8 Ways to Reduce Stress After Divorce

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There’s no doubt about it stress can trigger mental, physical and emotional problems. 

It can cause anxiety, feelings of overwhelm and depression.

It aggravates many conditions such as asthma and may cause breathing problems.

It can cause neck and back pain, muscle tension and musculoskeletal ache.

Cardiovascular disease and hypertension are linked to excess stress.

Digestive diseases like ulcers, IBS and gastritis are aggravated by stress.

Some people react to stress with outbreaks of skin problems like acne, eczema and psoriasis.

In short stress hurts you. So what can you do about it? Here are 8 ways to help you reduce your stress levels:

1. Let go and move on – getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars.

You have to let go at some point to move forward.

Clinging onto the past and desperately trying to keep things the way they were is going to make stress levels soar.

Finding acceptance that times change and people change will help you to start over.

Don’t become a hostage to your past and remind yourself of what could have, should have or would have been. Give yourself permission to heal and move forward in life.

2. Focus on your health – taking the time to focus on your health and wellbeing will pay dividends when trying to reduce your stress levels.

Any form of exercise will help you to bring down your levels of adrenaline and cortisol (the stress hormones) and will release those lovely endorphins (the body’s feel good chemicals).

Choose an exercise you enjoy, preferably one you can do with friends and if possible one where you are outside in nature or by water. Avoid junk food and too many stimulants such as alcohol, sugar and caffeine.

Make sure you get 7-8 hours of quality sleep a night.

3. Be realistic – don’t bury your head in the sand or have a picture in your head of how things should be.

Accept that you are where you are.

This is vital if you are going to move forward.

You must stay grounded in the reality of what is happening.

Be kind to yourself and know that no matter how bad you are feeling things will improve.

Being realistic makes the healing process a lot quicker and a lot easier.

4. Learn to say no – if you’re a person who struggles to say no and has inappropriate or no boundaries then you’re going to find your stress levels soaring as you try to accommodate everything that you’ve agreed to.

Saying no to someone doesn’t make you the bad guy.

Only agree to the things that you’re happy to see through on.

If you constantly say yes to everything that you don’t really want to do you’re going to end up feeling stressed, resentful and bitter.

When you learn to say no occasionally there is no resentment and bitterness. It’s empowering.

Also when you’re able to say no appropriately you make your yes more powerful and meaningful. Put those boundaries in place today!

5. Reach out and get support – if you’re really struggling with your stress levels and can’t seem to get things under control then you need to reach out and get support.

A close friend or family member could be invaluable.

Find someone you can trust and open up to. It’s good to talk.

A problem shared is a problem halved so the old saying goes and it’s true.

If you feel that you don’t want to burden your friends or family then you can always talk to a professional.

A counsellor, therapist or divorce coach will offer the support and guidance to help you get through.

6. Positive mental attitude – staying positive will have a huge impact on the way you deal with your stress levels.

At any one time there is good and bad around all of us.

Filtering out the bad and focusing on the good and accepting that most of us are actually very lucky will keep stress levels down.

Train your mind to see the good in everything.

Use positive words – brain wave tests prove that when we use positive words our feel good hormones flow.

Positive self talk releases endorphins and serotonin in our brain which then flow throughout our body making us feel good.

When we use negative words these neurotransmitters stop flowing. Keep it positive wherever possible.

7. Change expectations – one of the secrets to happiness is letting every situation be what it is rather than what we think it should be.

Sometimes we create our own problems through our expectations.

Expecting too much of ourselves or other people is a recipe for disaster.

Cut yourself and everybody else some slack, let go of some of those expectations.

We can’t control other people’s behaviours only our reactions to them. Loosen your grip, breathe and see your stress levels will plummet.

8. Fun time – Being able to have fun is one of the best antidotes to stress.

They are mutually exclusive – you can’t be stressed if you’re having fun.

What does fun mean to you?

Socialising with friends, playing sport, watching a comedy.

Turn off all of your technology and go and have a good time.

Follow a child’s lead, do not have a plan, just let yourself go.

Many of us find this surprisingly difficult but therein lies the problem.

Watch a toddler jumping in a puddle or skipping round the garden without a care in the world and find out what would give you this feeling – then go and do it as much as you can! 

Written by Tina Hetherington. Divorce Coach. Visit survivingdivorce.co.uk for further information.

Like to contribute an article? Email info@divorcedparents.co.uk

PHOTO CREDIT: LULULEMON ATHLETICA

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