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What Now Moments or Divorce RecoveryClinical psychologist and University of Arizona professor David Sbarra recently gave a TED Talk on the experience of divorce recovery, sharing eye-opening research findings on what to do and what not to do when faced with carrying on after the end of a marriage. Sbarra called divorce one of life’s major “What Now” moments not unlike the death of a spouse or a parent or other loved one.

Surprisingly, at least for us, was the idea that writing about your divorce may be a bad idea. In other words:


Don’t Journal. 

Sbarra’s research at the University of Arizona revealed that for people who have a tendency to brood over things, journaling their experiences — instead of getting their thoughts out of their heads and onto the page — resulted in lingering bitterness and resentment. As someone who has gone through the divorce process and writes for a living, this one caught me off-guard at first, but it really makes sense. I could have probably put my divorce behind me quicker had I focused on my support group and making new life experiences instead of drudging up the past.

Once you resolve to no longer replay the circumstances that led to filing for divorce, Sbarra recommends these three positive actions you can take toward recovery.

1. Get Your Sleep. 

Getting a good night’s rest means more than knocking yourself out with medicines, Sbarra notes. You must find natural ways of shutting off your thoughts and allowing the dream world to take over. I found silence to be a major hindrance after my own divorce. And while I occasionally over-medicated, sleeping with a favorite television show on helped me cope more than anything. Typically, I would set my Seinfeld DVDs to “Play All” and then fixed the sleep timer on two hours. I was usually out of it by the halfway point of the first episode. (I did end up dreaming a lot about Elaine, George, Kramer, and Jerry, though.)

2. Build Self-Compassion. 

Building self-compassion is a skill that can be taught, according to Sbarra. What this means is that you learn your experience is part of a greater whole. It’s something everyone goes through. Once you understand that, it’s easier to see where you fit in. I’ll admit it. There was a time in my own recovery when I believed no one had ever experienced anything as awful as what I went through. Maybe that’s necessary to the healing process, but I can tell you from personal experience that staying in that mode does nothing to help you move on with life.

3. Redefine Yourself. 

For some, finalizing the divorce papers is a crippling realization that things will never be the same. It may hurt at first, but it’s entirely necessary for both legal and emotional closure. And once you have closure, you can do what Sbarra next recommends: redefine yourself. Decide who you will be AFTER the divorce is finished, because no matter what, you’ll definitely be a different person. Good different or bad different? That’s up to you. What’s for certain is that you’ll never be the same.

For more from Sbarra, make sure you check him out on TED Talks.

If you’re looking for an online divorce service that can help ease you through the process, you’re at the right place. We can get you started in seconds.

2 thoughts on “‘What Now Moments’: Clinical Psychologist Explains Divorce Recovery

  1. James Charon

    It will definitely hurt and will take a lot of adjusting but I still believe that time heals all wounds. You just have to do what you have to do and that is to continue living life doing what you love the most.

  2. Christye

    I want to tell you people about my testimony “Well what happened to me is I was dating a guy for almost two years. Then I found out his ex girlfriend moved back to our town and started talking to him. She was a really bad influence on him and was ruining such a good relationship that we had. I didn’t know what to do and I had tried a few spells in the past from psychics, but none worked to bring him back. When I finally tried from [email protected] the other girl got out of the picture and he came back to me within a week. There are definitely some powerful forces out there that can be a true blessing!……. Christye


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