With fall entirely upon us, as evidenced by the cooler temperatures, changing colors, and unpredictable weather, it reminds us of change and transitions.
Humans, much like other species, are creatures of habit. Our habits, rituals, and ways of thinking become less flexible and more rigid as we age. When it comes to adapting to change, studies show our cognitive brain and emotional intelligence peaks between 35-45 years of age, which is primetime for adapting to change. Cognitive decline begins around 45 years of age, leading to more rigidity, less flexibility, and more set in our ways of thinking.
Why Change Can Be Overwhelming, Especially When It Comes to Divorce.
Humans’ ideal way to accept change is through slight, minor adjustments or deviations that become a new way of life over time. We are comfortable with the status quo. When we have so many variables change, such as in the case of a divorce, our brains have a difficult time adjusting to the magnitude of those changes. Change can be challenging to accept when changes aren’t clear, and the benefits are not defined. Often in the case of divorce, our brains have become used to behaviors, including unhealthy patterns. You may see these patterns in unhealthy relationships, addictions, diet, and weight gain, to name a few. So when someone is going through a divorce and people have to deal with changes in where they may live, how often they see their kids, financial concerns, retirement goals, I could go on and on, one can see how this can be difficult for our brains to process.
When facing so many changes, it is pervasive for fear, anger, anxiety, and depression to kick in. When these emotions start to hijack our usual way of thinking, the help of a good support team is imperative when going through such a difficult time. A support team consisting of therapists, doctors, financial advisors, religious leaders, trusted friends, and family members can help adjust to these emotional changes to help individuals avoid triggers, or at least be able to recognize them, understand them, and help prevent them moving forward. The help of professionals and a sound support system can help lead to healthy ways to cope and avoid regrettable incidents, making the divorce process more contentious.
How Mediation Can Help
Through divorce mediation, we can help with these changes. We address each area of conflict one step at a time to help the brain cope. It can still be an overwhelming process at times, but we help limit that by taking breaks and moving at a pace that everyone can manage. We talk about details and how those detailed changes address the needs and concerns of each participant and highlight the benefits of these changes. We discuss triggers and how emotionally complex this process can be. We can work with your support team, if need be, to assist in the process. We can customize the mediation to each individual’s needs so that change doesn’t seem so daunting. When people choose to participate in the mediation process, parties often connect by sharing similar concerns, fears, and emotions. This participation often leads to common ground, interest-based solutions, which generate a durable agreement created by the parties that assist in helping cope with change.