Gratitude During Divorce

Divorce is one of the most difficult seasons any adult will navigate during their lifetime.  Finding healthy coping skills can mean the difference between not just surviving your divorce but actually thriving. I know finding things to be thankful for is probably the last thing you feel like doing while going through a divorce. However, Practicing gratitude during divorce is one of the most effective coping strategies you can develop it’s free, takes little time, and can make all the difference.

What is gratitude?

The technical definition according to Google is “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation”.  It really comes down to a shift in your mindset. Our brains are naturally wired to look for the negative things (potential threats) to keep us alive. I know it sounds wild, but our brains can’t decipher the difference between the danger of being chased by a bear and the harsh words from your to be ex-spouse. Therefore, the stress of divorce can easily put the body in a “fight or flight” state. Practicing gratitude is training our brain to look for the good things rather than just the bad. In turn this reduces the amount of time we are in “fight or flight”. 

As the saying goes: there is always something to be grateful for. Gratitude helps us focus on the positive aspects of our life.

The science behind gratitude during divorce

The research shows that gratitude actually supports better physical health and happiness among those who practice it. Gratitude calms the nervous system, boosts immunity and supports heart health.  Being in “fight or flight” over an extended period of time is unhealthy for your body. This is why practicing gratitude can benefit your physical health.

Gratitude is also linked to a deeper sense of connection to the world around us and a power greater than ourselves. This gives us a sense of community and meaning leading to more satisfaction in life. During a challenging season like divorce, this shift in perspective can be a game changer.

How to practice gratitude during divorce

Practicing gratitude doesn’t take large amounts of time. Spending five minutes thinking about three things you are grateful for can make a real difference in your divorce journey.  Don’t force it, and start small if you need to.  Don’t judge yourself if you aren’t feeling grateful for your beautiful home if at the moment you aren’t sure who is going to get to keep it.  Go with simple things:  the cardinals outside your window, a great cup of coffee,  your pretty new manicure, or the phone call from your best friend that really helped you feel better.

As you get the hang of it, you may even start to notice some of the benefits that come with divorce: no more dealing with your in-laws, having more time for yourself now that you split parenting time, making choices according to your preference instead of compromising with your spouse, a home free from conflict and arguments.  

With time, you will begin to immediately find the good in every situation. You will easily be able to find things you are grateful for. Your brain will learn to spend more time looking for the good around you.

Gratitude with your kids

Carrying this practice to your children is a wonderful way to both strengthen your gratitude muscles and also help your children through their own challenging season.  Sitting around the dinner table each night during your timesharing – start a tradition of everyone saying something they are grateful for.  Teaching your children this skill will help them develop resilience in the face of challenges throughout their lives.

Gratitude is important whether you are in the middle of a divorce or not. Gratitude can shift everything.

If you are in need of legal help, please contact our office at (813) 322-2082 for a consultation.