One Easy Way to Feel Ten Times Better After Divorce
My divorce brought up a myriad of confusing emotions from anger to guilt to aching loneliness. I found myself often overwhelmed by my emotions and unable to process them in a healthy way. There were moments I just wanted to crawl into bed and not move — EVER. What helped me is a little exercise I found called Howling at the Moon. I now use it with my coaching clients and they all swear by it. The idea is simple, but the effects profound. I guarantee you will feel better if you give it a try.
First, get a couple sheets of paper. Get rid of all distractions. Then sit down and give yourself permission to SHOUT your feelings and frustrations. I call this howling at the moon. Push yourself to write for at least five minutes continually. Set a timer if you need to. DON’T STOP!! You are pulling out all the emotions that have been stuffed way too tightly inside. Let all of your feelings out. Allow yourself to feel like a child and have what some might label a huge, out of control temper tantrum. Write ALL your feelings down. Don’t censor yourself. Don’t pass judgment on yourself for what you are writing, or worry about what others will think.
Here are a few of the things I have written:
“This is f*** impossible. I can’t f*** doing this. I am so sick of everyone f*** telling me I am going to be okay.”
“I hate him. I hate him. I hate him. For leaving me. For putting alcohol before me. Why couldn’t I be enough? Why?”
“I hate where I am in my life. This wasn’t how my life was supposed to turn out.”
“I never knew loneliness could hurt so deeply and make me so desperate for human touch and affection.”
You just need to get out EVERYTHING that you are thinking and feeling. This will help you reflect later on. You may find that you spew some valuable insights during these moments of rage and desperation. It’s alright to let yourself go; it’s cleansing, healing and wonderfully self-serving. When you are finished. You take a shower, or a bath. You go eat a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. You go to lunch with a close girlfriend who you know supports you, or have a session with your coach. You turn on your favorite song and dance around the room. You go to Yoga or do some meditation. Whatever it is that makes you feel good and takes care of YOU. This is REALLY important. You have just let go of a ton of negative feelings and you need to reward yourself.
Another great variation on this exercise that I have also found amazingly helpful is to put a ten-minute timer on your cell phone. (Again you can adjust the time as needed, but no more then 30 minutes.) And give yourself that time to scream and yell and rant and rave and cry. You can use a pillow or drive somewhere in your car. One of my clients would go to the top of her building and shout off the top. I like to go to the ocean and swim out. Then go underwater and scream and kick and and punch the waves until I have let go of all my pent up emotions. It feels really really good.
The key is that you are not bottling up your emotions, but also not letting them rule you, or run you ragged. You let it out and then when the timer goes off, you get up, take a deep breath and commit to moving forward in a positive, intentional way. I felt like I had to put on this “face” when I got divorced. I didn’t feel that anyone could handle the grief and rage I was feeling and so I kept pushing down until I almost felt sick. By finding a way to express it and get it out, I was able to let it go and move forward with my healing. So go ahead, give it a try and let me know how it goes.