It doesn’t matter if the relationship lasted for a few days or went on for years, whether you got dumped or you’re the one who broke up, the thing is when you lose someone you were attached to at some level, it’s going to hurt, bad. Studies have shown that an emotional pain, specifically a heart-break, stimulates similar parts of your brain as physical pain. So, what do you do when you get physically hurt? Ignore it, suppress it or avoid looking at it? The fact of the matter is, it’s there and no matter how much you try to ignore it, it won’t stop hurting. Just like a visible wound takes time and effort to heal, so does emotional pain. You need to pick yourself up, help yourself recover from it, be amenable. Here is some advice which will help speed up the process.
1. Take your time and mourn
There is no such thing as ‘just get over it’, as much as we would all like it to exist, it doesn’t. You can’t just ask yourself to stop feeling something and your brain would oblige and the switch would go off. However, you can try and put a lid on it, but you will eventually break down and it will be harder regaining your strength from that. So don’t blame yourself for feeling sad, angry, hurt; whatever it is that you’re feeling, you are a human being not a robot, cry your heart out if you want to, just feel it! We all have different coping mechanisms, we recover at our own pace, so don’t compare your progress to someone else’s, don’t think you’re a weak person just because you’re taking longer than what you think is the ideal time to grieve, take as much time as you need, as long as you’re improving.
2. Accept it
As hard as it might be, you need to accept that it’s over and there is no going back. If you are the one who broke up, don’t try to rethink your decision, this happens when you start thinking about all the good times you had with your partner making all the reasons you broke up seem insignificant; or if you got dumped, don’t try scheming all the ways to get them back, you’ll lose your self-respect, try getting yourself back instead. Think of all the reasons you two didn’t work out, don’t obsess over it, make peace with it and make efforts to move in the forward direction instead of going backwards.
3. Let yourself be angry
Anger is the second most dominant feeling after a break up, the first is sadness of course. You might be angry at yourself for giving them so many chances, wasting your time, making mistakes etc or angry at them for hurting you, taking you for granted etc. Whatever the reason is, anger is an inevitable emotion after a split. What you need to do is, channel this anger in the right direction. Go running, get a punching bag or just scream and let it out. Getting over anger is very important, don’t be too aggressive and harm yourself or someone around you, give it a safe passage, just release it.
4. Vent out to someone close
Surround yourself with positive people, people who make you happy, who add value to your life. Happiness can be contagious. Also, talking about your feelings is important, so speak your heart out to someone you can trust, who is compassionate, who will understand your state and tell them everything you feel. Let them help you, don’t shut them out. People who mean well for you, will make every effort to make you feel better, don’t turn them down. Talk to them, spend time with them. Once you can talk about it without crying a river, know that you’re almost there.
5. Write about it
If you are someone like me, who doesn’t always voice everything they are going through or even if you are the sharing kind, there are certain things which we don’t feel comfortable in sharing with others, doesn’t mean you have to hold it in and let it consume you. Write it out, whatever it is, anger, curses, sadness, love, uncertainties. You don’t have to string beautiful sentences; well, you could if it makes you feel better, the point is to let it out.
6. Cut them off, completely
Unfriend, unfollow, delete, remove. This is called the band-aid effect, you gotta do it all at once, it will come as a blow but you need to get them out of your sight. Even if you two have decided to stay friends, don’t do it immediately after the break up, it will confuse you, you will lose clarity of the situation and your feelings. If cutting them off is not possible, if it involves kids, same work place, neighbourhood etc, then try to limit the encounter to its minimum.
7. Focus on the negatives
This is one situation where focusing on the negatives of the person you were with and the relationship you two shared, is recommended. Make a list if you have to, think of all the things you disliked about them, things which were a turn-off, like their hair cut, their dressing, their habit of not calling you back etc. The aim here is to mentally make them appear unattractive to you, focusing on all the things you ignored while you were in the relationship; you are not trying to hate them, hate is again a negative emotion which will hold you back, you are trying to make yourself feel better that it’s over and now you have chance of finding someone better.
8. Get rid of all the reminders
These reminders can vary from a song, food, smell, show, gifts, pictures etc, try and get rid of them. Remove the song from your playlist, gather all the things that remind you of them and throw them away and if that seems hard then at least keep them somewhere you don’t repeatedly see them, delete the pictures or put them in a folder far far away, out of your sight.
Nothing can set you emotionally and mentally free, than forgiving. As important as it is to forgive that person, it is also important to forgive yourself. Remember, everything happens for a reason, you won’t see it now but you will see it in the future, have faith. Learn from this bad experience and grow, stop blaming, it will not make the situation any better instead it’s like a weight you carry around with you, liberate yourself.
10. Eat better
Indulging into junk food seems like a good idea when you are emotionally drained, popularly know as ‘comfort food’, it is okay to look for comfort in food initially but eating unhealthy is not the way to go, if you make it a habit, you will gain weight, making you dejected than you already are. On the contrary, some people lose their appetite when sad, this will make you feel down physically, you won’t have any energy, you won’t feel like doing anything. It is very important to eat healthy in this time of distress, eat balanced and fresh meals. Avoid foods with high fat, salt, sugar content; include more of proteins, healthy carbs, fruits etc in your diet. Eat better to feel better, no it’s not a myth. Don’t seek refuge in alcohol or drugs, it’s a big no.
All we want to do after a break up is mope around, sulk, be sad and just stay in one place, avoiding all human contact, it is okay to do all of these immediately after a break up, but after a few days you need to pick yourself up and get going. You have a life to live, places to be, goals to achieve. Exercise is a proven way to uplift one’s mood, endorphins, also known as feel-good hormones are released. Do some cardio and get those endorphins flowing. If you don’t regularly exercise, then start slow, don’t over-exercise and exhaust yourself. Get up and get moving!
12. Find healthy distractions
Keep yourself busy with healthy activities, sign up for a volunteer program, there is no better feeling than charity, it can instantly make you feel better. Go out with friends, spend time with your family, read a book, watch a movie. If you are an animal person, getting a pet can be helpful, how can one be sad around those puppy eyes, after all.
13. Focus on yourself
You now have only one person to deal with, that’s you. Do all those things you have been putting on hold, treat yourself, go on a vacation, learn new things. Make yourself a better, stronger person. Recollect your thoughts on what you want from life. Don’t go from relationship to relationship, organize your life. Pay attention to your health, your appearance, your adventures, your other relationships; enjoy being you; love yourself ,without requiring any validation. The words I personally live by: Get up, dress up, show up and never give up!
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