5 Ways to Stop Hating Your Ex

One of the most emotionally draining and exhausting issues divorced women bring to me is:

  • "How can I stop hating my ex-husband?"
  • "Why am I still angry at my ex years later?"

Sometimes it helps to look at the reasons why it's difficult to let go of hate and anger before figuring out how to get free of those emotions.

Let's look at a few of the most common reasons that it feels so difficult to stop wasting your precious energy and emotions on hating your ex:

It's Easier to Focus on Him.  Hating your ex keeps you from focusing on yourself, and focusing on yourself can be scary.  But continuing to feed the flames of hate, just keeps you in limbo (and in pain).  It doesn't hurt him.  In fact it gives him an excuse to completely discount your feelings and belittle you, if you are still in contact.  You invite the "crazy woman" rep.

It's Not Fair.  You just feel so hurt.  And the things he did were (and are) so unfair.  Letting him off the hook by forgetting him is an affront to your sense of justice and all that is holy and right.  But, are you hurting him, really?  Are you getting through to him, really?  If he didn't care enough during your marriage, he certainly doesn't care now.  And, by staying in this place, you cast yourself as the victim, putting on the back burner the day when you'll be the victor over this.  If you've been waiting years for the sincere apology that never comes, this one's for you.

Self-Protection.  By continuing to be angry at him, you're hoping to protect yourself from being hurt or made a fool of ever again.  Deep down, you're reinforcing, within yourself, that you will not be fooled again -- by your ex or by anyone else.  You're drawing a line in the sand and telling yourself, and the world, that you're done with being disrespected.  But, can hating him really protect you from anything?  And, do you need hate and anger in order to protect yourself?  There must be a better way.

Keeping the Connection Alive.  You're staying connected to him (through pain, hurt, and anger) until another man comes to take his place.  If you choose to let go of these strong and powerful negative feelings, you're admitting to yourself that your marriage is over and that you're now on your own.  In many cases, it's not that you still want to be attached to him (in fact, most women would vehemently deny this).  It's that being all on your own is simply so terrifying -- even years later -- so you keep dancing the tango with these deeply hurtful emotions that, nevertheless, keep you connected to him.  But here's the rub:  The hate and anger toward your ex make it impossible to get closer to a loving partnership with someone new.

So, let's figure out a few ways to stop the madness.

Please note that none of the following strategies are about forgiving him.  We're just talking about getting to neutral on the anger and hate continuum.  We're talking about getting to a place where whatever he did or is doing just doesn't matter to you that much -- because you're busy with your own life and more in love with what you're doing than you are with hating him.

What to do when you're angry because . . .

1.  You can't stop rethinking the story:  Decide what it is that you think happened in your marriage, stick with that story, and keep reminding yourself that you are now letting it go. 

If, deep down, you know that your marriage was dead in the water for years, hold onto that knowledge and let it give you the strength to move forward, not backward. 

Do you feel that if you just keep rehashing it, over and over, an important new revelation will come to light?  These types of things reveal themselves, naturally, in their own time over the years.  The best way to have these epiphanies happen is to forget about it, let it go, and allow the answers to come to you on their own.  The longer you live, the smarter you get.

2.  You realize it was all a horrible mistake:  Sometimes, a marriage is just an awful mistake.  Sometimes, there is no deep, dark reason that he did what he did.  Sometimes, it has nothing to do with you.  Sometimes, it's really impossible to have anticipated that he was a pathological liar, a cheat, or whatever. 

Sometimes, a guy is able to hide any red flags so well that you just can't see them.  Now you feel like a naive, silly fool.   You were manipulated by a professional player, master manipulater, or narcissist.  How could you have let this happen?

Decide to let yourself off the hook and stick to it.  Don't go back there.  Commit to releasing the emotions of "I should have known better," every time they come up.  It's a decision you make.  It's a line you draw in the sand.  And it's a decision you may have to remind yourself of dozens of times a day:  "This is not worth my time, and I'm cutting my losses."

Figure out what you learned and how you can make a better choice going forward, and silently thank the jerk for being the vehicle that made you a stronger, wiser, more powerful woman.  Get out your girl-power playlist and listen to Fighter.

3.  You knew, even when you married him, that he wasn't the best choice:  Let's say you married him out of desperation.  Let's say that there were so many red flags that you could have used them to decorate a big box store for a going-out-of-business sale. 

You knew it.  And you shouldn't have done it.  

No amount of anger toward him will erase what happened.  Now is the time to focus on you, filling in the empty places in your heart and soul that allowed you to marry him, even though you knew he was trouble.

Now you know that when a man begs you to help him change, or tells you he can't live without you, these are code words for "Run!"

4.  You were the jerk and you're overcome by remorse:  You begged him to forgive you, but he decided he'd had enough.  Are you alternating between being disgusted with yourself, and being full of rage at him?  After all, he promised "until death us do part." 

It's time to step back and see yourself from the outside looking in.  Do you now have a pretty good idea of what you need to do to become a more loyal, more strong, more loving, and better human?  Well, that's already a big-enough job, and you need to feel strong enough to do that. 

You don't have the energy to make those important changes while obsessing over the missed opportunity with your ex, or being unhinged because he wouldn't give you another chance.  Change for yourself (not to manipulate him to come back), and change for your friends, family, and all of the relationships in your future.

5.  You're afraid you'll never be loved again, and your ex wasted a big chunk of your life:  You feel you're all out of chances to find real love because you wasted 10, 20, or 30 years on him.  You were comfortable enough, and now, what are you supposed to do?  Get on Tinder?  Are there men out there who are really capable of caring and being partners rather than hound dogs? 

First, please believe me that you have more time and chances ahead of you than you think you do.  You've just learned, the hard way, that people keep changing throughout their lives, and can want different things than they wanted yesterday.  We can't stop this from happening.  It's part of the human experience. 

Because of his choices, you now have an opportunity (even though it's unwanted) to have a different, bigger, more vibrant life -- just as he's doing. 

When you start obsessing about how wrong this situation is, gently shift your thoughts to yourself.  What kinds of things can you imagine or do that would make your life a little more comfortable now? 

What do you need most?  Friends?  Activities to keep your mind off him?  New dreams for the future to replace the dream you lost?  Don't just muse about these things; have a notebook handy (or note app open) and write them down.  Use these thoughts to deliberately shift away from anger toward your ex and transform the anger into the desire to explore what's next for you. (Putting it in written form makes it more real and less scary.)

Remember, we're not talking about forgiving him, we're talking about getting freedom from hating your ex.

Once you've cooled down your emotions, and feel that you have some control over the situation -- and some peace in your life -- there's plenty of time to think about the epic job of forgiving him.  Or not. That job entails not just a one-time event, but committing to mentally and emotionally forgiving him over and over and over, at a much deeper level than simply re-channeling hate into energy you can use elsewhere in your life.

For some tips from author Valorie Burton about forgiveness (should you choose to explore that), check out this blog post where I include her on video.

But, my suggestion?  First work on dialing back the negative emotion before even considering trying to forgive.

Want to share about challenges you're facing around strong negative emotions toward your ex?  Please comment below.

Happy Divorcée Morning Routine (yes, a better morning is possible)

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Are mornings one of the worst times of all for you as a divorced woman?   Do you pull the covers over your head and can't bear the thought of facing another day?

Do you feel that you just need quiet undisturbed time to process what's going on in your life and have time to comfort yourself, and instead you're trapped on a hamster wheel of obligations, career, and thoughts about your ex?  

Not to mention the inner obligation that you feel inside in terms of how you're allowed to act and feel.

One of my beliefs -- proven over and over by so many clients -- is that you can greatly accelerate your emotional healing by taking small steps of self comfort that will allow you to begin to see the value you truly have. 

The importance of how you see and value yourself is ultimately much more important the opinions of others in your life.  Even though it doesn't feel like it right now.  I remember I felt I'd been down so long I couldn't even remember the last time I'd felt great or even good.  Marriage had been cutting me down to size for years at that point.

From the outside, friends said that it was incredible how well I was handling my ex's betrayal, all the secrets that kept being revealed by the other woman as if my ex's hidden life was being pumped into my veins by intravenous drip . . . but, on the outside I was cool and sarcastic, making fun of it all.

But it didn't feel that way when no one else was around.

Wallowing in grief and anger didn't give me any relief, so I started to come up with little mind-shifts for myself -- to make my life more about me and less about him.  So here's another one of those strategies:

Let's take back control of those early-morning moments when you have to wake up (like it or not), and let's make them something that adds to your happiness, and gives you the most empowering and encouraging start to the day.  

Morning truly does set the pattern for your day, and a stressful or rushed morning takes time to overcome -- so let’s not have any ugh! oh noooooo! morning scenarios that make you want to pack the day in before you even start.

In case you prefer to watch instead of read the rest of this post:

Want the printable that walks you through the steps and makes it easy?  Get it here:

Unlike other Miracle Morning schemes you may have seen, I'm not going to suggest you wake up earlier.  My clients are already exhausted, and often aren't sleeping through the night, so this is more about using the time you have in a self-nurturing way, not about putting yourself through some kind of high-powered productivity bootcamp.

This is all about using those first few minutes (when you're awake but can't bear to start your day yet), in a way that makes you feel hopeful about today.  Let's find a way to make that quiet time really delicious for you, so that you will look forward to it, instead of waking up to, "Yeah.  I'm still here.  My life is still in the garbage."

1. Get everyone on board.  If you don't live alone, let the others in your life know that you need a little quiet time first thing in the morning, and set some boundaries, if you need to.

 Mom Cave sign, ready for laminating and posting to your bedroom door as part of our rock-your-morning freebie package (see the sign-up box above).

Mom Cave sign, ready for laminating and posting to your bedroom door as part of our rock-your-morning freebie package (see the sign-up box above).

For example, If others in your life are disrupting your quiet time while your bedroom door is closed, you may want to put a sign on your bedroom door indicating whether or not you're ready for interruptions yet.

For more on this, if you have kids at home, don't miss step 3.

2.  Turn your bedroom into a luxury spa experience. What can make your bedroom atmosphere feel more like you're on a luxurious vacation? How about moving your coffee maker into your bedroom, and putting a little mini fridge in there too, so that your morning coffee and cream are no more than a few steps away? Or maybe tea is your beverage of choice. Whatever it is, you can have it set up the night before, and enjoy it before you ever leave your bedroom door and greet the others in your space.

Have a few items on your bedside table that help you reconnect to the person of infinite possibilities who lives inside you, and wants to have the chance to breathe and be herself during this day.  You might have a favorite invigorating scent, read a few pages of a favorite inspiring book, pick a card from a favorite oracle deck to inspire your day.  Or maybe something you feel is a little silly, like a stuffed animal . . . or anything comforting that you sit quietly with for those first few minutes of the day.  Just a way to center yourself: a beautiful and inspiring focus to your thoughts.  A way to remind yourself that "THIS is the way I want to feel today."

It's a mini spa for you.  A way to experience those small luxuries as if you are at a 4-star hotel.  A way to open your eyes in the morning and feel excited about those first 15 minutes.

A few ideas to get you started:

  • Have a sheet mask on your nightstand and refresh your face while you have your coffee or do a little inspirational reading.
  • Have your favorite song as your alarm wake-up and get out of bed dancing. (I know. You're telling me you're not feeling it. But you will, after the first five seconds.)
  • Prefer a quieter start to your day?  I love listening to positive affirmations first thing in the morning, and you can find something that appeals to you if you search "morning affirmations" on youtube.
  • Have someone who pesters you on the phone first thing in the morning? Try leaving your phone far away from your bed on silent the night before, so that your phone can’t disturb you for these essential first 15 minutes of your day.
  • Get my freebie, above, for a printable to help you figure out what you want your wake-up to be like (plus you get the Mom Cave sign).

3.  Kids at home?  Night-before prep sets you up for a luxurious morning.  Anything that makes mornings more stress-free for your kids, makes mornings more stress-free for you.

Here are a few ideas that have worked wonders for my clients:

  • All lunches and backpacks packed the night before.
  • Breakfast laid out the night before so the kids can grab breakfast while you're calmly getting your mind and emotions as close to where you want them to be as you can.
  • Morning quiet time:  Earbuds on (no loud devices) and no TV before a certain time of morning, if that's something that would make a huge positive impact on your day.

4.  Wake up, give yourself a hug, and set your intention for the day.  You've set everything in place the night before, and now it's time to test-drive your Happy Divorcée Morning Routine.

As you enjoy your in-room morning beverage, relax for a few more moments in bed, take some relaxing deep breaths, and in these quiet moments, visualize how you want your day to proceed. 

If you anticipate some rough spots, see yourself handling them with ease and any difficulties evaporating away. 

If you like positive self-talk, let your inner wisdom suggest a phrase to repeat today that will keep you centered in the mood you want to experience.  (My next blog post will be all about how to create your own morning affirmation audio, and you'll have the chance to download the one I created for myself.)

You can be thinking these centering thoughts and blessing yourself with positive visualizations at the same time that you're showering yourself with love using some of the "spa" suggestions you set up in step 2 the night before.

5.  At around 10 this morning, take a moment to check in with how you're feeling.  Did your new morning routine help (even just a little bit)?  Small gains are incredibly important when healing from divorce, and these gains can be built upon a little more every day.

If you've been following this series of posts, these practices are always there for you to fall back on when something unexpectedly negative happens, when your ex has a fit, or when you have a setback of any kind.

You can use any of the practices I've been sharing (tiny infusions of joy, bedtime ritual, or happy morning routine) to help you re-center yourself and find peace in the midst of the whirlwind.

Life may be pushing you around, but why do the same thing to yourself?

Challenging and emotionally devastating times of life such as the divorce process and the months and years following divorce call for special measures to take back your life.  To recreate your life in a way that has strong positive meaning for you.

And because this is a time that can carry with it so much sadness, and such a big hit to self-esteem and your sense of who you are, this self-creation process has to be soft and comforting rather than bootcampy in its nature.

If you missed the previous posts (and videos) in this series, find them here:

Want the step-by-step printable for the happy morning routine?  Here you go:

As always, I would love to hear your experiences with mornings and these divorce life hacks.

Divorce guest blogger: Everything is possible

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by Kathryn Pressly Hunter

Tout est Possible is French for Everything is Possible. I adopted this mantra, of sorts, last fall . . .

After a 24 year marriage, my husband left me for another woman in November of 2016. Having been with him since I was 16 and married at 20, it took me a hot minute to grasp my new world.

Dealing with all that comes with a level of rejection that could easily crush anyone: I chose to move on, heal and not dwell.

I decided very quickly that I was stronger than the storm that I faced. I chose to walk through my divorce not with anger and bitterness, but with self-respect and as much grace as I could muster.

I did, after all, have two young adults to lead who were equally as crushed as I was. I wanted to teach them grace and mercy and not anger and hatred; this world certainly has enough of that. Today, we still deal with some residual ripples of the divorce, but my kiddos and I are stronger together.

Now, back to my “mantra.”  Shortly after my divorce was final in April of 2017 -- maybe even a little before-- it’s like I started to awaken.  I began to dream again.  I began to make myself a priority:  to set some things forth in my life that would set my children and myself up for success. I began writing in a journal. In this new life, I no longer had “my person” and wanted to jot down my thoughts -- however random they were at times.

One day, I wrote:

“Power. I have power. I am worth having the power to make the decisions in my life. I hold the key to joy/success in my life through the power I have in my choices. My world is bigger than me. I am not a victim. I am a strong woman and can do anything I want in this life. I can be bold, my voice is there, but I have just always chosen to remain quiet. No more. Being meek only hurts me and mine. Not arrogance, but a boldness with complete kindness of heart, mind, and spirit.”

I decided now was the time to begin anything with the question “Is this what I want?”

As I began to walk in this -- although hard at times -- I found myself making positive calculated risks. This has led me to a new, amazingly positive career path which I am so excited about, a closer relationship with my children, and the self-motivating push to get out of my comfort zone. I still struggle with this, but each time becomes a little easier -- most recently,  yesterday, by beginning a Jujitsu Self Defense class.  Look out world!

I am proud of my progress. I have soooo much farther to go, but I am excited about life, learning, dreaming -- and making those dreams come into reality. Tout est Possible:  Yes, EVERYTHING is possible.

Kathryn Pressly Hunter lives in upstate South Carolina.  She loves to laugh, share time with those who mean the most to her, and strives to learn something new each day. After the discovery of her husband’s infidelity and facing divorce, Kathryn took a sharp turn from bitterness, anger, and defeat toward grace, positivity, and self-empowerment.

Divorce Insomnia: Bedtime ritual for peaceful sleep

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You finally have a moment to yourself at the end of the day, but it's precisely then that the gloom starts to descend.

You wonder: "Will I sleep at all tonight?  Should I just stay up for a while and not even try?  Maybe a couple glasses of wine would be good?"

When the whirr of the day settles down, is that the time when you lose control of your thoughts, and start thinking about your ex?  Or maybe it's the other woman, or the vacation they're on together, or your fears about being alone forever and ending up living under a bridge . . . .

Welcome to part three of a series that gives The Dynamic Divorcée's special sauce to dealing with some devastating and frustrating experiences that almost all of my divorce coaching clients live with on a daily basis.

If you're catching up with the series . . .

Here's the first installment, How to Get Relief From Exhausting Waves of Grief -- all about how to press pause on these exhausting emotions by having tiny infusions of joy at your disposal.

Here's the second installment, How to Create Your Divorce Emotional First-Aid Kit -- which I like to call your happiness treasure chest.  In this post, I share what's in my own emotional first-aid kit and I share a sample Youtube playlist with my favorite mood-changing 2-minute video, some relaxing binaural beat recordings (that would be perfect to try as part of the bedtime ritual below, plus a couple of kick-a** girl-power songs that shift even my most dismal mood in a hurry.

And in this week's divorce recovery hack, we're saying no to having our sleep hijacked by our pain, our fears, and our exes.

Here's a plan for tonight's dance with insomnia

First, let the scared, hurt, and angry person inside you know that help is on the way.  You're not going to let this sleepless situation continue without, at least, trying out a little magic along the way. 

Keep reading for a few questions to make bedtime a much cozier experience tonight, or, you can get a free printable that does most of this for you:

 

1.  Take a look at what leads up to bedtime being stressful and frustrating.  You might not be able to banish all thoughts of your ex-husband or your worries, but there are some things you can control.  And doesn't any amount of control feel good these days?

Is it that there's zero downtime from the moment you get home from work until your head hits the pillow (so, by bedtime, you're more keyed up than you've been all day)?  Is it that what you're doing to wind down actually contributes to your stress?

Are there ways that you can engineer evenings to be a little more chaos-and-conflict free? You may not feel like thinking about the flow of your evening hours, but rest and relaxation are more important than ever in order to cope with the life changes you're going through.  It will be so worth it to come up with an evening routine that builds in time to relax and recenter yourself.

2.  What does your current bedtime ritual look like, and how does it makes you feel just before you go to sleep?  Take a look at how you wind down in the hour or so before lights out, and how does that activity make you feel?  How would you like to feel instead?

3.  Based on what you've discovered above, what do you think might help?  What sounds relaxing to you?  What could you do (or not do) that would give you a feeling of peace and "ahhhhhh!"  Can you make your bedroom a more restful, quiet place?  Less clutter, fewer electronics, more cozy textures and bedtime lighting?  Soothing music or a trippy meditation track?  Maybe you want to subtract instead of add to your bedtime ritual.  What do you not want to do anymore? 

What are the first things that pop into your mind when it comes to a new bedtime ritual?  It might be as easy as a cup of warm milk with honey and an uplifting book that brings you peace and hope.  Maybe it's scribbling all your worst thoughts on a few pieces of paper, tearing them up, releasing them to the dark place they came from, and flushing them down the toilet.  Maybe it's who you do or don't talk to in the couple of hours leading up to bedtime.

4.  The last step is troubleshooting:  What or who might get in the way of your more relaxing, more soothing, more self-nurturing new bedtime ritual?  (Your kids?  Another family member?  Maybe even yourself, if you tend to think, "Why bother?")  Whatever the obstacle may be, decide on your secret plan to make sure your bedtime experiment gets a chance to happen.

The cure for divorce insomnia:  Make your new bedtime ritual so cushy and cozy that you can't help but try it. Click to tweet.

As I mentioned earlier, I've created a free printable with a few questions that will help you figure out just one tiny change you can make to your current bedtime ritual to set you up for blissful, peaceful sleep.  And, how to assess if it's working . . . and what to do after that.  Here's how to let me send it to you:

 

 

 

Divorce Emotions: How to manage them using a happiness treasure chest

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In my last blog post, I made a little 4-minute video with a powerful (and fun) way of coping with divorce grief (those persistent, tormenting thoughts that cycle through our minds and just won't let go).  Give it a watch, and it will tell you all about how to use what I call "tiny infusions of joy" to disrupt waves of pain and grief, and why and how to create your own happiness treasure chest.

You can even get a free two-page printable with prompts to help you figure out what little things bring you joy at a moment's notice, when you really need relief.

Tested on myself, divorcee volunteers, and . . . ultimately, my beloved clients!

Of course, there is nothing that I recommend to my clients that I haven't already created and tested on myself (and on other willing divorcee volunteers).

So, while you're figuring out your own "tiny infusions of joy" and what you might like to have in your own happiness treasure chest while dealing with divorce grief, I thought you might like to know what's in my emergency emotional first-aid stash. 

Check out the photo below, and read on to learn more about why I chose these particular things.  (And, in case you want to try out my picks, there are links so you can get them, too.)

 My sadness-interrupting happiness treasure chest for those tough days.  Clockwise from top: Rescue Remedy lozenges, Kusmi teabags in Prince Vladimir and Anastasia, an old ipod (pink!) that holds only my happy songs and happy videos, homemade affirmation cards which I've laminated, Frankincense & Myrrh rollerball essential oil, my favorite drugstore lipstick, and the rosewood box in which I keep all of these items.

My sadness-interrupting happiness treasure chest for those tough days.  Clockwise from top: Rescue Remedy lozenges, Kusmi teabags in Prince Vladimir and Anastasia, an old ipod (pink!) that holds only my happy songs and happy videos, homemade affirmation cards which I've laminated, Frankincense & Myrrh rollerball essential oil, my favorite drugstore lipstick, and the rosewood box in which I keep all of these items.

I keep my tiny infusions of joy in a little rosewood box because I love how it looks, I find the texture of the wood carving very soothing, and it's easy to carry with me.  Here's one that's very much like mine, but slightly larger (since I could use a little more room in my own treasure box).

The "why" behind what's in my emotional first-aid kit

Let me tell you a little bit more about why I have this particular collection of things, and why they help me break through a cycle of negativity, grief, sadness, or feelings of powerlessness.

Rescue Remedy Pastilles come in several flavors.  I like the black current.  These are Bach homeopathic-style remedies, and the flower essences in these lozenges are supposed to calm anxiety, panic, and fear.  Do they really work?  Who knows?  But they have worked for me for years.

Kusmi Anastasia teabags (Earl Grey, citron, and orange flower) and Kusmi Prince Vladimir teabags (blend of China teas with bergamot, lemon, grapefruit, vanilla, and spices).  These teas smell and taste so luxurious that they instantly make me feel special and cared for.  Love love love.

Kuumba Frankincense and Myrrh rollerball essential oil.  I realize that not everyone is a fan of these hippie/yoga kinds of scents, but I find this one deep, relaxing, and comforting.  I believe that everyone has a favorite calming scent, and can find an essential oil or two with a scent that deeply relaxes you.  And, it's so much fun to go to your local Whole Foods and sniff out the scent that transforms your world.

My absolute favorite lipstick: Milani Red Label.  This is just the right red for me: It's not orangey, but it's not too pink either.  It's the true red I'm always looking for.  And, for me, red lipstick always gives me Super Woman superpowers.  It's that, "Okay, I feel like ****, but I can do it!"  Check in with yourself to see if there's something similar that does the same thing for you.

Some things I keep on the iPod (and I've created a sample playlist for you here):

  • I record my own affirmations/visualizations for morning, evening, and those times when I'm just having a terrible day.  It's easy:  Just record into the voice recorder on your phone, and if you happen to use your phone for your happiness playlist, you can just add your own recorded animations to your playlist.  (I like to dedicate my old iPod for this purpose because it makes it special for me:  When I feel down, it's my special little friend.)
  • Binaural beat audios: These are sound tones that are thought to effect positive changes in mental states.  I do find them relaxing to have playing in the background, or you can fall asleep with them playing at bedtime.  To get the full effect, one is supposed to listen with headphones, but I have to confess that I rarely do this myself.
  • Uplifting songs:  Mine are more kicka** than sweet and uplifting.  I'm more of a girl-power person.  Okay, and while I was healing from divorce, there were a healthy number of revenge songs in there, too : ) .
  • Sunrise video:  For me, this is my #1 go-to, if I have just a minute or two to press pause on a painful mental/emotional state.  Seeing a sunrise (even on a video) brings me so much joy, and makes me feel that I'm being protected and watched over.  Check out my sample playlist below, and click the menu icon at the upper left to see a dropdown of everything that's on the playlist:

Hey, I realize that no one seems to comment on blog posts anymore, but I would be THRILLED if you would comment below and share with me what you have in your happiness treasure chest (or, what you're going to have in there, once you put it all together).

Hugs!

Divorce Healing: How to interrupt the endless waves of grief.

These days (and for way too long) do you drag yourself out of bed in the morning not even daring to think about how you'll make it through one more day?  And, do you tend to end the day feeling the same dark, tired, hopeless way?

I want to suggest something that will seem too simple to work.  You may not feel that you have the energy to start a program to feel better, or to make a commitment to take a series of steps that will lift you up.   And, you don't have to.  It might be just too much to even consider, right now.

But, wouldn't it make today a little better if you could find a way to experience a few brief moments that make you smile, or that aren't painful, and you could go to sleep tonight being able to remember a few minutes from earlier today that made you happy (just for a moment or two)?  Wouldn't even a brief break from the agony be worth it?

(4-minute video below in case you prefer to watch rather than read. Post continutes below the video.)

What is happiness, anyway?

Happiness isn't usually a time of life when absolutely everything is going your way.  Most of the time, happiness is just tiny moments of joy strung together

And it's actually possible to make sure that we have these moments of joy happen throughout the day.  But, when you're going through divorce (especially when the divorce is especially painful), finding these moments of happiness to hold on to takes a little bit of planning.

"Happiness is just tiny moments of joy strung together." -- Rosetta Magdalen (click to tweet)

Happiness treasure chest

Step 1. To bring some tiny infusions of joy into your day, take a few moments to think about songs, colors, experiences, tastes, and sights that make you happy.  (Include on this list only experiences that are good for you, so that the moment of happiness doesn't morph into something you regret.)

Step 2. Find one location where you can access your happiness touchstones anytime you need or want an infusion of joy.  (More on this below.)

Step 3. Remember to use your magical happiness list, especially when you're having a day of overwhelming and persistent negative emotions.  It's empowering to know that you can decide to stop the downward spiral, simply by interrupting it and substituting something small that brings you joy. 

I made a little free printable that walks you through this entire process.  And my promise is that you'll have a unique-to-you magical way to lift your spirits in just five minutes, no matter what (short of some major bomb-dropping by your ex).  You can get it here.

But, if it were this easy . . .

For a while, you'll be measuring your happiness in minutes per day, but if you keep intentionally placing things on your path that you love, pretty soon you'll be reaching a critical mass where you'll be feeling pretty good 10% of the time . . . then 25% of the time . . . then 50% of the time . . . . 

And part of the magic is to be truly present when you're experiencing your infusions of joy.  Really let yourself feel that you're seeing, hearing, tasting, or experiencing something you absolutely love.

Notice if you have some feelings such as, "How dare I feel happy right now!  I'm supposed to be feeling miserable/sad/angry . . . ."

We have a lot of control over how long we suffer and how much we suffer during and after divorce.  Finding moments of happiness and daring to let yourself experience them is a first step toward taking your power back.

And you don't need anyone else to participate in order to be happy.

And, guess what?  None of these tiny bits of joy requires the participation of another person.  You can give yourself these moments of joy right now.    Anytime.  Anyplace.  And you can do it again whenever you want.

If you'd like to have me walk you through this process, you can get the printable here.

Time commitment to try this: About five minutes to answer a few questions on the printable that will help you get in touch with things that bring you real joy.  Maybe another ten minutes to follow the instructions to create a "home" for your happiness experiences.  (It can be as simple as a list, or as easy as a place online -- I give you a couple of easy suggestions.  And that's it.  You'll have your happiness treasure chest ready for whenever you need it.)

As always, if you try this and it helps, please comment below, because it will encourage others to try this simple, but powerful idea.