Our September Divorce Salon in Vancouver was led by the gracious and calming Dr. Gail Howell-Jones, PhD. Gail specializes in working with individuals experiencing a life transition, whether that be a change in career, the end of a relationship, or the death of a loved one. These types of transitions—what Gail calls “edges”—are by nature challenges that can intimidate, terrify, or even depress.
But, as Gail explained, we are not helpless when peering over the “edge”. Taking us through a series of mindfulness exercises, she helped us explore our own edges and shared strategies for coping with the emotions they produce.
When faced with a worry or fear about a potential event, Gail reminded us to ask ourselves these key questions:
1. What is the evidence? Before feeling at a loss or giving up, take a minute to look at the facts as they really are. Are you 100% sure that the dreaded event will happen? Is the worry based on fact, or are you making things worse than they really are?
2. So what? Even if the feared outcome arises, how bad would that really be? In the grand scheme of things, does this really matter?
3. Is there another explanation? Rather than assuming the worst from the situation, can you interpret it in another way? Perhaps the end of a relationship is in fact a new opportunity.
4. Is it worth the worry? What are the advantages to holding on to your fear? What would you lose if you let it go?
Gail’s thoughtful advice offered an important reminder for anyone experiencing a transition, including divorce or separation. We often think things are worse than they really are. When faced with seemingly intractable problems, it helps to take a step back, consider matters as they are (not as you fear they might be), and move forward on that basis.