Contribution from freelance writer, Jackie Edwards
Following a divorce, it may feel like a part of you is missing and this is one reason why a divorce can encourage spiritual growth. We form such deep relationships with our partners that it often feels like they are a part of us. In truth, you are your own person and your identity is not tied to your relationship. Divorce is associated with depression, so it is important that you work extra hard on your own sense of well-being when a marriage ends. Firstly, recognize that staying in an unhappy marriage for too long is a common mistake. Then you can begin to rediscover and rebuild yourself.
How Spirituality Can Help
In this article, ‘spirituality’ does not refer specifically to religion or extrasensory perception. We are talking about well-being, inner peace and self-authorship. These are all rooted in scientific and psychological research around wellness.
This may, however, involve religion. Dr Harold Koenig’s research suggests that those who engage in religious or spiritual activities tend to be happier and more optimistic. So, if you have neglected your spiritual beliefs during a marriage, take this time to rediscover that side of you. Religion provides a sense of meaning, purpose and comfort in life. It also provides community and friendship to console you if your friendship with your ex-spouse has ended.
Helpful Spiritual Practices
Regardless of religious orientation, there are useful practices to maintain a steady and healthy mind. Mindfulness is a form of meditation that is open to everyone. You can try it right now. Simply close your eyes, take three breaths, and focus your entire attention on those breaths. In that short amount of time, you may have noticed thoughts coming into your brain. Mindfulness courses aim to train you to view these thoughts as separate from you so you can refocus on your anchor, which is this case was breathing.
Essentially, mental well-being requires focus and clarity. From here you can come to know yourself more thoroughly and dedicate your time to bringing joy into your life. Computers, TVs and smartphones can be a source of distraction from spending time with yourself, so aim to reconnect with nature, where it is easier to focus on the present moment.
There are bound to be many thoughts and complex feelings floating around your mind during a divorce. You need to find space to organize these thoughts and control the negative ones. This can be done by taking a spiritual vacation to a remote meditation or retreat or by taking up yoga. Yoga provides an activity that is open to everyone and focuses on building both mental and physical strength. It can be devoid of, or combined with, religious practices. Whether you are searching for connection with your God or with yourself, yoga has plenty of spiritual benefits.
Often, the way we feel about things lies not in the things themselves, but our attitudes towards them. Your first step is to stop viewing divorce as a door closing, but as a new door opening. Rather than loss, it is an opportunity to gain something more profound: a connection with yourself.
Now working as a writer, Jackie started her career in health and social care, but after becoming a mom refocused and decided to spend more time with her family. When she’s not writing, she volunteers for a number of local mental health charities and also has a menagerie of pets to look after including a cheeky cat called Bertie.