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STRESS—Keep working on it! Come into this season with a plan.

The holidays can be a particularly difficult time of the year, between office parties, family get-togethers, friendship reunions, and holiday dinners. They all often lead to an increased amount of emotional distress.

What sort of emotional distresses?

Emotional sensitivity– You feel easily hurt. Small things tend to set off your emotions. You expect to be rejected and prepare for the worst.

Emotional reactivity– When something upsets you, you tend to react strongly....

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Grieving: Before During and After the Divorce

Divorce is the second greatest life stressor after the death of a loved one.

People experience the stages of grief and loss in much the same way:
Denial / Anger / Bargaining / Guilt / Depression / Acceptance.

These stages of grief are experienced differently in divorce. Often one person (the initiator) wants the divorce. The other (the recipient) might want the marriage to continue. The initiator may feel more of the guilt and responsibility. The recipient may cycle between bargaining and...

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Healing & Transformation: Going Beyond Divorce

Transformations and changes are showing up in my divorce support groups!

My divorce support groups that begin as eight-week series often evolve into groups of people who continue on by joining the next session, and then extend their participation with series after series. The reasons are varied, but most of them feel that getting to the next level of healing is right around the corner, and they are motivated to keep working toward that goal. In the past month I have been hearing so many...

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How Shame Stops You From Processing Grief

Going through divorce brings out so many raw feelings. One of the major ones is grief – the mental sorrowing over the loss of the dreams one had for the marriage, the painful regret over what you wished it had been. To move through grief, one has to acknowledge the feelings of loss and learn not only to cope with them, but to overcome them while reclaiming and reinventing your life.

There is another feeling that often comes up during a divorce that can block the grieving process –...

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Understanding the Emotional Impact of Separation

Members in my divorce support group have discussed what bad habits they get into in their long-term relationships. I’ve often heard folks say that their long term relationships have changed them. They stopped doing things that made them feel happy and started experiencing less joy in their life in general. Group members question why they were with their partners and where things started falling apart in their relationships. Did they give up on their own lives? Was it possible to find...

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Seven Stages of Grief

Seven Stages of Grief
1. Shock and Denial
You will probably react to learning of the loss with numbed disbelief. You may deny the reality of the loss at some level, in order to avoid the pain. Shock provides emotional protection from being overwhelmed all at once. This may last for weeks.
2. Pain and Guilt
As the shock wears off, it is replaced with suffering from unbelievable pain. Although excruciating and almost unbearable, it is important that you experience the pain fully, and not hide it,...

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How to Get Through a Difficult Day

Chop Wood Carry Water

This article will explain in more detail a Buddhist suggestion of what to do when going through a hard time.
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“Put your heart, mind, intellect and soul even to your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.”
Swami Sivananda
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Work. What does the word mean to you? Is it something to be avoided? Is it a means to an end? Is it the only appropriate focus of your attention and energy?...

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An Example of Triggers in the Support Group

One of the members in my divorce support group, Sarah was so triggered by another, I couldn’t help but wonder if they would be able to connect. Mary, had been left by her partner. Sarah, had been the one to leave. Being face to face with each other brought up feelings of guilt, anger, and hurt that really originated in the relationships each had lost.

As it turned out these members got past the triggers by moving deeper into their pain and owning the parts of themselves that felt...

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Understand the emotional impact of separation

What bad habits did you get into in your long-term relationship? Often times I’ve heard folks say that their long term relationship changed them. They stopped doing things that made them feel happy and they experience less joy. In long term relationships we sometimes question why we were together and where things fell apart. Did we give up on our own lives? Was it impossible to find happiness with our mate, or was it both? Often times the habits of not communicating, losing interest in...

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