Tips to heal a broken heart
How to Heal a Broken Heart: 10 Tips
Dana Bottari, LCSW, a psychotherapist based in Florida, says that at the start of a relationship, our thoughts tend to be happy and uplifting. “We may have felt good about ourselves — thoughts about the time our ex commented that we were beautiful or handsome or how much they loved us,” she says.
However, when the relationship ends, your thoughts may be mixed. “We have the positive messages that were given by our ex, combined with perhaps our own judgmental thoughts that we are not good enough or thoughts that things never work out for us,” explains Bottari.
Thoughts affect feelings, and feelings affect actions, she says. When you’re feeling down, you may engage in behaviors you typically don’t. For example, you may skip showering or avoid getting together with friends and family. “We may now feel more alone than ever,” Bottari says.
Gina Moffa, LCSW, a psychotherapist based in New York City, adds that the details and circumstances of a breakup determine how you feel.
“If you feel you’re leaving someone in a painful place after you end it, you may be ridden with guilt and sadness. If you’re the one who’s been broken up with, you may be in a state of shock and go through different phases of grief, including anger, bargaining, depression, and anxiety,” explains Moffa.
As you cope with the loss of a relationship, these tips may help you on your journey to healing.
1.Take time to grieve
If possible, try to think of the loss of the relationship as a grieving process.
“Give yourself time. Do not try to find someone new right away,” says Bottari. “The best thing we can do is to try to honor our emotions and not judge our emotions.”
To validate your emotions, it may help you to reframe your thoughts. Instead of thinking, “I shouldn’t feel so sad,” Bottari recommends thinking, “I am experiencing feelings of sadness, and that’s OK.”
While some people take time to be alone, look inward, or see a therapist to work through the complicated emotions of a breakup, others may suppress painful feelings and jump into another relationship. “I don’t recommend that. We need time to heal what’s been shattered,” says Moffa.
“We need time to look within and take inventory of what patterns we may have taken into the relationship with us that no longer work. We need to tend to our wounded hearts and take the time to allow the healing to happen with time, care, gentleness, and deeper self-understanding,” she says.
2.Find a new source of joy
When you make time for self-inquiry and self-reconnection, Moffa says that this can lead to connection with what may have once brought you peace, joy, or inspiration but was put on hold during your relationship.
“We may be more open to saying ‘yes’ to new things, people, and experiences as a way to explore a newfound sense of freedom, even if it hurts,” she says.
Bottari suggests pushing yourself to do things, even when you don’t feel like it. “Chances are, even after meeting a friend for lunch, you arrive home feeling better than had you stayed home,” she says.
3.Make a list of what you like about yourself
When you are feeling low about yourself, consider making a list of all the good things you did for your past partner or all the qualities they liked about you — and the qualities you like about yourself.
For example, you might write a self-love list like this:
- I made him coffee in the morning.
- I picked her up from the train station when it rained.
- I put on her favorite song when she was sad.
- I reminded him about his dad’s birthday.
You may also find it helpful to write out a list of positive things you’ll do in future relationships.
If you’d rather not think about relationships, Bottari suggests searching the internet for self-affirmations that resonate with you, such as:
- I am not my mistakes.
- I am enough.
- There is no wrong decision.
“Recite these when you are having negative or self-defeating thoughts,” Bottari says.
4.Acknowledge thoughts about your former partner
When thoughts of your ex arise, try not to stop or block them. Instead, Bottari says, practice being a “witness” to these thoughts. When the thoughts come up, take a step back and acknowledge them.
“You know you are experiencing them; they are passing through your mind. You observe them. You practice observing and letting them go,” she explains.
“The minute you pay attention to one and label it as something ‘important,’ you are no longer witnessing them. You are now judging them. Judging brings more negative emotions since your expectations were not met.”
5.Express your needs to others
If you’re not feeling up to meeting friends out or are having a hard time following through on commitments, try to share your feelings with others.
“Try to reconsider your needs at this time and let others know what you are dealing with,” says Bottari. “Many people have felt the same way and will understand that you might need some time to return to your normal state. ”
6.Turn your attention toward others
When the pain of a breakup is too hard to bear, you may find that focusing on the needs of others can help bring feelings of wellbeing and distract you from focusing on yourself, explains Bottari.
Consider volunteering at a local soup kitchen or animal shelter, helping a friend in need with meals or cleaning, or cutting a neighbor’s grass.
7.Allow emotions to flow
You may find it helpful to talk to a trusted friend, family member, or therapist about emotions related to your breakup or ex-partner.
If you’re not comfortable sharing all of your feelings, consider writing them down or meditating on them. You can also engage in another project, such as painting, that may help you release what’s on your mind.
8.Find relief in exercise and movement
Research shows that exercise can reduce stress. “Use exercise as a healthy outlet to manage feelings of anxiety, sadness, lethargy, and stress,” Bottari says.
A daily walk, bike ride, or online workout video are ways to work exercise into your daily routine when you’re feeling sad or stressed about the breakup.
9.Avoid activities that remind you of your ex
If you continue to feel overwhelmed by unwanted thoughts and emotions, consider staying away from places, music, and people who remind you of your ex for a little while.
“Try to go places that make you feel safe. Surround yourself with people that care about you. Go places that you have never been. Take a day trip and explore,” suggests Bottari.
10.Make meaning of the breakup
If possible, try to make meaning of the relationship ending, or accept that there’s no meaning to why it ended.
“Over time, you may come to realize that the end of your relationship was ultimately in your best interest. However, it is possible that you might not be able to find any positive in the relationship ending. Both are valid conclusions. Try to have faith and keep moving forward,” says Bottari.
A breakup can leave you feeling sad and alone, no matter who made the decision to split up. Cycling through a variety of feelings after a breakup is normal, especially if it was unexpected.
“We forget that we are meant to grow and change and learn. That doesn’t always happen at the same time or in the same way in a relationship,” says Moffa.
“Sometimes, one person changes and the other doesn’t. So, be gentle with yourself. You’re changing and growing and healing. We can’t do that all by force.”
Remember, it’s OK to not feel OK for a while. Give yourself time to process the loss of the relationship and practice self-compassion.
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Heartbreak is a universal experience that comes with intense emotional anguish and distress.
While many people associate a broken heart with the end of a romantic relationship, therapist Jenna Palumbo, LCPC, emphasizes that “grief is complicated.” The death of a loved one, job loss, changing careers, losing a close friend — all of these can leave you brokenhearted and feeling like your world will never be the same.
There’s no way around it: healing a broken heart takes time. But there are things you can do to support yourself through the healing process and protect your emotional wellbeing.
It’s essential to look after your own needs after heartbreak, even if you don’t always feel like it.
Give yourself permission to grieve
Grief is not the same for everyone, says Palumbo, and the best thing you can do for yourself is to give yourself permission to feel all of your sadness, anger, loneliness, or guilt.
“Sometimes by doing that, you unconsciously give those around you permission to feel their own grief, too, and you won’t feel like you’re alone in it anymore. ” You just might find that a friend’s gone through similar pain and has some pointers for you.
Take care of yourself
When you’re in the midst of heartbreak, it’s easy to forget to take care of your personal needs. But grieving isn’t just an emotional experience, it also depletes you physically. Indeed, research has shown that physical and emotional pain travel along the same pathways in the brain.
Deep breathing, meditation, and exercise can be great ways to preserve your energy. But don’t beat yourself up over it, either. Simply making an effort to eat and stay hydrated can go a long way. Take it slow, one day at a time.
Lead the way in letting people know what you need
Everyone copes with loss in their own way, says Kristen Carpenter, PhD, a psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
She advises being clear about whether you prefer to grieve privately, with the support of close friends or with a wide circle of people accessible through social networks.
Getting your needs out there will save you from trying to think of something in the moment, says Carpenter, and will allow someone who wants to be supportive to help you and make your life easier by checking something off your list.
Write down what you need (aka the ‘notecard method’)
How it works:
- Sit down and make a list of what you need, including needs for tangible and emotional support. This could involve mowing the grass, grocery shopping, or simply talking on the phone.
- Get a stack of notecards and write down one item on each card.
- When people ask how they can help, hand them a note card or have them choose something they feel they can do. This relieves the pressure to articulate your needs on the spot when someone asks.
Research has found that spending just 2 hours a week outdoors can improve your mental and physical health. If you can get out to some beautiful scenery, great. But even regular walks around the neighborhood can help.
Read self-help books and listen to podcasts
Knowing that others have gone through similar experiences and come out on the other side can may help you feel less alone.
Reading a book (we’ve got some recommendations later in this article) or listening to a podcast about your particular loss can also provide you with validation and be a supportive way for you to process your emotions.
Try a feel-good activity
Set aside time every day for doing something that feels positive, whether that’s journaling, meeting up with a close friend, or watching a show that makes you laugh.
Scheduling in moments that bring you joy is vital for healing a broken heart.
Seek professional help
It’s important to talk about your feelings with others and not numb yourself out. This is easier said than done, and it’s totally normal to need some extra help.
If you find that your grief is too much to bear on your own, a mental health professional can help you work through painful emotions. Even just two or three sessions can help you develop some new coping tools.
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After giving yourself some space to grieve and tending to your needs, start looking toward creating new routines and habits that can help you continue to process your loss.
Don’t try to suppress the pain
“Don’t waste energy on feeling ashamed or guilty about your feelings,” says Carpenter. Instead, “invest that energy in making concrete efforts to feel better and to heal.”
Consider giving yourself 10 to 15 minutes each day to acknowledge and feel your sadness. By giving it some dedicated attention, you may find it popping up less and less throughout your day.
Self-compassion involves treating yourself with love and respect while not judging yourself.
Think of how you would treat a close friend or family member going through a hard time. What would you say to them? What would you offer them? How would you show them you care? Take your answers and apply them to yourself.
Create space in your schedule
When you are going through a difficult time, it can be easy to distract yourself with activities. While this can be helpful, make sure you’re still leaving yourself some space to process your feelings and have some down time.
Foster new traditions
If you’ve ended a relationship or lost a loved one, you may feel like you’ve lost a lifetime of traditions and rituals. Holidays can be particularly hard.
Allow friends and family to help you create new traditions and memories. Don’t hesitate to reach out for some extra support during major holidays.
Write it down
Once you’ve had some time to sit with your feelings, journaling can help you better organize them and give you a chance to unload any emotions that might be hard to share with others.
Here’s a guide to get you started.
Find a support system
Regularly attending or engaging in in-person or online support groups can provide a safe environment to help you cope. It’s also healing to share your feelings and challenges with those in similar situations.
Connect with yourself
Going through a big loss or change can leave you feeling a little unsure of yourself and who you are. You can do this by connecting to your body through exercise, spending time in nature, or connecting with your spiritual and philosophical beliefs.
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As you navigate the process of healing a broken heart, it’s helpful to have realistic expectations about the process. From pop songs to rom-coms, society can give a warped view of what heartbreak actually entails.
Here are a few things to keep in the back of your mind.
Your experience is valid
The death of a loved one is the more overt form of grief, Palumbo explains, but covert grief can look like the loss of a friendship or relationship. Or maybe you’re starting a new phase of your life by changing careers or becoming an empty nester.
Whatever it is, it’s important to validate your grief. This simply means recognizing the impact it’s had on your life.
It’s not a competition
It’s natural to compare your situation to that of others, but heartbreak and grieving aren’t a competition.
Just because it’s the loss of a friendship and not the death of a friend doesn’t mean the process isn’t the same, says Palumbo. “You’re relearning how to live in a world without an important relationship you once had.”
There’s no expiration date
Grief is not the same for everyone and it has no timetable. Avoid statements like “I should be moving on by now,” and give yourself all of the time you need to heal.
You can’t avoid it
As hard as it might feel, you have to move through it. The more you put off dealing with painful emotions, the longer it will take for you to start feeling better.
Expect the unexpected
As your grief evolves, so will the intensity and frequency of heartbreak. At times it will feel like soft waves that come and go. But some days, it might feel like an uncontrollable jolt of emotion. Try not to judge how your emotions manifest.
You’ll have periods of happiness
Remember that it’s okay to fully experience moments of joy as you grieve. Spend part of each day focusing on the present moment, and allow yourself to embrace the good things in life.
If you’re dealing with the loss of a loved one, this might bring up some feelings of guilt. But experiencing joy and happiness is crucial to moving forward. And forcing yourself to stay in a negative state of mind won’t change the situation.
It’s okay to not be okay
A profound loss, like the death of a loved one, is going to look vastly different from a job rejection, notes therapist Victoria Fisher, LMSW. “In both cases, it’s imperative to allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling and remember that it’s okay not to be okay.”
Even if you’re doing everything you can to work through your heartbreak, you’ll probably still have off days. Take them as they come and try again tomorrow.
Don’t expect your suffering to go away sooner than when it’s ready. Try to accept your new reality and understand that your grief will take some time to heal.
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When you’re dealing with heartbreak, books can be both a distraction and a healing tool. They don’t have to be big self-help books, either. Personal accounts of how others have lived through grief can be just as powerful.
Here are some titles to get you started.
Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar
Cheryl Strayed, author of the bestselling book “Wild,” compiled questions and answers from her formerly anonymous advice column. Each in-depth response offers insightful and compassionate advice for anyone who’s experienced a wide range of losses including infidelity, a loveless marriage, or death in the family.
Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace
Acclaimed author Anne Lamott delivers profound, honest, and unexpected stories that teach us how to turn toward love even in the most hopeless situations. Just be aware that there are some religious undertones in her work.
Love You Like the Sky: Surviving the Suicide of a Beloved
Psychologist and survivor of suicide Dr. Sarah Neustadter provides a roadmap navigating the complicated emotions of grief and turning despair into beauty.
The Wisdom of a Broken Heart: How to Turn the Pain of a Breakup Into Healing, Insight, and New Love
Through her gentle, encouraging wisdom, Susan Piver offers recommendations for recovering from the trauma of a broken heart. Think of it as a prescription for dealing with the anguish and disappointment of a breakup.
On Being Human: A Memoir of Waking Up, Living Real, and Listening Hard
Despite being nearly deaf and experiencing the debilitating loss of her father as a child, author Jennifer Pastiloff learned how to rebuild her life by listening fiercely and caring for others.
The Year of Magical Thinking
For anyone who’s experienced the sudden death of a spouse, Joan Didion offers a raw and honest portrayal of a marriage and life that explores illness, trauma, and death.
No Mud, No Lotus
With compassion and simplicity, Buddhist monk and Vietnam refugee Thich Nhat Hanh provides practices for embracing pain and finding true joy.
How to Heal a Broken Heart in 30 Days: A Day-by-Day Guide to Saying Good-bye and Getting On With Your Life
Howard Bronson and Mike Riley lead you through recovering from the end of a romantic relationship with insights and exercises meant to help you heal and build resilience.
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
Through her heartfelt, honest storytelling, Brené Brown, PhD, explores how we can strengthen our connection to the world and cultivate feelings of self-acceptance and love.
The hard truth of going through loss is that it can change your life forever. There will be moments when you feel overcome with heartache. But there will be others when you see a glimmer of light.
For some grief, as Fisher notes, “it’s a matter of surviving for a while until you gradually build a new, different life with an open space for the grief when it arises.”
Cindy Lamothe is a freelance journalist based in Guatemala. She writes often about the intersections between health, wellness, and the science of human behavior. She’s written for The Atlantic, New York Magazine, Teen Vogue, Quartz, The Washington Post, and many more. Find her at cindylamothe.com.
Four Methods for Healing a Broken Heart
Man and Woman Know Yourself
“We parted two months ago by mutual agreement. By this point, it was clear to both of us that our difficult relationship would lead nowhere. I don't want him back, but I can't forget him either. All the time I remember those days and nights when we were good together. I often cry. It is difficult to do even daily activities. Advise me what to do,” asks 29-year-old Anastasia.
32-year-old Eugene echoes her: “I have been in love with Marina for a long time, I tried to court, but I immediately realized that this was a hopeless case: she would soon marry someone else. I would really like to just forget her and switch. I've tried dating other women... that's not it at all! After each meeting, I think that everything would be different with Marina. These thoughts are driving me crazy."
Immersed in a painful sense of loss, all those who have suffered from unrequited love since Antiquity ask themselves: how to endure this ordeal - one of the most difficult? Who will help to heal from love? The ancient Roman poet Ovid tried to answer this question with a long poem "The Cure for Love".
Today, the internet is the go-to guide, where you can find numerous stories about "how I forgot my ex" or cure love with wikiHow, the premier online guide that "teaches you to do everything. " The longest of his instructions on how to fall out of love includes 17 steps.
In the second year of our era, when Ovid was accused of wasting his talent only on singing love, he responded by writing a poem of 814 verses in which he teaches "the art of falling out of love." Here are some quotes from her.
“Avoid idleness: idleness breeds love and nourishes it. She is both the cause and the food for this so sweet affliction.”
“Keep apparent calmness, and this calmness, at first feigned, will become real. May you have the strength to consider yourself healed, and you will definitely be healed.
“Isn't it wiser to remain silent than to keep repeating that you no longer love? The one who says, "I don't love anymore," still loves. Gradually, and not immediately, we extinguish our flame. Hurry slowly and you will be saved from adversity.
Society tends to regard unrequited love as an annoying hindrance that reduces our social "efficiency". And since surgeons have learned how to transplant a heart, we are also trying to heal it with the help of modern methods. But which one do you prefer?
We interviewed four specialists. Their approaches are different but effective. The choice depends on the goals that we set for ourselves.
Psychodrama to complete the relationship
Ekaterina Lopukhina, psychodramatist
Motto: become the author of your own life. We often feel that something is happening to us, and we can only worry about it. But we also compose our life, and every author knows that the hero goes through trials in order to acquire new qualities. Psychodrama helps to make trials a part of life experience, to understand how and why they change us.
How it works: reach agreement with all parts of your personality. Our suffering is explained by the conflict of parts: one wants to return to the relationship, the other wants to end it. There is one that is angry and one that is sad. The psychodramatist will offer to isolate each part as a separate character and give it the opportunity to express position and feelings. Then these parts can enter into a dialogue, but even the first stage of the work - distinguishing between individual voices in the inner turmoil - already helps the sufferer from love.
It is also possible to discover that part of ourselves that we feel we have lost with the end of a relationship. What was I like in these relationships, what do I miss so much? Our task is to “call” this part with its qualities back and find a place for it in our life. There is a lot to be said in a relationship. And if they are interrupted, the feelings and thoughts addressed to the partner remain unexpressed. Psychodrama offers a conversation with an imaginary partner in a symbolic space.
What has been started must be completed so that there is no story without an end that makes us scroll through failed explanations in our heads. In addition, we can come up with farewell rituals and act them out.
Limitations: the method is not suitable for those whose emotions are difficult to control, who are "overwhelmed" or "knocked down" by feelings. It is also unlikely to suit those who, in principle, find it difficult and do not want to speak.
Hypnosis to calm down
Miriam Ruhr, Coach
Motto: do not interfere with another to go his way, but go your own. Ericksonian hypnosis is like an ambulance, it offers the victim of love to say goodbye to affective addiction as soon as possible. The client is first asked to remember his grief, then prompted to let go of the loved one from memory, "dissolving" the emotional charge associated with him. In this way, you can quickly go through the mandatory and necessary stages of mourning: denial, anger, feelings of injustice, sadness and even depression, and then renewal. All this happens in less than six months.
How it works: change the perception of loss through metaphors. Assuming a comfortable position, plunging into a state of slightly altered consciousness, the client follows the therapist's metaphors. These metaphors show the loss of love in a different light and allow you to take it with more calmness. At this stage, the client is helped to "unanchor" the trauma and then new anchors are created for safer reactions.
A precaution in this technique: throughout the process, the therapist checks that regrets, desire, longing, resentment, or hatred towards the former partner have indeed been "deprogrammed". After all, hating him is out of the question (that would be another way to maintain affection).
Restrictions: some cannot be hypnotized. Hypnosis is often associated with suggestion: if an idea, an image, a belief is suggested to us, will the reaction to them be the same as if they arose on their own? Everyone has their own answer to this.
Psychoanalysis to recover
Maria Eril, psychotherapist
Motto: restore narcissistic integrity. Each of us is characterized by narcissism. It breaks down when the relationship breaks. Our social status is changing: we become loners. We are losing our usual support: next to us there is no longer the one who raised our self-esteem, said: “you look good”, “you are the best” ...
The period before a breakup is often also painful: we felt wrong, we heard reproaches and accusations. This is how integrity is lost. And psychoanalysis helps to restore it.
How it works: take your time and understand what is happening. If we set ourselves the task of quickly falling out of love, then we achieve the opposite, aggravating suffering with a new failure. It is better to prepare for the fact that we have a difficult period ahead. The more we take care of ourselves, the more likely we will be able to pass it safely. And although the desire to quickly finish the love story is understandable, trying to unwind and get distracted is not the best tactic here.
Some are looking for new sexual adventures, new partners. Often this experience makes the situation worse. Compared to the meaninglessness of random meetings, the value of lost relationships will increase. For the same reason, you should not try to continue your sexual life without a partner. Overall, masturbation is a positive experience, a way to get to know yourself better. But after parting, the images that arise in sexual fantasies are associated with the person we have lost. This can make it harder to access orgasm, and not achieving orgasm is another blow to self-esteem.
Therefore, it is better to turn to the inner child, to the pleasures that the sensation of the physical body gives us: to run, to walk. It is important to understand that "I am good on my own, without a partner, I fill the world, the world is more interesting with me than without me."
Restrictions: this method is for those who have the time and money. And also the desire to look for the origins of their problems. For those who do not want or are not ready to go through disturbing memories, the psychoanalytic method of free association will not be the most suitable.
Philosophy to console yourself
Julia Sineokaya, philosopher
Motto: parting with a loved one does not mean parting with love. Learning how to stop loving is impossible, and not necessary. Love is the greatest blessing. In the dialogue about love "Feast", Plato proves that love is much more important than being loved, love is the main gift of the gods to people, only love opens the way to gaining meaning, self-improvement, immortality. Undoubtedly, losing a loved one is a tragedy. It hurts when he doesn't love you back. It is even more painful when the feeling goes out of life irrevocably.
How it works: ask yourself questions honestly and answer them. One of these important questions is what exactly torments us: love or desire to possess, an unsatisfied sense of ownership. If you really love, your love cannot be taken away from you as long as you yourself are alive.
If a loved one is alive, but does not want to be with you, give him the freedom to be himself, and if possible, continue to do good for him without expecting a reward, because you do it from an excess of feeling, and do not lend and do not doing the exchange. The greatest joy is to do good to the one you love. You can do otherwise, say to yourself: "I do not know how to love those who do not love me." This formula can help, heal, and if it works, great! However, this will mean that your feeling was not true love.
To meet a person whom you deeply loved, with whom you spent a happy time, is the rarest gift that you will keep in your soul, having learned over time to draw from it not suffering, but strength. There is nothing eternal, this is the wisdom and tragedy of being. If your beloved has left your life or even left the world forever, this does not mean at all that love is dead - it will remain with you as a joy, as a talisman, as something that will never leave and betray you, warm your soul in harsh times . Do not look for a cure for love - love! Love is the best gift that life gives us.
Limitations: philosophy teaches you to think and create your own image of the world, giving meaning to life. It only requires patience, which the Danish thinker Søren Kierkegaard said was necessary to become a person.
Text: Elza Lestvitskaya Photo Source: Getty Images
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How to heal a broken heart: 10 tipsLast updated - May 26, 2022, last checked by an expert January 29, 2022.
- Why does it hurt so much?
Breakups are usually not easy, whether your ex-partner or you yourself have ended the relationship. Memories of happy moments during your time together can make parting difficult.
However, no matter what you feel right now, it's normal - be it loneliness, humiliation, rejection, detachment, disappointment, or even relief.
To help you better navigate the healing process, we will explain why heartbreak occurs in the first place. We'll also look at some tips on how to get through it.
What causes heartache when a relationship ends?
Dana Bottari, LCSW, Florida-based psychotherapist, says that at the beginning of a relationship, our thoughts tend to be happy and uplifting. “We could feel good about ourselves – thinking about how our ex commented that we were beautiful or attractive, or how much they love us,” she says.
However, when a relationship ends, your thoughts may be mixed. “We have positive messages from our ex, coupled with perhaps our own judgmental thoughts about not being good enough or thoughts that we will never succeed,” Bottari explains.
Thoughts influence feelings, and feelings influence actions, she says. When you feel overwhelmed, you may do things that you wouldn't normally do. For example, you may skip showers or avoid seeing friends and family. “Now we may feel more alone than ever,” says Bottari.
Gina Moffa, LCSW, a psychotherapist in New York, adds that the details and circumstances of the breakup determine how you feel.
“If you feel like you're leaving someone in a sick state after a breakup, you may feel guilty and sad. If you're the one who broke up, you can be in a state of shock and go through various phases of grief, including anger, bargaining, depression, and anxiety,” explains Moffa.
Tips for Healing a Broken Heart
While you are coping with the loss of a relationship, these tips can help you on your path to healing.
1. Take time to grieve
If possible, try to think of the loss of a relationship as a grieving process.
“Give yourself time. Don't try to find someone new right away,” says Bottari. “The best thing we can do is try to honor our emotions and not judge them.”
Thought reframing can help you to affirm your emotions. Instead of thinking, “I shouldn’t feel so sad,” Bottari recommends thinking, “I feel sad, and that’s okay.”
While some people take time to be alone, look inward, or see a therapist to work through the difficult emotions of a breakup, others may suppress painful feelings and rush into a new relationship. “I do not recommend doing this. We need time to heal what has been broken,” says Moffa.
“We need time to look inside ourselves and take inventory of what patterns we may have taken in relationships with us that no longer work. We need to take care of our wounded hearts and allow time for healing to happen with time, care, tenderness, and deeper self-understanding,” she says.
2. Find a new source of joy
When you take the time to explore and heal yourself, Moffa says that it can lead to connecting with something that once could have brought you peace, joy, or inspiration, but has been put off for the duration of your relations.
“We can be more open to saying yes to new things, people and experiences as a way to explore our newfound sense of freedom, even if it hurts,” she says.
Bottari's advice is to force yourself to do something even when you don't feel like it. “There is a chance that even after meeting a friend for dinner, you will come home feeling better than if you had stayed at home,” she says.
3. Make a list of things you like about yourself
When you feel low about yourself, consider making a list of all the nice things you did for your past partner or all the things they liked about yourself. you - and the qualities that you yourself like.
For example, you could write a self-love list like this:
- I made coffee for him in the morning.
- I picked her up from the train station when it was raining.
- I played her favorite song when she was sad.
- I reminded him of his father's birthday.
You may also find it helpful to write down a list of positive things you will do in future relationships.
If you prefer not to think about relationships, Bottari suggests searching the internet for self-affirmations that resonate with you, such as:
- I am not my mistakes.
- I am enough.
- There is no wrong decision.
“Repeat them when you have negative or self-destructive thoughts,” says Bottari.
4. Recognize thoughts about your ex
When thoughts about your ex arise, try not to stop or block them. Instead, Bottari says, practice being a "witness" to those thoughts. When thoughts arise, take a step back and acknowledge them.
“You know you are experiencing them; they pass through your mind. You are watching them. You practice watching and letting them go,” she explains.
“Once you pay attention to one of them and label it as something 'important', you are no longer a witness to them. Now you are judging them. Judgment brings more negative emotions because your expectations were not met.”
5. Express your needs to others
If you don't feel like going out with your friends, or if you find it difficult to fulfill your obligations, try to share your feelings with other people.
“Try at this time to review your needs and let others know what you're dealing with,” says Bottari. “Many people have felt the same way and will understand that it may take you a while to get back to your normal self.”
6. Turn your attention to others
When the pain of a breakup is too much to bear, you may find that focusing on other people's needs can help create feelings of well-being and distract you from focusing on yourself, explains Bottari.
Consider volunteering at a local canteen or animal shelter, helping a friend in need with food or cleaning, or mowing a neighbor's lawn.
7. Let Emotions Flow
You may find it helpful to talk to a trusted friend, family member, or therapist about the emotions associated with a breakup or ex-partner.
If you don't feel comfortable sharing all your feelings, consider writing them down or meditating on them. You can also take on another project, like painting, that can help you release what's on your mind.
8. Find relief in exercise and movement
Research shows that exercise can reduce stress. “Use exercise as a healthy outlet for managing feelings of anxiety, sadness, lethargy and stress,” says Bottari.
A daily walk, bike ride, or online workout videos are ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine when you're feeling sad or stressed about a breakup.
9. Avoid activities that remind you of your ex
If you continue to have unwanted thoughts and emotions, consider staying away from places, music, and people that remind you of your past for a while.
“Try to visit places where you feel safe. Surround yourself with people who care about you. Go to places you've never been. Take a day trip and explore,” advises Bottari.
10. Give meaning to the breakup
If possible, try to give meaning to the end of the relationship, or accept that there is no point in why it ended.
“In time, you may come to realize that the end of your relationship was ultimately in your best interest.