You might be wondering what muscles have to do with surviving and thriving during divorce. I'm here to say, everything! But before you go busting out the dumbbells, let's get clear that we're talking about mental muscles, not physical ones.
While there's no doubt that being in great physical shape is good for your overall health, today we're focused on the muscles you can't see.
Divorce can be a gut-wrenching, sleep-depriving, never-been-through-anything-this-hard process. You might be the toughest businesswoman in your company, or the most disciplined mama on your block, but divorce calls on a whole different type of strength.
You need strong mental muscles, and the way to get them is a lot like the way you get stronger abs or bigger biceps - you build them one day at a time. For me, building mental muscle does involve some physical exercise. (It's easier to feel good after a run, yoga session, or spin class at the gym). But it takes more than just physical exercise to strengthen the mind.
Here are 5 tools for building your mental muscle. The good news is you can do them all from the comfort of your own home.
1. Read uplifting words.
While it’s wonderful to get lost in a good novel, we’d love for you to also consider exploring the personal development, self-help category. Reading about survival, confidence and courage can be a powerful tool right now.
A few of our favorite experts are: Brene’ Brown, Tony Robbins, Eckhart Tolle, and Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. Mix in anything by Jen Sincero, Marie Forleo, and Rachel Hollis and it’ll be hard not to feel just a little stronger.
Think it's a bit too woo-woo for ya? Hear me out. The power of meditation to transform the mind has been studied for centuries. Meditation has been shown to reduce stress, control anxiety, improve sleep, generate kindness, and more. All in as little as 5 minutes a day. It took me years to actually commit to daily meditation, but once I did, I was hooked. You can just sit in silence or download any of a number of great guided meditation apps. We like Headspace, which offers hundreds of themed meditations on a ton of topics, many of which are bite-sized for busy schedules.
Like meditation, journaling has amazing benefits, including the ability to boost your mood, lower depression, reduce avoidance symptoms post-trauma (hello!), strengthen self-discipline, and improve communication.
Don’t know where to start? Try this easy exercise: Get yourself a cute journal and pen, set a timer for 5 minutes, and once it starts, just keep your pen moving. If you’re not sure what to write, you can write something silly over and over again, like “yada yada yada” as long as your pen keeps moving. This will help you get in the writing habit, and before long you’ll be more comfortable with actually writing down your thoughts and feelings.
4. Practice gratitude.
We’re probably all familiar with the benefits of gratitude. Studies have shown that expressing gratitude improves mental, physical and relational well-being, and impacts our happiness overall.
Thought leaders like Arianna Huffington, Tony Robbins and Oprah Winfrey believe that success in life is profoundly connected to acknowledging what you already have.
One way to do this is to start or end your day listing 3 things – large or small – that you’re grateful for. Need some help sticking with it? Commit to exchanging your daily gratitude list with a friend via text – maybe someone in your D Squad?
Oprah summed it up beautifully (of course!) with this lovely quote:
“Being grateful all the time isn’t easy. But it’s when you least feel thankful that you are most in need of what gratitude can give you: perspective. Gratitude can transform any situation. It alters your vibration, moving you from negative energy to positive. It’s the quickest, easiest most powerful way to effect change in your life.” – Oprah Winfrey
And here’s a bonus to add to the list...
5. Find something to laugh about every day.
Your mind, like any muscle, needs a break from all that hard work. When you need to press the pause button, there’s nothing like a dog eating cupcakes to help you forget your troubles.
Here are a few of our favorite links to get you started. We dare you not to laugh.