Divorce mediation is an effective way to avoid stress in divorce proceedings that might otherwise be long and drawn out, or where you expect the negotiations over the final settlement to become in any way acrimonious.
Mediators are there to navigate the turbulent waters of divorce so that everybody has a fair say and is fairly represented in what gets agreed – but there are compelling reasons to avoid stress in divorce, as past research sheds light on how stressful life events can affect the emotions and even the brain physiology of the parties concerned.
Fight or flight
The stress hormone cortisol has been linked with triggering a fight or flight response – more commonly felt during moments of extreme fear or threat.
It does this by increasing the size and activity levels of the amygdale, where the brain processes emotional responses.
This is one of the reasons why stress is so distressing for some people, and can actually impair your ability to process new factual information while encouraging you to react angrily – none of which is good news during divorce proceedings.
One bad day
A single stressful event can have an immediate impact on the brain, as cortisol has been seen to damage newly formed neurons.
This is most severe in the hippocampus, and can slow down the connections between cells in that area of the brain, affecting everything from emotional response, to learning and memory.
Extended periods of stress are even worse news for your brain’s physiology, and have been shown to physically shrink the size of the prefrontal cortex, again impairing cognitive processing and emotional response.
This assault on your grey matter is an outcome of chronic stress – so even if you are already going through a stressful divorce, it’s worth calling in a mediator as soon as possible to alleviate the stress of divorce and end the chemical attack on your brain cells.
Stress doesn’t just affect you ‘within’ yourself – it also influences how you deal with other people.
Extreme stress, or levels that are unusual in your own day-to-day life, can make you irritable in how you respond to others, and may even make you feel paranoid or reluctant to interact at all.
Again, these are the times when a mediator can step in to bridge that gap while dealing with you in a more sensitive way – but it is even better if you can involve a divorce mediator from the outset, and minimise your exposure to stress completely.