Tuesday, 14 August 2018

How to Know When Divorce Is The Right Choice

Getting divorced is a deeply personal decision, and you shouldn't make it in haste. If you are contemplating ending your marriage, you may be struggling to face up to the potential consequences of your actions. You may be wondering if it would be easier to stay married than to deal with the emotional turmoil and financial pressures of divorce. If you have children, you may want to stay together for their sake. Every situation is different, and ultimately, you are the only person who can decide whether divorce is the right choice.

Step 1

Ask yourself what would be your reasons for staying married. If you have an objective in mind that you could achieve if you were able to work through the problems in the marriage, your relationship is more likely to last, says Susan Pease Gadoua, author of "Contemplating Divorce." You could set a positive goal to maintain a secure, two-parent family for your children or to work through your trust issues to improve your relationship and your self-esteem. If your main reason for staying married stems from an avoidance of difficult emotions, the marriage is less likely to survive, says Gadoua. Staying married because you are scared of being alone or you can't bear the thought of spending time apart from your children is not likely to lead to long-term happiness.

Step 2

Make sure you have done everything possible to improve the relationship. If both parties are committed to working through issues to create a healthier relationship, the marriage may be salvageable, says Gadoua. If you both want the marriage to last, consider marital therapy to help you identify the problems and develop the skills required to solve them.

Step 3

Accept when the relationship is over. A healthy, fulfilling marriage should have honesty, trust, commitment, fidelity, care, respect and common goals. If any of these are absent, it may be better for you to go your separate ways.

Step 4

Put your own needs before those of your spouse, children, and anybody else who may be affected by a divorce. Children will be happier being the product of a broken home than living in one, says psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw. Don't stay together for your children's sake if that means living with stress and unhappiness. Look deep within yourself to find the answer. There is a part of you that will know whether divorce is the right option, says Judith Johnson, an interfaith minister who holds a doctorate in social psychology.

Source: https://www.livestrong.com/article/47616-divorce-right/

Monday, 13 August 2018

5 Steps to Being More of an Optimist

Life is easier and generally more enjoyable if you're an optimist. Research shows that optimists enjoy many health and lifestyle benefits, including greater achievement, greater health, a sense of persistence toward goals, greater emotional health, increased longevity, and lower reactivity to stress. Because of this, optimists tend to be happier overall. 
Optimism is measured by your explanatory style, or how you define events. You're halfway there if you can learn to define positive events in the following three ways:

  1. Positive events occurred because of something you did.
  2. Positive events are a sign of more good things to come.
  3. Positive events are evidence that good things will happen in other areas of your life.

You're all the way there if you can also think of negative events as:

  1. not your fault
  2. isolated occurrences that have no bearing on future events or other areas of your life
If you find yourself expecting the worst and selling yourself short a little too much of the time, you can always increase your tendency toward optimism. The following steps can get you there.

Analyze Your Thoughts, Giving Yourself Credit
When something positive happens in your life, stop to analyze your thought process for a moment. Are you giving yourself due credit for making it happen? Think of all the strengths you possess and ways you contributed, both directly and indirectly, to make this event occur. For example, if you aced a test, don’t just think of how great it is that you were prepared, but also think of how your intelligence and dedication played a role.

Think of How Your Strengths Can Bring Other Good Things
Think of other areas of your life that could be affected by this good event. Also, think of how the strengths you possess that caused this good thing to happen can also cause other positive events in your life. For example, what other good things can come from your intelligence, dedication, and ability to effectively prepare for tasks?

Think of Future Events That Can Also Happen

Imagine what future possibilities could be in store. Because you hold the key to your success, shouldn’t you expect to do well on future tests? Isn’t a successful career a natural result?

Minimize the Negative, When It's Realistic to Do So
When negative events occur, think of the extenuating circumstances that could have contributed to this happening. If you do poorly on an exam, for example, were you especially busy in the preceding week? Were you somewhat sleep deprived? What outside circumstances contributed to your failure? Keep in mind that this isn’t necessarily a reflection of personal weakness.

This doesn't mean that you should never recognize when you may need to change your behavior in the future or deny responsibility for mistakes — that's how we learn! It does mean, however, to focus more on the positive and don't let negative events kill your self-confidence.

Remember: Tomorrow Is Another Day
Also, remember that you’ll have endless opportunities to do better in the future. Think of your next potential success or other areas where you can excel.

Tips to Remember:

  1. The key to optimism is to maximize your successes and minimize your failures.
  2. It’s beneficial to look honestly at your shortcomings, so you can work on them, but focusing on your strengths can never hurt.
  3. Keep in mind that the more you practice challenging your thought patterns, the more automatic it'll become. Don't expect major changes in thinking right away, but do expect them to become ingrained over time.
  4. Always remember that virtually any failure can be a learning experience, and an important step toward your next success!
  5. Practice positive affirmations. They really work!

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Psychological Effects of Divorce on Women

Understanding the psychological effects of divorce can help one move forward after the end of a marriage. Many of the feelings after a divorce are perfectly natural as one may experience confusion and uncertainty about the future. Similarly, learning how these feelings may affect one's ability to connect with other family members, such as children, is important, as well.

Feeling Guilty

The psychological effects of divorce on women are far-reaching, but one of the most basic emotions is guilt. This can be true if the woman initiated the divorce or not. Women in both situations may feel at fault for not working hard enough to make the marriage work, explains life coach Cindy Holbrook on her website for divorced women. If the woman initiated divorce, she may feel a sense of guilt for the demise of the marriage. This is especially true if there are children involved as women may feel as though they are responsible for breaking up a family and causing emotional trauma.

Experiencing Depression

The end of a marriage is devastating to both parties. Women, especially, may feel saddened by the sudden loss of their marriage. Their dreams for the future may be wrapped up in their marriage, and now that hope for the future appears to be gone. Increased responsibility combined with the realization that the life they envisioned no longer exists correlates with the fact that women are more likely to suffer from depression three years after a divorce, suggests Rocky Mountain Family Council.

Feeling Anxious

After a divorce, one may experience a great deal of anxiety. The future is uncertain and therefore, so is one's security. Women may experience more stress as they may have solely or mostly relied on their husbands for financial support. Trying to figure out how to support themselves, and often times a family, may prove to be difficult. Despite this, there are many things one can do to lessen anxiety including eating healthy, meditating and exercising.

Positive Effects

Some of the effects of divorce can affect women's lives positively. There are many factors that influence this, but many women report feeling a sense of relief especially if the relationship was particularly stressful towards the end. Mediator Kathleen O'Connell Corcoran explains that women may have a greater support system than men. Because of this, when they experience setbacks, they are likely to turn to them for comfort and guidance and move through the issues. Finally, women may be more likely to expand their personal and professional roles, suggests Corcoran. In the past, they may have limited themselves by focusing solely on their duties as wives and mothers. Now, they may seek out new careers, volunteer opportunities and social networking that will increase their esteem.

Source: https://www.livestrong.com/article/103381-psychological-effects-divorce-women/

Saturday, 11 August 2018

The Truth About Divorce Statistics

“The truth about marriage is that divorce is getting less common,” New York Times writer Tara Parker-Pope says in her newly released book, “For Better: The Science of a Good Marriage” (Dutton, 2010). For a variety of reasons, “divorce rates have dropped sharply since peaking in the late 1970s,” she observes.

Parker-Pope frequently reports on current marriage research in the Times. Her book says that in recent years she has “interviewed dozens of the world’s top marriage and relationship researchers, and pored over hundreds of published research studies,” exploring “what science has taught us about lasting relationships and the complexities of courtship, love and marriage.”

Inflated divorce statistics can be harmful, Parker-Pope suggests. She is concerned that misleading statistics have “trained a generation to be ambivalent about marriage and divorce.” People are left asking, “If half of all married couples are getting divorced, what’s the big deal?”

Parker-Pope cautions that incorrectly understanding current divorce statistics may result in many people believing that “marriage is more fragile than it really is.” Believing that more people are destined to divorce than is the case could lead some couples simply to give up when problems occur in their marriages, she fears.

The “grim statistic” that 50 percent of marriages are destined to end in divorce has been repeated for years, “but that bleak prognosis doesn’t apply to most couples getting married today or even most of those who married in the last few decades,” according to Parker-Pope. The problem, she adds, lies at least partly in how divorce rates tend to be calculated.
Her book holds that “because so many variables in the marriage-and-divorce equation are changing, a simple calculation comparing marriages and divorces in a given year ends up distorting the result and suggesting that the divorce rate is higher than it really is.”

One factor in the overall divorce-rate picture is that couples today tend to marry at an older age than was the case in 1970, for example. Studies indicate that the “risk for divorce drops significantly when couples wait to wed until after the age of twenty-five,” Parker-Pope writes. She says an added benefit of marrying at a later age may be that “many of the weakest relationships are ending before a couple ever heads to the altar.”

It is true that couples married in the 1970s divorce at high rates, according to Parker-Pope. Then couples typically married “in their late teens and early twenties,” she states; statistics show that the 30-year divorce rate among these couples “is about 47 percent.”

But Parker-Pope finds that “people married in the 1980s and 1990s are getting divorced at lower rates than their counterparts married in the 1970s.” In fact, she says it appears that marital stability is “improving each decade.”

So, for Parker-Pope, today “the good news” is that “far more people are succeeding at marriage than failing.” She says research suggests that “far more than half of married couples today stay married.”

Nonetheless, she points out that “a sizable minority of marriages will eventually fail.” She notes, as well, that fewer people today marry at all.

The writer cautions that current statistics on divorce do not mean that marriage has become easy. Actually, Parker-Pope finds that contemporary couples “have far higher expectations of marriage than did earlier generations.” Social shifts have “raised the bar” for marriage in terms of the emotional fulfillment that is sought, the partnership and fairness that is desired, and the strong sense many spouses have that they ought to remain soul mates.

Source: http://www.foryourmarriage.org/the-truth-about-divorce-statistics/

Friday, 10 August 2018

Life After Divorce: 3 Survival Strategies

How ex-spouses and their kids can cope after divorce and move beyond the pain.

Sixteen years and three children into her marriage, Nancy Michaels' husband dealt her the blow of a lifetime. Out of the blue, he told her he wanted a divorce -- but he wouldn't tell her or their kids why he was leaving. Months later, a sudden and unexpected medical problem found Michaels close to death.

Unable to take care of her children while she was hospitalized, she risked losing custody of them permanently.

Now, less than four years later, with her health back, Michaels has risen from the depths of emotional despair brought on by the blow of an unexpected divorce, regained primary custody of her children, bought a house of her own, and begun a web site exclusively for women over 40 going through divorce.

Without question, coping with divorce can be one of the most difficult challenges a person faces in a lifetime. Mental health experts say the pain it causes rivals grieving the death of a loved one. But as Michaels' story illustrates, surviving divorce is possible.

WebMD spoke with the pros -- adults who have been through a divorce, as well as counselors who help people survive the effects of divorce -- to learn what coping strategies work to help people through this trying time.

1. Seek Out a Support Network

No single strategy will ease the pain and loss that divorce brings. But time and time again, when asked how best to weather the effects of divorce, respondents say this: lean on a support network.

"Recognize your support network. If it's not strong enough, build it up," says Jennifer Coleman, EdS, NCC, a life transition coach who works with divorce clients of the Rosen Law Firm in North Carolina.

For Michaels, her support network while surviving divorce initially consisted of one good friend. "She has a great sense of humor," Michaels tells WebMD, recalling how she went from crying alone in a movie theater as she watched a romantic love story to laughing out loud afterward when her friend insisted they go to dinner together.

At the suggestion of the judge who oversaw her divorce case, Michaels then expanded her circle of support to include the group Women with Controlling Partners. She's glad she took him up on it. "When you get divorced, most of your old friends run. They're no longer thrilled to have you in their house; there's a dynamic that shifts considerably," she tells WebMD. That hasn't been the case with women in the support group. "We have Friday night pizza with our kids. We'll give each other a ride to the airport if we need it. It really has saved my sanity," Michaels says.

Finding support is not just for women. While women tend to seek and find support rather easily while coping with divorce, men are more likely to hesitate to reach out to others, despite having equally strong emotional needs. Consider David Wood, a handyman who recently went through a bitter divorce. "I was embarrassed, even ashamed. I thought people would think less of me," he says.

It wasn't until a neighbor started sharing his own story about a difficult divorce that Wood felt comfortable enough reciprocating with his own woes -- and finding it incredibly cathartic. "You've got to open up," he says.

While emotional support helps people navigate the initially painful hurdles of divorce, the importance of shoring up assistance for practical purposes post-divorce cannot be overstated. Even before the clouds of her divorce lifted, Susan Perrotta knew she had to be a strong presence for her children, who were barely school age at the time. She made immense sacrifices to be there for them, sometimes pulling all-nighters to complete art projects for clients, then seeing her children off to school in the morning.

A single mother with no family in town, Perrotta essentially raised her children on her own. But she strategically sought and took advantage of support resources available to her. "I made friends with teachers and administrators at my kids' schools. They were fantastic," she tells WebMD.

She also chose to move to a close-knit neighborhood where she could call on neighbors for help in a pinch. She used her pediatrician as a sounding board, recalling him as "a wonderful pediatrician who knew the kids well." And she looked beyond differences with her ex-husband to get him involved. "I pulled him in when I needed his help. I made him work with me," she says.

2. Redefine Yourself

Going through a divorce means no longer being part of a couple, a reality that can come as a relief or a frightening prospect. "For the person who sees him or herself as multifaceted, it's generally a lot easier. But if someone has been nothing but a spouse and saw that as the most important role, it can be pretty crushing," Coleman tells WebMD.

Looking at this time as a period of self-exploration is one way to overcome feelings of isolation and fear. "Take up new hobbies, activities, interests -- expand yourself. Stay busy in a constructive way," suggests Patricia Covalt, PhD, a Denver-based licensed marriage therapist.

Exploring untapped interests can be both a place to positively let go of the grief brought on by divorce and a way to redefine yourself. Wood, devastated by not seeing his children on a daily basis, threw himself into starting and cultivating a community garden. "It was a big help. I'd physically exhaust myself working there. It kept my mind from wandering," he says. Taking ownership of the garden also served as a productive hobby, in which Wood grew not only seasonal vegetables and fruits but also stronger friendships with other community members.

3. Minimize the Impact on Kids

While coping with divorce, pain is inevitable -- but soon-to-be ex-spouses have the power to minimize the pain their children feel by keeping things as amicable as possible.
"You're dealing with a lot of grief and personal feelings. But always avoid criticizing the other parent in front of the children," says Jennipher Cole, LPC-S, a marriage and family therapist with the DePelchin Children's Center in Houston.

She has seen the poor outcomes of clients who ignore this advice: in younger children, regressive behavior like bed-wetting; in older children and teenagers, low self-esteem and risky behaviour.

Cole also warns against pulling children into any conflict with an ex-spouse, a scenario that provokes "taking sides."

Others echo her sentiments. "If you put your kids in the middle, it's a short gain with a long loss. I'm much more interested in maintaining a long-term relationship with my kids," Michaels says.

Source: https://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/features/life-after-divorce-3-survival-strategies#1

Thursday, 9 August 2018

How to survive a divorce: find acceptance after falling apart

Amid the pain of a failed marriage, it is impossible to forgive your former partner. But it is possible to come to terms with the split – by admitting you have lost

We were together for 13 years. Some days it feels like I didn’t exist until the day we met. Other times it seems like it never happened.

I thought we had a whole life to spend together. We navigated foreign countries and slept on straw mats while lizards crawled on the ceiling and the ocean heaved and moaned outside. We sat bleary-eyed in emergency rooms at ungodly hours, taking turns holding our sick and wailing infant who would not be comforted. We stood hand in hand at the newly dug graves of parents, weeping and silently holding each other. We talked quietly for hours on couches, emptying bottles of wine and telling of our childhoods, our fears, the little triumphs that made us carry on.

But we also wove lies into the DNA of our relationship. Not maliciously, but childishly. Fearfully. We manipulated and tricked each other because we didn’t know the cost. We memorized each other’s scars and picked at them to to get what we wanted. We abused each other’s trust. We allowed our trust to be abused. We were only afraid of being alone. Of being wrong.

I thought we had a whole life together, but it turns out it was only a couple of chapters. The realization that your marriage is over is so cumbersome, so all-consuming, that your brain can only process it in pieces. You drive past an apartment building and wonder what it would be like to live in a cozy studio there. You stand in the grocery store and imagine how your life would be different if you’d ended up with that woman who is taking forever to pick out a bottle of olive oil. You lie in bed at night so far off in your imagination that you forget that your wife is lying asleep next you. You realize you’re living your life as though she isn’t even there.

You don’t yet know that your marriage is over. These thoughts don’t fully register. They float in and out like small pieces of trash in between chunkier, more graspable thoughts like “we need more eggs” or “I should call someone about the sound the dryer is making”. So when the end finally materializes, it is like finally coming face to face with a horrifying and yet entirely predictable demon. It was in the house the whole time. And once it is freed, it attacks your body in slow motion, the grief of it devouring you seemingly cell by aching cell.

You develop impossible obsessions. Two weeks after my wife left, I was driving our kids to an amusement park and George Jones’s She Thinks I Still Care came on during an NPR interview. I became fixated on learning the chords and playing the song. For six months, I played it compulsively. I sang it in the shower, I serenaded my kids to sleep with it, and woe unto anyone who happened to be in the same room with me and a piano; they’d be treated to the most morose and self-pitying rendition in the history of mankind.

You feel like a failure. You can take struggling at your job, health problems, money challenges. These are all things that you feel you can survive as long as you don’t have to do them alone. But losing your marriage leaves you feeling like you are without purpose, like you have permanently and irrevocably failed at the single most important thing in your life.

You sit comatose in front of your television until the sun sets, only to lie awake at night listening until the silence hurts your ears. You cry until you dry heave. And after that comes the emptiness, both outside and in, that makes you feel how lonely you truly are.

For the first year or so, you keep the relationship going. Not willing to admit it’s truly over, the both of you keep playing the game. You push her buttons, she pushes yours. Your intimate knowledge of one another, the secrets you once whispered in close moments, are now weaponized. You remember years ago, when the two of you were barely in your twenties, you saw a couple fighting on the street. You said: “Why is it so hard for people to let go?” And she said: “Because you can never let someone walk away with all your secrets.” Hearing her say that, you fell in love all over again; her intelligence, her emotional courage, her understanding of what makes our hearts work. Over a decade later, you hate her for those things and how she uses them against you. You hate yourself for how you use them against her.

The reason it is so difficult to have a healthy relationship with the person you’ve divorced is because no matter how well you learn to get along, no matter how thorough and exhaustive the amends that are made, it is impossible to completely forgive someone who has meant this much pain. It is simply too much. It is impossible to completely forgive someone whom you once loved so deeply.

It has been six years since our marriage ended. The pain has not been healed. It has been dulled to the point where it no longer keeps me up at night. We have two children, a teenager and a pre-teen whose lives and struggles and needs are such that the two of us must talk and strategize together every day. We function well. We don’t fight. We don’t say terrible things to our kids about one another. We have dinners and brunches together. We don’t hate each other.

But it is not easy. The cost of this peace and relative civility is this: you have to admit that you have lost. You have to admit that what the two of you tried to do is over. And that it can never be resurrected. You must concede that you will never get what you want from the other person, and you must stop punishing them for that.

You must accept the distance that now exists between the two of you. They no longer belong to you. Your marriage no longer belongs to you. You must forgive them for being the person that they are. You must forgive yourself. The two of you were young. You tried to make a love. You didn’t know how. It could have been different. But it was not. Your very best wasn’t good enough.

To survive divorce, you must find acceptance for this. Even if you can’t ever find forgiveness.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/oct/16/how-to-survive-divorce

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

The Benefits of Looking on the Bright Side: 10 Reasons to Think Like an Optimist

Having a cheery disposition can influence more than just your mood. "People who are optimistic are more committed to their goals, are more successful in achieving their goals, are more satisfied with their lives, and have better mental and physical health when compared to more pessimistic people," says Suzanne Segerstrom, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky. Research shows that people tend to be optimistic by nature, but what if you're naturally more of an Eeyore? Strengthen your sense of hope: 
The trick is to act like an optimistic person, even if you aren't feeling particularly hopeful. "If you think that the future can be positive, you're more willing to put in time and energy to make that come about," says Segerstrom. By being engaged and persistent, even if you don't feel particularly positive, the benefits of optimism—like satisfaction and health—will soon follow. In fact, seeing the proverbial glass as half full can pay off in a number of unexpected ways, from improving your work experience to enhancing your relationships and protecting your mind and body. Here are 10 reasons strengthening your optimism is a good idea:

Optimists Feel Healthier
If you think that the world is inherently good, and that life will work out in your favor, you're more likely to rate your own health and sense of well-being as better. Best of all, it doesn't matter where you live or what language you speak: These statistics came from a study of more than 150,000 people living in 142 countries. But optimism doesn't just make you feel healthier—it can actually make you healthier, as these next few studies show.

Optimists Are Healthier
A recent Harvard School of Public Health study found that positive psychological well-being, which includes self-acceptance and positive relations with others, is linked to improved heart health. However, having an optimistic attitude was the biggest predictor of all: People who tend to look on the bright side have fewer heart problems, such as cardiovascular disease. They also have better cholesterol readings: In a separate survey of nearly 1,000 middle aged men and women, those who reported higher levels of optimism had lower levels of triglycerides, or less fat in the blood.

Optimists are More Likely to be Centenarians
If you expect that you'll live into old age, you increase your chances of actually doing so. An analysis of the health and hope of nearly 100,000 women by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found that over an eight-year-period, optimists were less likely to die from all causes than cynics.

Optimists Take Fewer Sick Days
Can hope help you stay cold- and illness-free? The results are promising. In one recent study Segerstrom and her colleagues studied the relationship between optimism and immune response in first-year law students throughout the school year. When a student was more optimistic they fought off infection more effectively than during the times when they were less hopeful.

Optimists Are Less Prone to Freakouts
By nature, optimists don't sweat the small stuff. Those were the findings in a study at Quebec's Concordia University. Not only did optimists produce less cortisol—the stress hormone--during times of stress, they also didn't experience as much perceived stress during stressful times.

Optimists Are the Best Dates
Romantic relationships benefit from a sunny disposition: Optimists and their partners tend to be happier than pessimistic pairings. This theory was put to the test at the University of Oregon, where researchers found that this increased happiness held true regardless if both or just one partner were identified as optimists.

Optimists Have Happier 9 to 5s
People who see a glass that's half full tend to rate their jobs as more satisfying than those who don't. A study from Kuwait University found that people who were the most optimistic were also happiest in their jobs and had the fewest work complaints; the opposite was true for pessimists.

Optimists Get More Job Offers and Promotions
A positive outlook is just as important as a polished resume when it comes to job-hunting. A study from Duke University followed a group of MBA graduates as they entered the workforce: Those who believed good things would happen to them had an easier time finding jobs than those who had a less hopeful outlook.The same Duke University study found that optimists in the workforce often have a reason to be happy on the job: They tend to earn higher starting salaries than pessimists and they also are promoted more frequently.

Optimists Are Better at Bouncing Back
When life delivers lemons, optimists are more likely to make lemonade. Those were the findings in a survey of college freshman in Australia: The students who were more optimistic about their transition to university life experienced less stress, anxiety, and uncertainty and had a more successful first year overall.

Optimists Make Better Athletes
Optimists don't necessarily have more muscle mass or greater athletic ability than pessimists. But what they do have is hope. In a study co-authored by Martin Seligman, PhD, director of the Penn Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, a group of swimmers was instructed to swim their hardest then were told a false time—one that added several seconds. The optimists used this negative feedback to fuel an even faster time on their next swim; the pessimists performed more poorly than before.

Source: https://www.happify.com/hd/10-reasons-to-think-like-an-optimist/