Over the past few years, I've witnessed lots of people around me getting divorced. Most of the people I know suffer tremendous stress leading up to what is most times a very tough decision. There are myriad difficulties that spark arguments - finances, children, property, even pets or who's taking the armorie from the dining room - anything is game, I suppose. To friends I know intimately, I first apologize for being a Mother Hen, and then express my concerns about what all the stress is doing to their health.
I have one friend who, after her divorce was final, spent just about the entire winter in bed. (Don't get the wrong idea; it wasn't with another guy, but instead with health problems that hounded her week after week). That's why this latest news that divorce takes a huge toll on health is not surprising. And according to researchers from University of Chicago and Johns Hopkins, it still has a lingering effect on health even after the person remarries.
Linda Waite, who is a sociologist at the University of Chicago and co-author of a new study on marriage and health on over 8,000 people between the ages of 51 and 61, says that among the currently married, those who have ever been divorced show worse health on all dimensions. And if you're divorced or widowed and do not remarry, well, that's even worse for your health, she says.
But something that the scientists might want to consider studying, too, are those people whose health benefits from divorce. What about the people stuck in unhappy marriages filled with stress and angst who go on to lead much happier (and hence healthier) lives? The woman that finally finds fulfillment minus her spouse; or the one who finally flees an abusive or cheating spouse and finally finds the peace she's been craving?
There must be some...right?
How easy is it to stay stress-free during what is probably one of the most stressful things you experience? It's not. But perhaps thinking ahead and taking some precautions like eating healthy and getting enough sleep will help minimize the toll stress takes on your body.
Have you gone through a divorce or the death of a spouse? How has it impacted your health?