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The First Step to Survive and Thrive After Divorce – Change Your Thoughts

By Donna McGoff April 26, 2023 Mindset

Conflicted feelings and emotions are at an all-time high after the transition through divorce. Sometimes it’s terribly challenging to control and channel reactions to people or situations in a positive, constructive way; and as a result, you may feel like you lack control over your life.

I Get It!

I understand when self-confidence and courage take a beating. It’s a struggle to deal with challenging people, conditions, and situations that you now face. So, how do you begin to gain control over yourself when faced with certain scenarios?

One of the secrets to changing your life for the better is learning how to change your thinking. When you think the same thoughts over and over, you’re going to get the same results over and over, right? It can’t be any different.

Sometimes, thoughts “trigger” reactions that we don’t want but can’t seem to control.

Here’s an Example

You see a happy couple walking down the street holding hands and obviously engaged in loving conversation. It might “trigger” longing and discontent within you. It brings up sad, remorseful feelings of loss relating to your own personal situation. Those feelings are uncomfortable. It might cause you to behave in out-of-character or impulsive ways.

What Are Some Typical Reactions Vs. Healthy Responses?

  • Feel a tension headache or other physical discomforts.
  • Dive into the refrigerator.
  • Drink too much wine.
  • Say things you might later regret.
  • Engage in compulsive shopping, sex, or gambling.

It’s your way of relieving yourself of the uncomfortable feelings you are experiencing.

If you look closely at this, you see it makes sense that if you have thoughts and feelings that are negative they create negative actions and results. The way to change your results for the better is to change your thoughts.

How Do You Learn to Change Your Thoughts?

Start to notice your thoughts. Ask yourself, “What am I thinking about?”

How do you notice your thoughts?

If you feel uncomfortable or feel a constricted feeling inside, that is the “TRIGGER.”

(It could be an upset stomach, throat tightening up, color rising in your cheeks, sweaty hands.)

When you are aware of the “trigger,” you have the power within to change your reaction without. You can respond instead of reacting so that you make better choices.

Here’s an Example

If you are thinking about how bad it is and you are talking about it to yourself, NOTICE IT. Instead of getting all involved with the mind chatter or self-talk, just notice that you are having that thought.

You observe it. You can say, “I’m having that thought.”

Then, you push the thought aside, and change it to something positive. When you do that, you are in control of your thought instead of the thought controlling you.

Meet Jenny

Jenny is recently divorced, and she has a tough time controlling her thoughts about lifestyle changes she has to make going forward. Here’s what she said:

“I have three kids. My husband left me because he said he just didn’t love me anymore. He wanted out. I am devastated. Now, it will be one salary and child support. I want to keep my home but there won’t be enough money to cover expenses. I HAVE TO DOWNSIZE!”

What Can She Do?

When the mind chatter and self-talk start taking over her thoughts about downsizing, Jenny notices her thoughts instead of getting all involved with them. She begins to notice the anxiety she feels in the pit of her stomach. It’s the “trigger.”

Jenny thinks to herself, “Oh, what am I going to do? I don’t know the first thing about selling a house. Where do I find a good realtor? What is the process?”

Instead of getting all involved in those same repeating thoughts that cause her stress, SHE NOTICES THEM.

This Alerts Jenny to Change Thoughts to More Empowering Ones

How does she do that? She focuses on the positive aspects of the problem. (This is awfully hard to do but becomes easier with practice.) Changing her perspective about the situation allows her to look at and think differently about it.

Here’s an Exercise Jenny Does to Focus on the Positive Side of the Situation

First, she writes down the challenging situation at the top of a piece of paper.

Next, to get her mind to focus on the right direction, she lists all the positives she can think of about downsizing. (This is hard for her to do because she is not coming from that perspective.)

1. Reduced home maintenance.

2. Find a new home closer to schools and work.

3. Utility bills will be less.

4. Create a budget that provides financial control.

5. Scope out neighborhoods and pick one that is community and family oriented.

6. More time with children since no need to get another job.

7. Find a good neighborhood that will make children and me feel welcome.

8. Contact a realtor and learn the next steps.

9. Declutter and purge old stuff to get organized.

10. More affordable home insurance and lower tax bill.

What this does is take the focus off the problem and gets her to think about discovering a solution for it.

Then, when uncomfortable feelings (triggers) come up about downsizing, Jenny can immediately push them out of the way and replace them with the positives she listed.

In this way, she’s in control of herself instead of her thoughts controlling her. She moves out feeling like a victim and takes responsibility for taking positive action. She takes action in doing what she can do now with what she has.

What’s the Lesson Learned from This Scenario?

We will continue to get the same results if we continue to think the same thoughts. Our lives will not change for the better. When we learn how to notice our thoughts and change them, we are on the way to opening a space in our mind to begin to discover a solution.

We discover the secret to taking control of our life. We step into our power and RISE UP.

Download my free e-book, Survive and Thrive After Divorce. It goes more in depth about why changing your thoughts is the first step to embracing a new beginning building a life you would love living.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Can you share a challenging situation that you are dealing/have dealt with after your divorce. What positives can you share about that situation? There has to be a positive because without a positive there can be no negative. It can be lessons learned or wisdom earned.

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The Author

Donna McGoff is the founder of Living Above The Ordinary. She holds a Master’s degree in human development, counseling, and family studies and is a certified life coach specializing in divorce recovery. Donna’s passion is helping women move beyond divorce empowering them to embrace a new beginning creating a new, purposeful life.

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