Monday, 18 May 2015

Divorce: 5 Ways to Deal with the Stress

Sofia is a 16-year-old from Los Angeles, CA.  She loves the beach, shopping, and enjoys studying psychology because she would like to become a psychologist when she is older.
According to, 50% of marriages in America end in divorce.  Even worse, the impact is usually the hardest on the kids.  How should I know? I’m one of the thousands of kids that have had to deal with it.  It is one of the hardest and most nerve-wracking experiences and it took a drastic toll on my life and affected me both emotionally and physically.  By not having anyone to talk to, the feelings of anxiety continued to build up until finally, I periodically started to become physically ill. This continued for the next two years of my life and it was like being a prisoner in my own body.
As if the divorce was not stressful enough, my mother remarried soon after.  Having someone in my house that I was not familiar with and that I was constantly in conflict with, made for an extremely uncomfortable environment.  Parents, there is no problem in remarrying or even dating for that matter, but the number one priority is listening to the kids.  Establishing a sense of communication not only helps formulate a connection between you and your child, but also helps your children getting their feelings out on the table. That, consequently, will let you know what direction you should be steering both of your lives towards.  Also parents, you must be sensitive to the fact that not having a father around causes a child to produce a variety of emotions, none of which will be easy to handle; on top of this, if remarrying is an option, the child must now also deal with a new person coming into their house and assuming the role of another parent.
Although it may not seem this way, many parents have the tendency to side with their new spouse and it makes the kid feel shut out and alone.  Sometimes, it is an unconscious defense system on the part of most remarried parents not realizing or admitting that they are doing just so.  The typical conversation being, “You always side with him/her!” from the child, with the parent retaliating, “Stop being ridiculous and over dramatic, I’m not siding with anybody!” This was probably the most common conversation in my household for the longest time and it never got any better until I talked and worked with my mother to really solve the problem.
Teens, instead of constantly thinking that your parent is “siding” with your new stepparent, put yourself in their shoes.  I know this is extremely difficult, but once you do, you’ll see how your parent is stuck in the middle between the two people they love the most.  Instead of keeping everything inside and letting it bottle up, try talking about it, in a calm and contained manner, with your parents.  While they are trying their best to make everyone happy, they might not have a clue on how to do it, and they can definitely use your insight and your help,
Number one rule, NEVER KEEP YOUR FEELINGS TO YOURSELF! Teens, you are just as important as anyone in the world, and not voicing your emotions can cause harm to yourself.  Anxiety after divorces commonly appears as a result of teens not being able to talk to anyone and keeping all of their troubles and concerns to themselves.  Your parents want to listen, just talk to them.
5 Ways to Relieve the Anxiety:

1.  Go Swimming!
It might seem silly, but going swimming is one of the most relaxing activities you can do.  You feel weightless in the water, feel as if a burden is lifted off your shoulders, and it takes away any stress pressed upon your body.

2.  Avoid Caffeine 

Drinking coffee, sodas, and energy drinks increase activity in the arousal areas in your body (i.e. the autonomic nervous system) and will cause you to become even more nervous, anxious, and jittery, so avoid those at all costs.  Water and other fruit juices are both good for your body, and make you feel more energized and healthy.
3.  Write in a Diary
If you can’t always find someone to talk to, write in a diary nightly or every other night.  It always helped me to get my emotions on paper and helped my stress level go down before I went to bed.
4.  Push Yourself and Exercise!
Doing fun exercises helps the body unwind and rid of any tensions, either emotional or physical.  Yoga or Pilates is a perfect relaxing workout, so pick up a friend and try a class!
5.  Don’t Forget to Talk Every Once in a While 
Talking to anyone, a counselor, teacher, a good friend, or your parents will always help deal with stress issues.  While parents are in the midst of a divorce, talking to anyone will help you get your feelings off of your chest.  Sit down with someone at least once a week and tell them your thoughts, concerns, and any other feelings.  You’ll feel great after your talk and it will help relieve any troubling thoughts that were previously on your mind.