“How long did it take you to start to feel better about your break-up?” a client asked me this week during a coaching session. She wanted to know, as many of my clients do, when she would start to feel happy again. I am asked this a lot as sometimes the pain can seem endless and you begin to wonder if you will ever find happiness again. For me it happened like this:
One morning, a few months after I found out my marriage was over, I woke up alone in the marital bed and as I opened my eyes I had that familiar awful sinking feeling as I realised that yes this was really happening. Every morning it was as if my body woke up hopeful that it was all a bad dream. Only for it to hit me hard that this nightmare was actually my life.
But this day was different as I realised that I was fed up of feeling bad. I hated waking up and the sadness hitting me like a huge tidal wave all over again. I hated constantly feeling on the edge of tears and being full of angst and worry. I hated the person I had become, introverted, frightened and desperately sad. As I sat up in bed I realised that I was done with feeling out of control and battered by my own emotions. It was time to get back on track and start feeling good again.
This morning was markedly different as instead of sliding out of bed and grabbing my Juicy Couture tracksuit, which had become my standard uniform for the past few months, I strode with purpose up to my wardrobe and stared around at the clothes. I decided to wear a pencil skirt with a pretty pink blouse. This was a total turnaround as I had not worn anything that made me look feminine, or anything that wasn’t loose fitting, in a long time.
Don’t get me wrong – I didn’t FEEL like dressing up, it was just that I didn’t want to feel bad anymore! I knew I had to grab back control of my life and that meant making small changes. One step at a time…
So, my answer to the original question is always:
You will start to feel better as soon as YOU DECIDE to feel better.
There is a natural period of time when you grieve the end of your relationship, when it feels raw and unbearable. This is a natural part of the healing process and you will need to go through this stage and face the pain to fully be able to let it go. However, there will be a point when you have had enough of feeling so low and you are ready to move forward.
The truth is that you control the remote control to your brain however most of us don’t know how to use it. You can decide whether you are going to feel anger and rage or dial it down to frustration and annoyance. It may seem impossible right now but I assure you that this is possible.
7 Steps to taking control of how you feel:
- Make the conscious decision that you are fully committed to feeling better and that you will take action to make it happen. You will have to push yourself as sometimes it will be easier to sit on the sofa and eat crisps! I know as I have been there. But these are the times that you need to keep focused and push on through.
- Write a list of 3 small things you can do right now that will make you feel better. Make sure they are positive actions that will support you moving forward. Ideas could be going for a walk in the park, meeting a friend for coffee or having a massage. You need to look after yourself, so have a think about what you would enjoy. Put these activities in your diary and make sure you follow through.
- Become aware of your body language. Force yourself to stand tall and put a smile on your face. This will send a signal to your brain that you are feeling happy and your mood will start to shift. The more you do it the more natural it will become.
- Make small changes in your living space. Introduce splashes of your favourite colour and photos that make you smile. Remove any items that trigger negative memories and replace them with items that you love and make you feel good. Try rearranging the furniture as you will be surprised at how it can change the feel of the room.
- Remember that you are what you eat. So, make sure you have balanced diet and get the nutrients your body really needs when its stressed.
- Surround yourself with positive upbeat friends and family who have your best interests at heart. Avoid energy vampires who leave you feeling drained. Make time for people that make you laugh and can boost your spirits.
- Exercise is a great way to feel better, even a brisk walk around the block will make a huge difference to your mood. Taking a class or committing to a bike ride with a friend will ensure you get out of the house.
The trick to managing the remote control to your mind is to make small changes and see what affect they have on you. You need to discover what works best for you.
Set realistic expectations so you don’t set yourself up to fail. For example, if you feel rage on a scale of ten out of ten towards your ex then it would be unrealistic to expect to feel nothing right away. So, aim to adjust the dial down from ten to eight to start with. Even shifting a little on the scale will have a huge impact on how you cope with your break-up. Then gradually move it from there until you reach one or two.
You will see that even tiny shifts can have the biggest effect on you. Focus on one step at a time and small changes every day. This will keep your momentum and enable to feel better day by day. You will be able to grab back your control and get back in the driving seat of your life again.
So, as I said, you will start to feel better when you decide to feel better. So, it’s in your hands…. You only live once so over to you!
Sara Davison, The Divorce Coach, is the UK’s leading break-up coach and has developed the first bespoke coaching program providing individuals with the tools, techniques and practical advice needed to help better navigate and cope with the roller-coaster of any break-up.
An author, media commentator, public speaker and motivational coach, Sara’s one-to-one coaching clinic and her revolutionary Break-Up Recovery Retreats are changing the way we cope when our relationships end. She equips her clients with a tool kit of techniques and strategies to handle any and every break-up, with clients ranging from first time heartbreak to divorce after 30 years of marriage.
Sara's Break-up Recovery Retreats have been nationally acclaimed by some of the UK's leading journalists, and her book ‘Uncoupling’ has is a number one best seller on Amazon.
For more information on Sara and Divorce Coaching, log on to her http://saradavison.com/or follow her on https://www.facebook.com/SaraDavisonDivorceCoach , Twitter https://twitter.com/SDDivorceCoach @SDDivorcecoach, and Instagram https://www.instagram.com/saradavisondivorcecoach/ SaraDavisonDivorceCoach