What happens when love goes wrong? We explore the best ways to help mend a broken heart.
Love, that inexplicable feeling of joy and happiness, of butterflies and excitement, of lust and feel good hormones…until it all comes to a crashing halt and you get your heart spectacularly broken.
The feelings that you develop in the build up of a relationship can feel overwhelming in even the most positive experiences, but when those feelings are no longer shared by the other person it can be soul destroying and at the times feel like something you can’t survive.
A quick scout around the ele offices revealed that everyone at some point had had their heart broken, whether they were the ones doing to dumping or being dumped. Unless you live your life completely closed off to love, heartbreak is a universal feeling that is likely inevitable at some point in your life.
Is the old adage of time heals all wounds the only way to get over a broken heart? Or are there really some things you can do to speed up the recovery process? Our research (ok an in-depth canvass of our family and friends) revealed that while it seems that nothing will take away the pain completely there are some damn good distractions to help you through it. And since it takes an average of four months to begin to feel somewhat normal after a difficult break up, anything that speeds up this process has got to be worth trying.
‘The Heart Will Break, But Broken Live On’ – Lord Bryon
1. Get Out Of Your Own Head
When you are going through a breakup you tend to spend most of the time in your own head, replaying the split, deconstructing the relationship and trying to understand how it all went wrong. It is essential to go through this stage, ignoring those thoughts and feelings can be worse in the long run.
However treating it a bit like work can help, you need to recognise, like at any job, that regular breaks are necessary. Give yourself a chance to take ‘breaks’ from your own thoughts.
This can be particularly hard as our thoughts tend to have a way of coming and going on their own accord but with a little discipline and practice you can start to let them go before they consume your thinking.
Refocusing is the best way to do this, so an activity or an event that completely requires all of you mind power to concentrate, such as a fast paced fitness class or learning a new language, can force your mind to take a break. Even if it is only for one hour a day, try to compartmentalise that time as your mind ‘break’, as time goes on you can go for longer and longer until your breakup becomes just another passing thought in your day to day.
2. Understand The Changes Your Body Is Going Through
Withdrawing from a relationship is apparently like withdrawing from Class A drugs, your body which was once flooded with the feel good hormones dopamine and oxytocin at the beginning of a relationship, is withdrawing from those happy hormones and has been replaced by stress inducing cortisol and epinephrine.
Your brain needs time to readjust to the chemical changes to find its new level again. Recognise this and nourish your body with the nutrients and support that it needs to get you through it.
3. Explore Your New Independance
With compromise being the cornerstone of most relationships, being coupled up means that you don’t always have time for things that you want to explore. When you are single you can indulge in every one of those things you couldn’t do before. Want to throw your washing on the floor? Drink milk straight from the carton? Stay up way too late watching Friends reruns? Great! Do it all free from any judgement and pressure. Enjoy the chance to just be yourself.
4. Get Positive Revenge
Don’t worry we aren’t advocating taking a baseball bat to your ex’s prized possession (although that may feel amazing!), positive revenge is all about doing something just for you that you could never have done in your relationship. Go for that job your ex said you could never land, get the haircut you always meant to, start the business you couldn’t while your energy was focused on someone else, move to the other side of the world – do something incredible that makes you feel amazing but is also bound to annoy your ex just a little.
Whether it’s with yourself, your family or friends reconnecting is essential post break-up. It is easy to get caught up in coupledom and find that some of those important relationships in your life have been put on hold.
Find ways to reconnect, to spend time with loved ones and treasured friends. If you have kids in your life, spending a lot of time with them is one of the best things you can do. Children have a way of living in the moment that tends to evade adults, being around their positive energy and happiness is a great way to lift your spirits.
6. Reclaim Shared Spaces
It can be a daunting thought to go back to those ‘special places’ that you shared with your ex whether it’s your favourite coffee shop or local park, however it can often be the best thing for you to do, by creating new positive memories in those places it helps you to adjust to your new normal and ease some of the tension you might feel whenever you are nearby.
7. Drop the Bitterness
Easier said than done, particularly if you feel like the wronged party in a relationship breakup, but letting go of the bitterness is the only way to move forward. Remember they are one tiny person in a world of billions, allowing so much of your time and energy to be consumed by negative thoughts about one person is draining, pointless and bound to do more harm than good. Instead try to refocus on that one person who really matters, yourself.
Knowing that you will survive is the most important thing, and who knows? You may even thrive.