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How to Cope With Divorce without Turning to Social Media

How to Cope With Divorce without Turning to Social Media

Couples embarking on marriage love the feeling of connection as they choose to build lives together.

Partners of a divorcing couple, on the other hand, get slammed with a sense of disconnection and loneliness. Now that our communities live online, it’s no wonder so many divorcing partners vent their anger, insecurity and anguish on social media.

We’re here to say:  don’t do it.

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Social networks not only contribute to the decision to divorce, they also impact divorce settlements, including child custody decisions. Recently, Facebook has provided evidence for petitioners and defendants documenting marijuana smoking and participation in other illegal activities. Petitioners claiming they were home with the children have been caught in lies when photographed at out and about at certain venues at specific times. More frightening, psychologists and other experts now search for evidence of personality disorders, drug and alcohol use and more in the personality profiles and timeline posts that social media users create for themselves. One post or profile appearing on the Internet can forever be retrieved, even if deleted.

Facebook Really Isn’t Your Friend Right Now . . .

. . . nor are the other social media networks.

First of all, keep in mind that you may have been still married when you first signed up. The number of friends the average Facebook user can boast is 338 (but the median is 200) and 15% have over 500 friends.  Who can keep track of that many people? You’ve probably accrued friends who, since your separation, count themselves more as your ex’s friends. Posting your activities and ideas on Facebook can be like sending a letter directly to your ex and his or her attorney.

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A post on Lifehack explains:

“While Facebook can feel like a forum of friends to whom you turn for sympathy and support, it can also be a trap. Extreme emotion, fatigue and alcohol and render reality in all kinds of exaggerated shapes and colors. Do yourself a favor and find another way to vent when in these conditions.”

It also contains a list of do’s and don’ts, including “turn off location indicators” that could prove your whereabouts. Keep in mind that you ex, the judge and even your attorney are watching you. Don’t hand them the binoculars!

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Coping with Intense Emotions:  3 Alternatives Far Superior to Facebook

Have we scared you?

Despite the stern warnings we’ve delivered above, please understand that we understand the need to feel connected.  Facebook proved a popular tool for divorcing couples to use for handling immediate pain. But popular tools are not necessarily effective. Understanding why Facebook tempts so mightily helps prevent giving into the temptation. While emotions may be ruling you right now, please take the time to carefully read the next few paragraphs. It should only take you a few minutes.

Married couples enjoy the support not only of their own friends and families of origin but those of their spouses. It’s only human nature to long to be in a network or social group. Newly single people dread the descent into isolation. Further, no matter how strenuously they assert that the divorce had to be, they’re usually plagued by self-doubt, not only about the decision to divorce, but about their role in the failure of the marriage, their chances of finding another life partner and even their own worthiness.

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Therefore, they look for the reassurance of their communities. With long work hours followed by more shifts performing child and home care, much of our communities have shifted online. Many of us touch base with friends and family several times a week, daily, and even several times a day through Facebook, Twitter and others. They build us back up in perhaps the worst time of our lives.

Three far more robust and helpful alternatives to venting on Facebook and other social media exist. Those divorcing dwell in a dire time daily that requires back-up and outside support. Consider these three alternatives to reaching out on Facebook:

  1. DivorceCare.org:  This nationwide clearinghouse gets you to a local support group immediately. Once there, they make it clear that friends and family who’ve never divorced tend to share bad advice. Plain English? They’re clueless.

Workshops focusing on the divorce process acknowledge the intensity of your feelings and provide lots of chances for you to share your story and your plans for your new life. Your zip code leads you to groups held in churches (but not affiliated with the church), schools and many other locations. They provide workbooks to help you journal your feelings and a group of people in the same boat to talk to.

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  1. Therapy:  With as much pain as you may be in, you risk wearing out your friends (Facebook or otherwise) with your angst, anger and sadness . . . all of which is understandable, heart-breaking and legitimate. Directing some of your emotions to a trained professional not only refreshes you, it makes you a better friend because you’re more available to LISTEN as well as vent.

Most health plans have free or low cost visits to a counselor. Therapists are trained to help you make smart decisions amid emotional turmoil. Contrary to popular fears, they are more problem-solvers than critics. Going to a therapist does not mean something is wrong with your mind or mental health. Even family court judges view therapy as a positive.  Understand that the emotions you’re dealing with will deplete your energy significantly.

  1.      Join new groups, go new places, make new friends:  when you do this, you see that a whole new world is out there for you to explore. Consider journaling as you go. As Katie Couric says, “Life is a series of re-dos.” Re-do-it UP!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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Peter Mueller

Founder of Father's Rights Law Center

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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