We are Vulnerable to our Mind States –
Whether we realize it or not, our mind state at any given moment is a reflection of our reality. In fact, whether we are happy or sad depends more on our inner terrain than it does on external circumstances. Have you ever been in a situation, where by all rights you should be in a celebratory mood, glowing with happiness, and you just don’t feel that way? Some times it’s lack of sleep, or a reminder of a painful event in the past that is affecting your mind state. This little piece is meant as a reminder of how vulnerable our minds are and the importance of taking great care to support the health of both our minds and our bodies and our hearts, all of which are so closely intertwined, when going through the painful life transition that we call divorce.
Habitual Thought Patterns—We each have our own variations on habitual thought patterns, the repetitive thinking that keeps looping around in our brains that we rather unconsciously listen to and that so much affects how we see things, how we feel and how we behave. This is our reality and this is what we believe and this is how things are. It is very useful to become aware of our own repetitive thought patterns, most of which do not make us happy, often keep us in a place of critical self judgment or critical judgment of others, self justification and limiting beliefs about what is possible. When going through divorce, it is not surprising that there is a rise in unhappy, angry and self-limiting repetitive thinking, with a strong dose of self justification added in. If this sounds familiar, join the bulk of humanity that can relate.
Is This Thought Pattern Helpful?–So how do we deal with the overwhelm of negative thinking at a time when we are most vulnerable and most in pain? First of all, we have to know that once we are aware of a negative habitual thought pattern, it is possible to say to yourself, “I’ve been down this rabbit hole before—I don’t need to keep repeating this thought, which just makes me more miserable.” It’s like Bill Murray in the movie “Ground Hog Day” where without fail he steps into the same muddy water filled pot hole, until finally he learns to anticipate it and walk around it, and then ultimately chooses another street where he avoids the pot hole altogether. So when you recognize a negative thought trying to grab you, get wise and substitute the negative thought with a self-validating thought, surround yourself with beauty, listen to an inspiring piece of music, look at a beautiful painting, focus on planning or cooking a good meal, call a supportive friend, etc.
Taking Responsibility—No one said that this is easy. But there is noone else who is going to make the moments of our lives work positively for us other than ourselves. It calls upon us to get out of a victim mentality where we feel that life is happening to us. This is where taking care of our bodies—eating healthy meals, exercising and getting enough sleep is important. Also taking care of our hearts—spending time with family and good friends, and perhaps working with a therapist can be so helpful.
This is perhaps the hardest thing you have ever had to do for yourself, but with practice, first in recognizing a negative thought pattern and then making a list of antidotes that will work for you, you will get better at moving to a place of balance. Gradually you will begin to see light at the end of the tunnel of despair and you will find those glimmers of happiness that will most assuredly be there once again.