People react to separation or divorce in different ways. Some people seem to sail through the experience without too much difficulty.

However, most people find separation and divorce to be a difficult emotional experience, at least at times. A recent major survey put divorce/separation as third on the list of life’s most stressful events (after the death of a child or spouse.) For many people it can be shattering of their hopes and dreams and may at times seem to undermine their very identity as they struggle to cope.

But the good news is that things do get better with time and there is light at the end of the tunnel. So how do you survive the experience?

Firstly, there are definitely some things NOT to do.

Getting depressed and anxious, isolating yourself from family and friends, losing self-esteem and attempting to self-medicate with alcohol and drugs are not likely to see you through the ordeal in good shape.

Nor will getting angry or violent, losing focus, and throwing a lot of money and effort into court proceedings or other vendettas against the person who, it seems to you, has caused you so much heartache and pain.

For many people, the best way to cope with the experience of separation and divorce is the same as for coping with any major life crisis. It is important to keep perspective, to focus on the tasks at hand and to make a positive effort not to obsess about problems and not to dwell excessively on negative thoughts. Instead, harness positive emotions, and be thankful for the good things in your life. It is vital to draw on the love and friendship of family and true friends who may offer to help. Concentrate on the simple tasks at hand and don’t allow regrets about the past or fears for the future overwhelm your sense of perspective.

It may be a good idea to get professional help if you can from people like psychologists and counsellors.

The services of an empathetic and experienced family lawyer can also be a great help. He or she can help you with a plan of action to achieve the best possible solution regarding your finances, property and parenting arrangements. An experienced and qualified family law solicitor can help you to get on with your life in a positive and practical way and this can help you re-establish your sense of pride and achievement.

You may even emerge from the experience as a wiser, kinder and more effective person than you were before.