches you marketable skills for as low as $25 a month. If you make a small investment and spend a few hours a week learning, you can head down a whole new career trajectory.

There are also effective ways to set a budget. We’ve recommended Mint before, because of its versatility, ease of use and ability to track your spending habits. But really, any kind of budget plan can get you a long way.

It’s not easy. No one is saying it is. But, if you have the willpower and mental fortitude, you can move yourself beyond your current means.

Sometimes your adversity will be too complicated for one category to contain. Physical symptoms might accompany a mental health issue. At times you have financial problems specifically because of your difficulty socializing/networking.

Even if your adversity is multi-pronged, look at the suggestions given in this article and see how they can apply to your situation. Keep in mind that there’s a lot of crossover between the strategies to fight different struggles. Mix and match them until you find a way to face and surpass the challenges that are holding you back from success.


Friday, 17 May 2019

6 Actions You Can Take Every Day to Build Your Self-Confidence

Even the greatest leaders lack self-confidence at certain times. Self-confidence is not a static quality; rather, it’s a mindset that takes effort to maintain when the going gets rough. It must be learned, practiced and mastered just like any other skill. But once you master it, you will be changed for the better.

Here are six effective ways to promote your own self-confidence.

1. Act the part.

Your body language can instantly demonstrate self-assuredness, or it can scream insecurity. Present yourself in a way that says you are ready to master or take command of any situation. If you look confident and act the part you aspire to reach, you’ll not only feel in control, people will have much more confidence in you as well.

Hold your head high, sit up straight, gently bring your shoulders back to align your spine and look directly at the other person when interacting. Avoid a limp handshake and maintain good eye contact while someone is speaking to you.

2. Dress the part.

When you look better, you feel better. If you choose clothing and accessories that fit you well, suit your industry and lifestyle, and make you feel good, this will automatically increase your self-esteem. Look like the part you want to play, or in other words, suit up for success. Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine in your accessories. Bold jewelry or a colorful tie can be a focal point and a good conversation starter.

3. Speak assertively.

The next time you listen to your favorite speaker, be mindful of the way he or she delivers a speech. A great speaker speaks confidently, in a steady, rhythmic tone. Instead of the “ums” and “ahs” that interrupt flow, they use pauses to emphasize ideas.
Adopt an assertive, but not aggressive, way of speaking that indicates your self-confidence. You will feel your self-esteem begin to rise. To be taken seriously, avoid high-pitched, nervous chatter or twittering giggles in your speech. People will listen to you more attentively when they see the leader radiate from within you.

4. Think and act positively.

Positive energy leads to positive outcomes, so set your mind to the can-do side of any situation, avoiding the negative self-talk that can make you feel less confident. Smile, laugh and surround yourself with happy, positive people. You’ll feel better and the people with whom you work will enjoy your company.

Keep a gratitude journal to remind yourself of the high points of your day and your accomplishments. You will develop more peace and confidence when you are in a grateful state of mind.

5. Take action.

There’s more to being confident than just how you look. You must act the part. Walk up to a stranger at a networking event, or accept a project you’d normally reject. Practice being self-confident and soon it will become second nature.

Inaction breeds doubt and fear, while action breeds confidence and courage. As an exercise, jot down your strengths and weaknesses. Most people will tell you to work on your weaknesses, but use what you've got and capitalize on your strengths instead. Once you put more energy into your positive traits, your confidence will start to shine through.

6. Be prepared.

Remember the five P’s: Prior planning prevents poor performance. The more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll feel about your expertise and competency. Preparation will help you avoid getting tripped up by life’s unexpected glitches.

Learn everything you can about your industry, your subject matter, your goals and what drives you towards success. Before you start a task, first imagine how you want to feel once you’ve completed it. Don’t try to accomplish too much at once. Break complex tasks up into small, bite-size, manageable pieces.

As U.S. Army General Creighton Williams Abrams Jr. once said, “When eating an elephant take one bite at a time.” If you have patience and perseverance, you are only steps away from a more confident you.


Thursday, 16 May 2019

Divorce Can Cause Mental Health Issues

Mental health has always been a bit of a taboo subject as it has in the past been associated with being crazy or needing to be locked away in a padded cell. However, the truth is that mental health is just another way of saying “emotional health” or “well-being”.

It affects all of us during our lives as every time we go through a tough or challenging time, suffer a trauma, or endure a stressful situation, our mental health is affected. Common side effects of these difficult times will be feeling sad, anxious, scared or frightened. Some people can cope better than others and bounce back after a short period of time. However, for others it goes deeper and takes longer to recover, or they may become stuck with the negative emotions taking a strong hold over their life.

It is refreshing to hear Prince Harry and Prince William talk openly about their own mental health issues that have plagued them over the last 20 years, since the death of their mother. They are well respected young role models and are demonstrating that this can happen to anyone, no matter who you are.

Divorce is often referred to as the second most traumatic life experience after death of a loved one. It can rock the strongest of people to the core and turn your whole life upside down. So, it is hardly surprising that it can lead to mental health issues if the negative emotions and sudden challenges you find yourself having to cope with are not dealt with properly.

There are so many issues that will occupy your mind during a break-up including:

Heartbreak - the pain of losing a loved one and the fear of never being loved again
Betrayal - the broken promises
Conflict - the arguments over the split, money and children
Legal - learning how to work with a lawyer and deal with the huge amount of paperwork
Uncertainty - not knowing your financial situation, where you will be living, lifestyle changes
Negative emotions - sadness, depression, anxiety, stress, overwhelm are all common side effects
Parenting - learning to be a single parent, co-parenting and having to be strong when you feel weak
Career - managing a job or career when you have to make decisions, lead a team and be on form
Friends - finding out who your true friends are, disappointment as friends don’t step up to support you or difficult choices as you must let them go

These are just some of the challenges that a break-up can cause as the ripple effect of your break-up affects the whole of your life. Some people find it easier to manage stress and have a natural ability to turn things around. However, this doesn’t mean that they don’t feel the pain, they are just more able to control their emotions and keep a positive outlook.

Other people will struggle to find a light at the end of the tunnel and will become all consumed with their negative emotions. This will negatively impact on their ability to manage in other areas of their life too. It is easy to become stuck and to believe that your life will never be the same again, especially if you don’t have a good support system around you to help you find your way.

So, raising awareness of mental health issues is a great way to show people that it is ok to ask for help. You are not alone in your suffering and there are many other experiencing the same symptoms.

In fact, I created my break-up and divorce coaching programme having been through some dark times myself. The end of my relationship left me feeling alone, scared and frightened of what lay ahead. I was terrified I would never find love again or that I would never even feel happy again. My confidence and self-esteem was in tatters and I doubted my own ability to make simple decisions, yet alone the life changing ones that my lawyers were asking me to make daily. I felt my whole world was shattered and I had no idea how I would be able to piece it back together again.

But the good news is that it is possible. There are techniques and strategies you can use to help you grab back control over your life again and help you to get back on track. It’s not always easy and that’s why you take it step by step and one day at a time.

Please don’t be afraid to ask for help and it is out there and you can feel happy again. 
Having been there myself I understand what it means to be struggling with mental health issues, but I can also say that you can get through it. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and you can be happy again.


Wednesday, 15 May 2019

How to Let Go of Your Ex After a Break-Up

“He left me. He said he didn’t love me anymore and just walked out.” A client sobbed on the sofa in my clinic a six months ago. Her heart had been completely broken by her partner of 11 years. (I have changed names and some scenarios to protect confidentiality)

She was completely overwhelmed with sadness and an acute sense of loss. She had a high flying career and was angry at herself for falling apart yet she had no control over the crying or the obsessing over what she might have done wrong.

The truth is that she had suspected for the last 18months that something was wrong. Her ex, who I shall call James, had become gradually more distant and less affectionate. He had always bought flowers home on a Friday but that dwindled, as did other little gestures that she used to take for granted like a cup of tea in bed on Sunday’s and buying her the latest book from her favourite author when it came out.

At first Susie had been too busy to really notice but over time she started to feel sad about it. Whenever she brought it up he told her he was sorry and that he had been busy too. Whenever they argued about it and she said she didn’t feel as loved by him anymore he would accuse her of being too demanding.

Their sex life petered out in the last six months but she assumed it was all down to the length of their relationship and that it was natural that sex would not be as frequent after 11 years. Susie busied herself in work and tried not to think about it. After all they still had a good circle of friends and a fun social life together so it wasn’t all bad.

So the break-up hit her like a freight train. She felt broken inside and her self confidence was at rock bottom. Susie came to see me to find out how to feel better as James had made it clear he was not coming back. She felt partly responsible and wishes she had done more about the problems and not allowed them to fester.

The interesting thing about heart break is that it really physically hurts inside. It’s an exquisite pain that can grab hold of you and paralyse you from moving forward with your life. The good news is that there are lots of things you can do to help you let go of your ex. It’s not easy but with practice and a determination to get back in control of your feelings will help you to get there.

Don’t be afraid to face any negative emotions. It’s ok to cry and actually helps you to heal. It’s all part of the loss cycle and a natural part of your recovery process. It’s normal to grieve the loss of your relationship. Susie was so relieved to find this out that she relaxed. She had thought she was depressed and would never feel happier. But the truth is that sadness is part of the natural recovery process.

The key to letting go of your ex is to change your focus from the past and what happened to the future and put your energy and attention into creating your new single life. Stop telling your sad story to everyone who will listen and start to talk about all the new things you want to achieve and have in your life. Susie had been talking about her break-up for hours with her mum and best friend. They meant well but actually gave her negative reinforcement as they were hurt and angry too. Susie and I worked on some exciting new goals that she wanted to create for her future. It gave her a new focus with her mum and best friend and they were able to support her in a more positive way.

Make some changes to the way you do things, especially your daily routine. This will enable you to experience new things and not end up doing the same things alone that you used to do together. You could introduce a morning walk or move some furniture around in your home which will give the room a fresh feel. Even little changes can make a huge immediate impact on how you are feeling. Susie decided to clear out James’ clothes from the wardrobe and pack them away. Whilst this was tough for her to do she felt much better immediately after.

Write a bucket list of all the things you would love to do over the next 12 months but you would never have been able to whilst in your relationship. Turn your loneliness into a sense of freedom to do things that make you happy. Susie had always fancied going on a fitness retreat but James was horrified at that idea and preferred to lie by a beach. So she booked herself 5 days on a retreat abroad and came back fitter, more confident in herself and with a tan. She carried it through into her daily routine and joined a gym as she recognised how having a healthy body gave her more mental strength and a better ability to move forward with her life.

Susie now has the tools and techniques to feel better and move forward with her life. She feels back in control of her emotions and has created a future she is excited to live and is loving it.

She still pops into my clinic from time to time as new challenges arise as she now appreciates the importance of dealing with issues immediately and not allowing them to fester. She came in recently as she felt ready to start dating again and wanted some help to get started. She has let go of James and is ready to start looking for a new love.

Letting go of your ex is never easy if you loved them deeply. They may always hold a place in your heart, however this place should be pain-free and full of happy memories.