Thursday, February 24, 2011

Keeping it Happy Post-Divorce

I like to say, and I truly believe, that every run brings new experiences. You just don't know what they might be until you actually do the run. That's one of my major reasons for pushing out the front door as often as I do—the adventure of it all. Amby Burfoot, Editor at Large, Runner’s World

This quote struck me, since I just blogged about sustaining happiness last night. In that context I also opined that every run is different, even if it’s on the same path. Or perhaps that makes it a different path? The point being it made me think more about the principles for sustaining happiness and I started to wonder how to apply them post-divorce.

You might want to start with believing that you can be happy post-divorce. You have to recognize that it’s something you may have to put effort into, in a way you didn’t have to when you were married. You’ll have to make a commitment to doing whatever it’s going to take to get there. Sometimes you have to push yourself to get going. As I tell people when it comes to dieting, or changing eating habits, this is a lifetime commitment if you want to keep off the weight. It’s the same for happiness activities, especially if you’re in a bit of a rut. Divorce’ll do that to you.

Support from friends or family help us stick to the program, especially if it’s a new program. One my post-divorce goals (meeting goals you set increases happiness) was to take more photos, and my son kindly reminded me when he saw a photo op (generally to take pictures of him). Getting family on board with schedule changes you may have to make is also important. Post-divorce kids, in particular, often like to know the schedule and when they do they can be more supportive.

It’s relatively easy to push yourself to try various happiness activities post-divorce. Sure you can perform a random act of kindness occasionally, give up drinking for 3 days, or pray once a month when you’re feeling particularly down. But try to amp up your happiness efforts with some of these strategies and you’re more likely to keep your happiness level higher. Did I mention you have to think it’s possible? That is, you have to think it’s possible to be happy post-divorce.

The Book: The How of Happiness, Sonja Lyubomirsky
To get in the mood: Brand New Day, Sting

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