Coping & Stress
What exactly is stress? Stress is the non-specific response of the body to any demand; a condition or situation that imposes demands for adjustment; the mind’s message to an organism to adjust; a normal state, either pleasant (eustress) or unpleasant (distress); an excess (hyperstress), or a shortfall (hypostress).
A stressor is the agent producing stress or the source of the stress. Stressors are external events that cause emotional and/or physical reaction, whether positive or negative; or internal commotion in our minds and emotions.
Some common divorce stressors include:
If you claim never to feel stress, let us know what rock you live under. For the rest of us, here are several stress management techniques to cope with the scope of stress:
What will happen if you ignore stress? Let’s just say you do not want, or need, to find out. Be able to recognize the signs of stress exhaustion, so you do not ignore them:
Since divorce is your stressor, list all the negative and positive outcomes of your divorce. Make it personal, not what you think might be standard. The only standard that matters here is yours, so be honest. If not sharing bathroom time is a plus, however important or trivial that might be to you, then list it! If your spouse was a good fixer-upper and you are all thumbs, go ahead and list that loss as a negative.
Complete your list and concentrate on the positives. Allow them to give you the confidence you deserve. Now look at the negatives, one by one. If you can learn to be a fix-it person or can afford to hire help, then turn it into a positive or let that negative go. Do the same with each negative. Decide what you can do about it or let it go!
Good communication clarifies view points and reduces misunderstanding. The problem is, most of us are troubled listeners. We give off the signal that we are not really receiving the other person’s message. Non-verbal communication is the culprit. Our body language, posture, facial expressions, eye contact or lack of it let the other person know how well we are listening and how interested we are in their message.
You would probably agree that most bad marriages are characterized by poor communication between partners. For many married couples, there is a direct correlation between the deterioration of communication between spouses and problems in their marriages. But, people digress into the past. Our objective is to not cope, get through this period in your life.
How flexible are you to change? Are you open to diverse ideas? Can you appreciate other people’s view points, even when they don’t match yours? Avoid judging.
Make relationships a priority and let the people you like know that you value their friendships. Share your feelings and views of the future, rather than always rehashing and trashing the past with them.
Don’t procrastinate. Deal with it now. Don’t wait until it balloons into a way too serious situation. Separate the people from the problem. Attack the problem, not the people. Separate your emotions from the problem. Strive for clarity of mind. List creative and practical solutions to choose from. Don’t fall into the trap that suggests there is only one solution or one way to do something.
Resources & Tools
ONE DAY AT A TIME -- There is no single right way to survive a divorce; there is no universal right way to start over. A person does it by doing it. Anything within reason that gets a person through the day is perfectly acceptable, but even with help such as counseling and support groups, the emotional part of divorce survival is a self-help project.
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