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Tips to a thriving post-divorce in Maryland

Sometimes, a divorce can hit a spouse out of nowhere. These unsuspecting spouses are often left with devastation and little hope.

Inspired by the Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, having goals navigate us through the storm of divorce, and in following these, we can move beyond survival to thriving.

The Hierarchy is a progression from the bottom of basic living needs to a progression upwards to move to emotional, intellectual and self-actualization.

The first tier of goals are about your literal survival. These physical needs must be addressed first before any further progress can be made. They are water, food and refuge. Housing comes after one feels safe. Some have to stay in the marital home due to economic reasons, but this may not always work out.

Next, we need to nourish ourselves. This is the time to take care of the fuel that feeds body and soul. Let your friends invite you to coffee or bring you casseroles. Rest may elude you. Our emotions, seep into our subconscious by night and plague our thoughts. Don't torture yourself by watching the clock night passes. Consider medical help.

Personal tragedy changes our spirit and demeanor. Our breathing patterns change and our muscles constrict. To thrive, you must make a conscious effort to breathe and exhale the toxic grief inside you. Try yoga, meditation or prayer. Massages are a way to physically heal ourselves.

The dissolution of a union compels us to isolate and to pull away. Moving back to human contact may be the hardest step. It asks us to be vulnerable and let people back in.

The final steps will then blend one into another. We let the barriers down, we smile and we feel a rekindled passion for life. We find a way to give back.

Once you've passed Survival 101, you belong to the Thriver's Club, a place to celebrate life and share joys small victories. This is a place to lead others -- a right to end the journey on the highest level possible.

Maryland has counselors, therapists, mentors and other agencies familiar with the law to help you though the ways to move from surviving divorce to thriving again. The assistance along the way takes many forms and many will provide clear and concise information about the nuances of the law to help you protect your rights.

Source: Huffington Post, "From Surviving to Thriving" Lisa Arends, Feb. 17, 2014

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