Forgive-broken heart

Breaking Up During the Season of JoyThis year, instead of a house filled with delight and stockings full of gifts, home for the holidays is taking on a new meaning. Your relationship has been given its walking papers, and suddenly, all you want for the holidays is a shelter from the storm and a soft place to curl up and retreat.

It doesn’t matter if it was a long marriage or a short-lived relationship, if you cared and connected, you may feel like you are on a sleigh ride without the runners, the snow, or even the bells. What was once a season that was joyful and bright has now lost all its charm!

Grieving over your love loss any time of the year is challenging enough, but the holidays bring another dimension of “shell-shock” and darkness to an already stressful time.

Trust me, as a relationship therapist, divorce mediator and a veteran of two divorces myself, I’ve seen it all and I get it. What works in getting over a breakup is a holistic approach addressing four core areas: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. The following are highly effective strategies from the healing section my book Chatting or Cheating, using each of those four core areas to get you on the road to recovery from that breakup — fast.

PHYSICAL

1. Meditate, don’t medicate. Avoid overusing drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and coffee, and resist the urge to stuff down your feelings using chocolate and food. You’ll only end up feeling worse about yourself. In times of stress, having an extra drink or two, another piece of cake, or downing a quart of ice cream may be tempting, but doing so will only cause you to spiral down into a depression, lose sleep, and gain weight. Instead, take five minutes to sit quietly, meditate, practice yoga or pick up a book that gives you a gift of knowledge, hope or inspiration.

2. Eat healthfully and regularly. Your body can’t function properly without the proper nutrition. Don’t skip meals or resort to convenience food. Treat yourself well; eat wholesome meals that are balanced and freshly made.

3. Get plenty of sleep. There’s nothing better than the gift of sleep to refresh your brain and your perspective. If you’re struggling with punishing, pain-producing thoughts that keep you awake, try this: Keep a journal by your bed, write down your anxieties and imagine them flowing out of you and onto the paper. Say, “I fully release you and let you go. I give myself permission to peacefully sleep.”

4. Exercise your blues away. The absence of pleasure-producing endorphins after a break up can make you feel sluggish and miserable. Exercise increases your endorphins. Join a health club, take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk to work, do some yoga, or take a salsa lesson. Make a promise to do something active for 30 minutes a day for 30 days, no excuses.

Ballerina  In Ballet Pose Classical DanceEMOTIONAL

5. First off, STOP scaring yourself!  NO! Your divorce is not the end of your life. It’s not the end of your family. It’s not the end of your happiness, and it’s not the end of having cheerful holidays. Your body automatically responds to the messages you say to yourself. Replace your negative thoughts with positive responses. Think positive. Think opportunity. “I can do this.” “I’ll get through this and move on!” ‘What doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger. I’m getting stronger and stronger.’

6. Feel your feelings. Don’t ignore or stuff them down. Let the tears flow and express your anger. Ignored emotions will only make you calloused and afraid. One way of unloading your feelings is to write out what might be too difficult to say out loud to others right now. Or better yet, start a dialogue with your broken heart, asking yourself questions and giving it the solace and attention it needs right now.

7. Surround yourself with smiles and happy vibes. Make time for uplifting things — anything from having a cup of tea with a friend, to appreciating the pretty lights on the houses and tress, to playing a round of golf or whatever you love to do. Be sure to surround yourself with people who are your true supporters. AND hang out with friends who make you laugh. Studies have shown that laughter, or just smiling, has a way of lifting your mood instantly. A funny movie or hilarious TV show is also good. It’s about making the conscious effort to choose activities and people that lift you up.

MENTAL

8. Stop obsessing.  Yes! Right now! All those obsessive thoughts and instant replays of “…would have, could have, should have”  head trips must stop NOW. The best way to do it is to say: “STOP!” If the thoughts won’t stop, then say, “NO! STOP NOW!” If they persist, then continue, “ENOUGH! NO MORE! STOP!”

Saying “STOP!” interrupts the obsessive thought process and breaks the cycle of pain. Immediately, redirect your thoughts away to something good that is happening in your life.

9. Take regular 60-second vacations. Relaxation is literally a breath away. Anytime you feel stressed, take a minute, slow down and breathe deeply. Thinking relaxing thoughts and verbalizing calming statements starts the healing process and helps you lessen anxiety. Take a deep breath and say out loud, “I am calm, I am safe and I can handle this.” Anything from smelling a flower to petting an animal can help take you away for even a minute, which starts the process of feeling free.

10. Set new goals.  You have a brand new year ahead. Where do you want to be this time next year? Use some of your alone time and mental powers to set goals and make plans for getting what you want out of the coming year.

Young healthy woman practicing yoga on the beach at sunsetSPIRITUAL  

11. Give to others. When you’re depressed, anxious or stressed, there is a high degree of focus on the self. Focusing on the needs of others literally helps shift your thinking and your mood from victimhood to empowerment. Studies show that the happiest people are ones who give the most to others, and what better time of year to put that into practice? Spreading light in the darkness is a practical way of raising your spirits, too.

12. Gratitude is grounding. Have you ever noticed that it’s impossible to feel grateful and depressed at the same time? Gratitude can transform pain into love and bring peace to your emotional chaos. Remind yourself of all the things you’re grateful for. Better yet, write it down. This strategy works miracles for bringing you out of any gloomy mood.

Instead of allowing yourself to be overwhelmed by the breakup blues or thoughts of being newly single, choose to do the activities that will help you feel better: exercise, visiting friends, being kind to yourself and those in need, giving and receiving gifts, etc.  The holidays aren’t wasted because you aren’t with your partner anymore. Instead, think of this time of year as an opportunity to reinvest in a healthier, more grounded and more spiritually enlightened YOU.

To see my original post of this article on Divorce Magazine, please click here



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Break Up Tearing Photograph

Break Up Tearing Photograph

You just got dumped, or maybe you broke up with someone. You just want to curl up and retreat from the world.

It doesn’t matter if it was a long-term relationship, a short-lived cyber affair, an unrequited love or a good friends-with-benefits arrangement. If you cared and connected, you feel a deep and painful void where there was once laughter and affection. It’s like experiencing a small death.

Grieving over your lost love for a short time is understandable, but if you linger too long in the purgatory of how-it-used-to-be, your friends will eventually get tired of hearing you talk about your ex and advise you to “Get over it.”

You agree on some level. You know that you really ought to start getting on with life and move on. Every day starts with that intention. But every night ends with you wanting to call them, check out their Facebook page or look through old photos, just to feel closer to them.

Getting over it. Easy to say. Much harder to do.

And no wonder, because there’s a bio-chemical reason behind the desperation and despair.

Researchers who’ve looked at the brains of the lovelorn say that loss, especially rejection by a romantic partner, lights up areas of the brain that are associated with addiction. This can lead to psychological reactions that cause obsessive preoccupation with your partner, feelings of frenzied desperation, guilt over what you could have done differently and even physical pain. Letting go for good seems unimaginable.

Trust me, as both a relationship therapist and a veteran of countless breakups myself, I’ve seen it all and I get it. What I’ve discovered along the way is that you need a holistic approach to getting over a breakup, one that addresses the four core areas: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. The following are highly effective strategies from the healing section my book using each of those four core areas to get you on the road to recovery from that breakup — fast.

New Life this way PHYSICAL

Exercise_Yoga pose1. Meditate, don’t medicate. Avoid overusing drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and coffee and resist the urge to stuff down your feelings using chocolate and food. You’ll only end up feeling worse about yourself. In times of stress, having a drink or eating a quart of ice cream may be tempting, but doing so will only cause you to spiral down into a depression, lose sleep and gain weight. Instead, take five minutes to sit quietly, meditate, practice yoga or deep breathing.

2. Eat healthfully and regularly. Your body can’t function properly without the proper nutrition. Don’t skip meals or resort to convenience food. Treat yourself as if you were your own child — eat wholesome meals that are balanced and freshly made.

3. Get plenty of sleep. There’s nothing more replenishing to your body than quality sleep. If you are having trouble going to sleep because of punishing, pain-producing thoughts, try this: Keep a journal by your bed, write down your anxieties and imagine them flowing out of you and onto the paper. Say, “I fully release you and let you go. I give myself permission to peacefully sleep.”

4. Exercise your blues away. The absence of pleasure-producing endorphins after a break up can make you feel sluggish and miserable. Exercise increases your endorphins. Join a health club, take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk to work, do some yoga or take a salsa lesson. Make a promise to do something active for 30 minutes a day for 30 days, no excuses.

EMOTIONAL

Feel More Think Less

5. Feel your feelings. Don’t ignore or stuff them down. Let the tears flow and express your anger. Ignored emotions will only make you calloused and afraid. One way of unloading your feelings is to write out what might be too difficult to say out loud to others right now. Or better yet, start a dialogue with your broken heart, asking this part of you questions and giving it the solace and attention it needs right now.

6. Surround yourself with smiles and happy vibes. Make time for some feel good activities — anything from having a cup of tea with a friend to taking the kids to the zoo to playing a round of golf. Be sure to surround yourself with people that will uplift you, not unhappy ones that will just drag you down. Studies have shown that laughter or just smiling has a way of lifting your mood instantly.

MENTAL

7. Stop obsessing. All those obsessive thoughts and instant replays of would of, could of, should of head trips must stop NOW. The best way to do it is to say, “STOP!” If the thoughts won’t stop, then say, “NO! STOP NOW!” If they persist, then continue, “ENOUGH! NO MORE! STOP!”stop holding on to what hurts- make room for good

Saying “STOP!” interrupts the obsessive thought process and breaks the cycle of pain. Immediately, redirect your thoughts away to something good that is happening in your life.

8. Take a 60-second vacation. Thinking relaxing thoughts and verbalizing calming statements starts the healing process and helps you lessen anxiety. Take a deep breath and say out loud, “I am calm. I am safe and I can handle this.” Anything from smelling a flower to petting an animal can help take you away for even a minute, which starts the process of feeling free.


SPIRITUAL

Gratitude makes us happy

9. Gratitude is grounding. Have you ever noticed that it’s impossible to feel grateful and depressed at the same time? Gratitude can transform pain into love and bring peace to your emotional chaos. Remind yourself of all the things you’re grateful for. Better yet, write it down. This strategy works miracles for bringing you out of any gloomy mood.

10. Give to others. Studies show that the happiest people are ones who give the most to others. When you’re depressed, anxious or stressed, there is a high degree of focus on the self. Focusing on the needs of others literally helps shift your thinking and your mood from victimhood to empowerment.

When you’re feeling down after a breakup, you may feel like you want to avoid the very activities that will actually make you feel better — exercise, visiting friends, being kind to those in need. As much as you might want to, avoid isolating yourself from others. Ask for help and talk to a friend who you know is a good listener. Be kind and gentle with yourself. Don’t think of this as time wasted because you aren’t with that special person, but as precious time you need to reinvest in a healthier, more grounded and more spiritually enlightened you.

 

This article was written by Dr. Sheri Meyers, America’s leading love and intimacy expert. Originally posted on The Huffington Post



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fighting-couple

Why do simple disagreements turn into ugly arguments?

A disagreement can easily evolve into a full blown argument when our heart’s call for love, attention, and approval is unheard and unmet by our partner. That’s when the call for love shifts into a ‘whose right, whose wrong’ battle with full trumpets blaring. The energy of our needs and desires transmute into finger pointing daggers of blame. The more we try to prove our point, the louder the return protest becomes. Nothing gets resolved and the feelings of aloneness and separation escalate from there.

GOOD NEWS! Disagreements can actually be HELPFUL to your relationship.

Disagreements force each of us to stretch our perspective and sometimes leave our comfort zone. Successfully wrestling through our differences can lead us into a deeper, more enduring love with our partner. As Victor Hugo said…“The greatest happiness in life is the conviction that we are loved — loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves” Learning to tenaciously hold onto love with an open heartedness as we resolve our differences helps us to step through the illusion of who we want our partner to be and expands our acceptance and love of who they really are.

What can my partner and I do if we can’t resolve our disagreement?

Sometimes, when we’re embroiled in a disagreement, we get stuck. All creative solutions fly out the window and all we feel is hardness and rigidity. The most important agreement to have when you are disagreeing or stuck in a power struggle is that you won’t yell or berate each other, and that you will be nice and treat each other with the utmost respect, no matter what. Then, it’s important to begin the process of what David Deida calls ‘unguarding your heart.’

“Unguard your heart, over and over, even when you don’t want to—
especially when you don’t want to.
Continue practicing many short moments of total surrender.
Eventually, the habit of guarding wears thin,
and your heart is courageously exposed to the world,
shining with great brightness and demonstrating
a perpetual willingness to suffer others’ oblivious rancor without closing.
Love prevails. But it takes practice.”
~David Deida

The return to closeness, agreement and good feeling warm and fuzzy connected love is not going to happen until you let down the shields, melt your body armor and hear the underlying calls for love (your own and your partner’s).

HEARING YOUR PARTNER’S DISGUISED HEART CALL

Usually whatever we are fighting about can be boiled down to one of the following bottom lines: ‘I don’t feel loved.’ “I don’t feel heard.” “I don’t feel understood.” However the call is being communicated, (sometimes disguised and distorted in fearful, crabby, angry, frustrated, blaming, annoying, and less than satisfying ways) it’s important to recognize that this is your partner’s heart calling for love, attention, reassurance, and/or approval. Feeling safe with one another comes from trusting that we are known, loved and accepted as we are. To successfully navigate and resolve whatever you are fighting about, you have to find within yourself the creativity, patience, understanding, and inner security to stop pushing away or against your partner and instead leaning IN saying “I’m here. I’m willing to hear you. I’m interested in what you have to say.” “Let’s work this out.”

MELTING YOUR ARMOR TO HEAR LOVE’S CALL

Here are some ways to begin the process of melting your own armor and softening the desire to annihilate vs. love each other!

The following process is very powerful to do together as a couple, but if your partner isn’t ready yet, then the most important thing you can do is to lovingly become present within yourself.

First, (this may be the hardest part) STOP DOING WHATEVER YOU ARE DOING to fuel the fires. Let go of any and all agendas, defensive posturing, cases to build, shame, blame or that “I just have one more important thing to say” that’s burning to be spoken or screamed. Look at each other and wait until you really SEE your partner. Then say, “All is well. This obstacle that we are encountering is here to strengthen our love and acceptance. We may be a little stuck right now but we’ll get through this! I love you.”

THEN, DO THIS….

Take some deep breaths and let out a sound that physically helps you to release tension from your body. Imagine the air entering and leaving through your heart area/center of your chest. Think of a calming word, such as love, peace, relaxation, joy, and slowly breath the energy of the word in and out, saying to yourself. “I’m breathing in… love. I’m breathing out… love. ” Do this until it feels true and your body begins to relax and center.

Tune into yourself and Assess Your Connection

Let yourself become aware of what it feels like inside your body to be stuck, angry, hurt. Give yourself your full attention.

Notice…

Am I feeling connected or disconnected?

Where am I holding tension?

What am I saying to myself and/or out loud that creates separation?

How do I resist love?

Breathe deeply into the place in your body that most strongly holds your sense of separation and resistance to love. Lovingly and with full acceptance, breathe the energy of your chosen word into that place. The goal isn’t to make it go away or even change. It’s about honoring, accepting and listening softly.

Ask this part of yourself…

What do need right now?

What would you like for me to know?

What makes you feel most loved?

What makes you feel most safe?

What am I doing that makes you feel so separated and alone?

When we attune, listen to, and respond to our own love’s call it’s easier to hear our partner’s bid for love, no matter what the delivery system is.

 



One Response to The Real Reasons Behind Whatever You’re Fighting About-Dr. Sheri Meyers

  1. Jupiter Jim says:

    Sheri,

    I like your video on the real reasons that people argue. Might I also add that people who love each other argue when one of them doesn’t feel Respected! Just a thought. Keep up the great work on relationships! According to statistics, a lot of people need a lot of help in this area!

    Take Care,

    Jupiter Jim

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