In our last five posts, we discussed strategies and tactics for how to talk to other people about your divorce.
But perhaps the most important conversations you will have about the divorce will be with yourself. Neurological research shows that our “self-talk” can have profound, far reaching implications for happiness, productivity, and resilience. Unfortunately, most people’s “self-talk” is filled with negative comments, such as self-criticism, remembering painful events, constructing hypothetical arguments, etc.
In some ways, that’s just how the brain works. The brain is a planning organ – it organically strives to reflect on experiences, because that’s what it’s built to do. Self-talk is incredibly primal, and it tends to be negative. So what can we do about this?
First things first, research suggests that practicing mindful awareness of the present moment can actually decrease the nastiness of our self-talk and help us be more conscious of the thoughts that we do have. Set aside 10 to 15 minutes of your day, and spend time mindfully watching the breath going in and out of your body. When thoughts arise in your consciousness – and they will arise – just acknowledge them and go back to watching the breath. Do this in a consistent way, and you will find that your self-talk gets more positive and less intense over time.
Another way to regulate your self-talk is to keep a journal. If/when you have recurring bad thoughts, write them down in your journal, and go over those thoughts with your therapist and/or analyze them yourself using free writing or root cause analysis. (Root cause analysis is when you take a particular problem and ask yourself why that problem is existing… and then you ask why the underlying problem is existing… and so forth until you get to the true “root cause.”)
Let go of feeling responsible for your spouse’s feelings – or anyone else’s feelings, for that matter. You can only control your own thoughts, actions, and beliefs. That’s so important to remember, especially if you have been in an emotionally involved relationship.
Finally, if you haven’t yet retained legal representation for your California divorce, call the Dinnebier & Demmerle team today to schedule a case evaluation with us.