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David Cohen June 1, 2022

Divorce Physically Changes the Brain: A Proactive Approach

If you're in the middle of a divorce, you already know that the emotions can be overwhelming. If you've had moments when your heart starts pounding and your pulse races, or you feel overcome with fatigue, you may even have experienced the ways divorce and its related stressors can affect you physically. These effects are usually temporary. In some cases, though, the stress of divorce can physically alter your brain.

Divorce and Your Brain

When you experience conflict in your marriage or your divorce, you may sometimes find yourself in “fight or flight” mode. Your body sees your divorce—this enormous change that can affect almost every part of your life—as a threat to your safety. From an evolutionary standpoint, this response is our brain's way of protecting us from danger, playing an essential role in our survival. Early on, it may have helped keep us safe from prey and other short-term dangers. Long-term stress, however, can actually do physical harm, causing high blood pressure, damaging blood vessels, and affecting learning, attention, and memory. 

Combating “Fight or Flight”

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help your body and your brain combat this stressful “fight or flight” response. When your mind and body are more resilient, you're able to face the obstacles in your life without anxiety or panic. To cultivate resilience, try:

  • Keeping Your Body Energized: By getting enough sleep, exercising, and eating a healthy diet, you can prime your body to better handle and deflect major stress in your life. 

  • Having a Positive Mindset: It may sound cheesy, but research shows that having a positive mindset can make you more resilient. In one Harvard study, students who were coached to see stress before a test as a positive performance enhancer performed better on the test than a control group. 

  • Something New: Sometimes socializing, trying new experiences, and meeting new people can be a resilience-building experience.

  • Laughing: They say laughter is the best medicine, and in some ways, it's true. Laughter and having fun with friends can help reduce stress and lower cortisol and adrenaline levels. 

  • Accepting Help: Reach out for help from family and friends, attend a support group, or see a therapist. You'll find that broadening your support system will make you better able to cope when life gets hard. Divorce isn't something you have to handle alone.

Consult an Experienced Pennsylvania Family Lawyer

If you're contemplating divorce or separation or in the midst of the process, you need skilled legal guidance. Attorney David Cohen has been helping families in Pennsylvania for years. Find out how he can help you too. Contact us online or give us a call. 


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