The rollercoaster of emotions that come with divorce can be difficult to manage. It’s completely normal if you feel out of control with thoughts that cause you fear and anxiety.
While you can’t always stop your thoughts, you can learn to control them, sort of like herding a flock of sheep. I’ve found the best way to do this is by writing them down in a journal (or even on the notes app on your phone). Being able to express your thoughts with reckless abandon is cathartic. It’s a place to process where no one is going to interrupt you, get bored of you, or judge you.
Even if you’ve never journaled before, there is no better time to start than now. Although you might feel like you’re at war with your own mind most of the time, you might be surprised to discover how you really feel about something, or how the answer to a problem is write (haha, pun intended) in front of you.
Here are some prompts to help you get started:
- How am I feeling at this exact moment? Anxious? Relieved? Having revenge fantasies about my ex?
- Write a letter to your ex with everything you want to say (that you don’t actually send).
- What feels especially heavy today?
- What is something you’re looking forward to today? This week? This month?
- How have you been neglecting to take care of yourself?
- Write about your ideal relationship. Include the qualities you’re looking for in a partner as well as your deal-breakers.
- How have you heard God’s voice through your divorce process?
- What can you forgive yourself for? What would it feel like to forgive yourself?
- What has this experience taught you so far?
- What negative thought do you keep returning to? What is keeping you from letting that thought go?
- Galatians 6:2 says, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Who can you ask to help carry your burden?
You may also want to write down the 5 most important tasks that you have to get done on a given day. That way, your mind won’t be able to pull you in a million different directions because you have to only focus on accomplishing your 5 tasks.
If you still feel like your thoughts are spiraling out of control, send a text to someone on your “A” team. It can feel relieving to write out long, angry messages directed at your soon-to-be ex and send it to your friends instead. That way, you’ll get the validation that you need, and clarity about how you are really feeling.
A final word on thoughts: put them all on trial. When negative thoughts arise, and everything feels doom and gloom, ask yourself: is this thought true? Is this thought helpful?