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Women, Divorce and Depression

Even under the most optimal conditions, a divorce can be one of the most stressful and traumatic experiences in a woman's life. Most of the time, a woman going through a divorce is faced with moving, selling a home, child custody difficulties, re-entry into the work world, financial problems and finding a reputable divorce attorney.

The normal day-to-day routine of the family is gone and the future you visualized with your spouse is altered forever. The good news is that there is hope, and you can turn the corner, put the bad days behind you, feel better about yourself and look forward to the life that is ahead. Here are some tips to help get you started.

Causes of Depression



Divorce ranks second only to the death of a spouse when it comes to life's most stressful events. Depression can arise from these types of tense situations. There are many different causes of depression:

* Family history: has anyone else in your family suffered from depression
* Medical circumstances: chronic pain, side effects from medication, substance abuse, and/or health problems
* Financial stress: loss of employment, loss of income
* Monumental life occurrences: divorce, abuse, graduation, marriage, retiring, traumatic experiences
* Environment: loneliness, family differences, lack of social support

Make a Strategy to Deal with Depression



It is important to understand that depression is treatable, and some changes in your behavior and focus can offer a great deal of freedom and relief. While the following items may seem simple, they can help break your depressive routine.

Make a Plan



You can get caught in a vicious cycle of uninspired days when depression begins to take hold of your life. You may tend to let things go which can be harmful if you are going through a divorce because so many decisions need to be made. Make a list! Write down everything that is on your mind and things that need to be done. Then write down a time when the must-dos will be accomplished. Be realistic and don't forget to include time to take care of yourself.

Move your Body!



Although you may not feel like it, science tells us that moving your body releases endorphins, moves out stale energy and improves your mood. Put on some music, and force yourself to exercise. You will be happy you did and will feel much better about yourself when it is over.

Be Thankful



It is a good idea to start a gratitude journal to help shift your focus away from your troubles and towards the positive things in your life. Take a few minutes to jot down the little things that make you smile in your life; you may be surprised at the length of your list.

Laugh a Little



Laughter is one of God's gifts to alter our mood and emotions. A good laugh increases oxygen flow to our brain and gives our internal muscles a good workout. Share some funny memories with your best friends or watch your favorite comedic film. Laughter is always better when it is shared.

Focus on Others



In this "me first" society, it is easy to focus on your own troubles and become enveloped by them. This can lead to the downward spiral of depression.

A life truth that is commonly overlooked is our need as humans to help others. One would think that the best way to feel better is to meet your own needs, but actually the opposite is true. Giving to someone else can pull us out of our depression.

Serve meals to the homeless. Volunteer at a women's shelter. Mentor a child, or visit a lonely elderly neighbor. All of these actions can give us happiness and a sense of greater purpose.

While many women going through a divorce find themselves in need of help, not everyone needs medical help to recover. If you feel your life spiraling downward, try to break the pattern and put your life on a better path.