This article was first featured on the North House Coaching website where you can find more infomration about support available when going through Divorce.
Supporting someone through a Divorce can be a difficult process, as can supporting anyone through an emotional trauma. This is because everyone is different, so there is never a one size fits all approach.
I recently had the fortune of chatting to Sara Collins (a qualified solicitor, coach and mindfulness practitioner) about Mindfullnes and how this can support people through Divorce. Here is what she told me:
Mindfulness is a non-secular practise with its roots in Buddhism dating back 2,500 years. There are numerous definitions of mindfulness Jon Kabat-Zinn in his book the Full Catastrophe Living describes mindfulness as "paying attention in a particular way on purpose in the present moment and none-judgementally." Compassion for yourself and others lies at the heart of the practise.
The Mindfulness Association describes it as "knowing what is happening, while it is happening, without preference." Being mindful is a way of being and draws together both eastern and western psychologies.
Sara was introduced to Mindfulness after supporting a friend to attend a mindfulness based stress reduction programme. She became intrigued about the benefits of mindfulness and realised the benefits this could have to herself and her clients when dealing with the relentless pace of modern living. She learned that by being present and responding with compassion can help people to set themselves free from their own constraints.
Sara's knowledge and passion on the subject convinced me that the benefits of practising Mindfulness when going through Divorce are multi-dimensional;
• It provides a framework to help manage the stress of a relationship breakdown.
• It helps people to pause and step back from being reactive and enable them to make thoughtful and sound decisions for themselves and any children involved.
• A person who uses mindfulness is able to develop an awareness of their perceptions and subsequently challenge those perceptions and forces that play in their minds.
• Practising mindfulness also offers a reminder of the constant state of change that a person will go through and helps them to let go, accept the situation and move forward.
• It provides an attitudinal shift towards positivity, gratitude, kindness and compassion towards self and others.
Mindfulness is based on formal and informal practises and you can start immediately. I asked Sara to share with us some Mindfulness exercises that you could try. So, have a go at some of the following:
• Sit in a different chair than normal in a meeting
• Take a different route to work
• Plant some seeds and watch them grow
• Play a game instead of watching the TV
• Go for a walk somewhere new
• Try walking with your shoulders back in a very erect way, swing your arms a little more, walk a little faster or a little slower than you would normally.
Be curious about how this feels. Notice how it encourages you to break some of the unconscious habits of thinking and behaving. By gently breaking a few of your daily routines, you instantly become more present in the moment.
Sara also suggests that it is important to have access to impartial emotional, legal and financial support when going through Divorce. Being mindful in the decisions/choices about who is in your legal team can have a significant impact on the emotional, financial and practical outcomes from your Divorce. It is important to take time to ensure that you have the right team of experts to support you and who you feel confident in and who are concurrent with your values. As a Solicitor and now Divorce Coach, Sara can testify to the benefits of having a coach as part of your team.
For more information about the work Sara does, check out http://breathingspace.company/