Divorce and Separation: Stopping the Negative Mental Loops


How can you stop the negative loops recalling what went wrong (and what was so right)? How do you stop trying to ‘fix’ it in your own mind?”


Divorce, heartache, grief and rebuilding your life – it’s all part of the healing journey everyone must travel when your relationship ends. The mind is a beautiful problem-solving tool. But when it comes to matters of the heart and relationship, our brain is often not well-equipped to help us heal.

Having those cyclical thoughts and questions of “What if….?” or questioning what might have turned out differently if you’d made different choices in the past is quite natural. It is simply the brain sifting, sorting and trying to find patterns and solutions from past experiences it has stored to find a way out of the situation you find yourself in. Sometimes you know your relationship is on the rocks, and sometimes you don’t. So our powerful brain is literally scanning its memory banks to find pieces of data that might help you to create a solution and get to the other side of your heartache.

But your power and choices lie in each present moment. The problem with unchecked cyclical thoughts is that they keep you replaying the past or projecting yourself into a fantasy future that is sheer speculation. The key to making empowering choices for yourself and navigating through your divorce is when you stay present, moment-to-moment.

If you find yourself caught in a mental spin cycle, a great way to break out of it is to write it all down. Use a journal to capture your thoughts and questions. This will assure your brain you’re doing something productive with all of its gyrations and help loosen the grip of these negative loops on your mind.

You can also set some boundaries around this kind of thinking. Give yourself a time limit of some kind to fully review the good, bad and ugly about your situation and how you got there and then once your timer goes off, stop. Break your physical and mental state by putting on some great tunes and dancing, or do some jumping jacks, and then undertake another kind of activity.

It’s also important to ask great questions. Setting your brain to the task of “How could I “fix” things?” assumes that something is broken that you are responsible for fixing. Redirect your powerful mind to answering the question “If this experience is part of my soul curriculum, what are the gifts in it for me and my personal evolution?” or “What can I learn from this that will serve me in all future relationships?”

Have a question about divorce you’d like to see answered? Submit yours to Thrive after Divorce by sending an email to askthrive@ThriveAfterDivorce.com.


Divorce Relief: What to Do When You Can’t Stop Thinking About Your Ex

Q. “I am challenged by wondering all the time about what my soon-to- be ex-spouse is thinking or doing, and most agonizingly sad, who is is with?

A. Separation and divorce is a bumpy road and it takes some time, dedicated effort and great tools to help get through to the other side. You are not alone is having part of your mind get on a frustrating hamster wheel of wondering about your ex. Our brain can get like a dog on a bone, chewing endlessly (often in the middle of the night) with a litany of questions like:

Is he as sad as I’m feeling?

Is he regretting his choices?

Is he healing faster than I am and what is wrong with me that I still feel grief?

Has he moved on in love, and who is he with? What is she like? How do I compare to her?

Divorce, even if you’re the one who initiated, is still a shock to your emotional system. The brain wants to make sense of it all, so it starts to seek and scan for answers. Our egos want to compare and judge – who is “winning the race” for getting through the pain and over the divorce first. It’s simply a natural way our sense of self-identity gets constructed.

It is important to realize excessive speculating and wondering is actually a distraction from your own healing journey. Here are some ways you can break the pattern and stop fixating on your ex….

Keep a journal and write out all the questions you have running around in your head. Like taking the lid off a boiling pot of water releases the pressure, journaling your worry thoughts will help them to dissipate more quickly. You get to see your questions from a more objective perspective.

Sometimes we let our attention wander and get ourselves stuck in the past is because we don’t have a clear vision for our future after divorce. Do some work to help create your road map through your divorce. The award-winning Divorce Resource Kit to has questions, exercises and guided meditations that can help you chart your course for your future.

It’s also important to keep your focus on what you actually have control and influence over, such as your own thoughts, words and actions. Diverting your energy to anyone else instead of your own process of understanding the deeper spiritual lessons that are available through your divorce is a distraction. Take responsibility for what you can change and learn, and let the rest go.

© 2012 Carolyn B. Ellis


Your Trusted Advisors: 5 Criteria To Build The Right Team

The road to success is never one we travel completely alone. Behind every success, there is typically a team of trusted advisors and supporters behind us. These special people cheer us on and help us keep our focus. They warn us of potholes we may not see clearly and point out opportunities we might be missing.

When you are in the midst of a challenge, or striking out in a new direction, your support system is critical to your success. It is extremely important that you have the right constellation of trusted advisors. There’s nothing like discovering a dream-stealer or energy vampire among your inner circle of supporters to derail you and send you off into a spiral of self-doubt or fear.

I am blessed to have a circle of trusted advisors who I can call any time of day or night to support me. Some I have known for a few years. Others have known me my entire lifetime (thanks Mom and Dad!). At times I’ve had to let a few people go who, despite how much I loved them, simply weren’t a good fit for my trusted advisor team.

Who are your trusted advisors and can you truly count on them? It may be time to do some spring cleaning and recruiting. Here are some key criteria you can use to help you create your team of support….. Continue reading

Divorce: Facing Your Financial Fears

Q. “How do I stay out of fear and panic, especially when my finances are so uncertain with this divorce coming up?”

A. Money is a really fundamental piece of the divorce picture, and so the first step I recommend you take is a few deep breaths. It’s hard to think clearly and make great decisions when your body is feeling that adrenalin charge that comes with the “flight or fight” response when your financial security feels threatened or uncertain. I highly recommend you check out my Divorce Resource Kit which addresses what to do to get clarity around your finances in more detail, including my Top 10 Tips for Finances. But let me share a few tips to get you started here.

First, know that feeling overwhelmed and in fear is natural…. Continue reading

Divorce: 5 Tips to Mastering Fear of the “Firsts”

Divorce and separation launch you into a world of “Firsts.” The first holiday season. The first New Year’s Eve. The first time you meet your ex in a public place. Perhaps the first job interview in a long while. The first date after the end of your marriage. The first court date.

Let’s face it, most of us feel uncomfortable when we’re on the precipice of a significant “First.” It’s unfamiliar and …

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Living with Uncertainty: 6 Principles to Guide You Through Fear

There’s a new flu bug this season and it’s called the “Fear of the Unknown.” It’s hard to get through the day without being exposed to negative media headlines and gloomy water cooler conversation. The changing times have unfortunately hit people in concrete terms, such as their jobs, their portfolio values or their homes. To those of us who’ve gone through the upheaval of divorce, this sense of uncertainty is familiar.

The way through these uncertain times is not to react out of our fears. Instead we need to reach inside to find a new level of wisdom and resilience that can guide us.  Some of the massive financial restructuring that is going on is because the foundations that were laid, on both Wall Street and Main Street, were not sound. The THRIVE Principles ™ can help… Continue reading

Thriving in Uncertain Times: Part 1

Market crashes, credit crunches and a world caught in unprecedented restructuring. Is there a way through this uncertainty? There’s clearly a huge shift going on in the world right now. At every turn we hear about the doom, gloom and insecurity about the future.

Many of us are waking up with a pit of fear in the stomach. As a person who’s committed to growing in consciousness myself, I’ve noticed it’s been hard for me to maintain my own sense of emotional balance and spiritual center. With the news media flooded daily with unsettling news on so many fronts, it’s easy to… Continue reading