I have always felt that no one can understand someone’s situation better than someone who has been there themselves.

Today’s expert article is written by my friend, Mary Jean Sadlak. Mary Jean is a life coach who specializes in working with women going through divorce, or beginning life after a divorce. She is warm, gracious and compassionate, and has been there and back. She has not only survived, she has moved forward positively. Today, she works with women who are either going through divorce, or re-emerging after divorce, to help them to rebuild their lives and come out the other side so that they can not only survive but thrive in this next chapter of life. Mary Jean knows it can be done, and shares some of her thoughts about that here.

There is Always Time for a Smile

So, you are working to GET THROUGH/RECOVER from your divorce, REDISCOVER who you are and of course, MOVE ON. That is wonderful! Remember, it takes time. However, with commitment, it is definitely something you can do.
Now, let’s not get so serious that we forget to smile. It is important to remember that smiling, laughing and having fun will accelerate the process of recovery and help you feel better, too. Research has shown that when we make a half smile, our brains release chemicals (serotonin and endorphins) which help us feel uplifted and positive. Smiling not only helps us feel good but it also improves our mood.
Sit down and think about what makes you feel good, makes you smile and maybe, even makes you laugh. Is it being with a group of friends or one especially “funny” or trusted friend for tea, lunch, or dinner? Is it relaxing with your family? Is it listening to your favorite music? Is it dancing to your favorite music? How about spending time with your pet(s)? Babies, little kids, puppies and kittens make people smile, know any? Go looking for fun. Even if it is a walk in the woods or a visit to a perfume counter in your favorite department store, it is worth doing if it makes you feel good. The one rule is that you do not need to spend money to have a little fun. The smallest thing can make you smile.
Sometimes, it is interesting to consider what funny things have happened in your life and even in your divorce. Not ready for that yet? That’s alright. Someday, you may find humor in parts of your past. I have memories of many little moments that now, make me laugh. Keeping a journal of “The Ridiculous Moments in My Past” can help you vent, heal and smile.  On the lighter side, here are some small ways you can help yourself remember to smile:
1. Every day, repeat Thich Nhat Hahn’s very wise affirmation, “Smile, Breathe, Go Slowly”. Repeat it many times a day. Listen to what it means. Become aware of how you are feeling. Follow what it says. Let yourself enjoy the iimprovement in your feelings. Enjoy your smile.
2. Every day, read comics, jokes, funny quotes, or sayings. If you can find them, read New Yorker cartoons. Subscribe to an app or daily e-mail for a joke a day. Make a point of welcoming a little humor into your life each day.
3. Read or listen to light humorous books by authors such as David Sedaris, Erma Bombeck, Bill Cosby or whoever appeals to you. Choose humor or inspiration. Choose your reading carefully.
4. Watch funny movies. Watch funny programs on TV. Highlights of The Daily Show on Comedy Central is a favorite of mine. Choose your viewing carefully. Whatever you feel while you are watching your shows is what you will feel when you are done. Why not go for feeling good?
5. Check out YouTube for funny videos. Some of the Laughing Yoga videos based on the work of Dr. Maden Kataria of laughteryoga.org or Robert Rivest of robertrivest.com may tickle you.
ACTION STEP: Put humor on your daily agenda. Choose one thing that makes you smile and commit to doing it every day. You will be amazed at what a difference it makes in your life.

Mary Jean Sadlak is a life coach and licensed psychologist-doctorate who lives in Vermont. Having gone through a 5 year divorce, she is especially interested in coaching women who are going through a divorce or re-emerging after a divorce. Her mission is to help divorcing/divorced women find their strengths, improve their ability to take care of themselves, envision the life they want, set goals and move forward in a positive direction. On a personal note, Mary Jean loves being out in nature, hiking, exploring and looking for wildlife. Friends and family are very important to her. She practices meditation and yoga every day. Spirituality/love based thinking is a central focus of her life. For more information, or to contact Mary Jean go to: http://www.womenre-emerging.com/