Divorce Detox: Release Negative Feelings and Move On with Renewed Hope
No matter how amicable you think your divorce was, you’re still left with a residue of negative emotions. Hurt or betrayal. Overwhelming guilt. Sadness for what once was but will never be again.
While these feelings are common after divorce, chronic negativity can be like emotional poison if left unattended. How can you heal your broken spirit, get closure, and move forward with renewed optimism?
How to release negative feelings
Holding onto post-divorce negativity can be exhausting and counterproductive. It can eat away at you after a while.
Detoxing from your divorce isn’t about forgetting or dismissing what happened. Instead, it’s about acknowledging it, learning from the process, and making the conscious choice to move forward. But, like anything else transitional, that’s easier said than done.
How can you release this negativity and recover when it feels all-consuming?
Process feelings through self-expression
After your divorce, one of your most important tasks for healing will be to reclaim your identity and individuality. This can look different for everyone. Many find this kind of reclamation by channeling their feelings through creativity and self-expression.
Playing an instrument, painting, writing, and dancing are all creative pursuits that can be enjoyable while also helping you work through complex emotions. And in the meantime, your creative endeavors will bring something emotionally cathartic and even tangible into being.
If you’re not the “artsy” type, find something else to do with your hands and heart such as cooking meals for yourself and others, performing yard work, or decluttering your garage or storage space.
Release negative energy through physical movement
Unfortunately, negative energy can feed off lethargy and inertia, sucking you further down into its gaping black hole. Physical movement will stop this downward spiral in its tracks and bridge the healing gap between your body and mind.
Get out and move. Take a walk or a bike ride. Sign up for a yoga class, or join the local gym. It’s hard to focus on the negatives when your heart rate is elevated and you’re sweating out those physical toxins. The emotional ones? You’re detoxing those, too.
Perform acts of kindness for others
When you’re feeling unhappy about your own life, doing good deeds for others not only makes you feel connected but heals you as well.
In a study from The Ohio State University, one group of participants was asked to perform three acts of kindness a day, two days a week. These kindnesses ranged from baking cookies for a friend to leaving sticky notes for others offering encouragement.
The acts of kindness group showed greater improvement in their happiness than the other two groups, who were assigned other cognitive behavioral therapy techniques. Bottom line, their kind actions not only helped others but gave the participants a sense of purpose and fulfillment that enhanced their own positive feelings.
Organize and redecorate
Living in the same space you lived while married can take a negative toll on your mindset. But revamping this space can have a surprisingly positive effect on your perspective.
Organizing, decluttering, and simple redecorating don’t need to be expensive endeavors. Small changes can help create a fresh, peaceful environment and make it feel more truly yours.
Never underestimate the power of laughter. Having fun can be a crucial element for healing and rediscovering your own zest for life.
Chances are, you didn’t have much laughter in your life during your divorce. It may take some practice to have fun again. Remember what “play” feels like? Grab some friends and head out to embrace, wholeheartedly, whatever play means for you. This could involve going out dancing or hanging out at trivia night over a few beers. Little by little, you’ll banish the negative monsters that have taken up residence in your brain as you remember what joy feels like.
Maybe you’ve been hurting so much, you haven’t given yourself the space to get clarity around specifics. Identifying specific sources of your pain can allow you to brainstorm practical solutions around them.
If your self-esteem is suffering, get support from friends and family who make you feel alive and whole. If interactions with your ex draining you, take a communication breather for a while to let your emotions die down.
Not sure what is specifically dragging you down? Consider talking to a therapist who deals with relationships and divorce. Taking time to problem-solve specifics allows you to acknowledge the positive small steps you’re taking and empowers you to take more.
Why you need to let toxic feelings go
Rebuilding your life will seem overwhelming when you’re suffocating under a mountain of negativity. Releasing that negativity can be key to your healing.
Emotional detoxing after divorce will be as deeply personal and individual as you are. Whether you’re someone who thrives on physical movement or writing your thoughts and dreams in a journal, whatever takes your heart and mind out of the negativities of your divorce can help move you into a place of hope and happiness.
Remember that seeking support and even professional guidance along the way is okay. Therapists, counselors, support groups, good friends – invite them into your life, and let them support you when needed. This time is important. You’re not just surviving a divorce, but you’re building a future. You don’t have to do it alone.
At Hello Divorce, we’re here to support you no matter where you are in the divorce process. From our affordable DIY divorce plans and flat-rate professional services to a library of informational resources, we are your tribe dedicated to supporting you along the way. Schedule a free call to see how we can help you through and beyond your divorce into a bright new future.
Healing through helping: an experimental investigation of kindness, social activities, and reappraisal as well-being interventions. December 2022. The Journal of Positive Psychology.