Tips on Handling a Bad Breakup
February 11, 2013
All of this Valentine’s talk about love, relationships, and companionship can be especially challenging for those who might have recently had a bad breakup. The feeling of hopelessness, general disinterest, the circular thoughts surrounding questions of “what if”… I know I’ve been there, and it’s certainly not easy. And undoubtedly, readers will have at least brushed shoulders with this incapacitating feeling. For those who might be nursing a broken heart, we offer a virtual hug in the form of the following tips; sure, there’s no easy cure for heartbreak, but there’s something to be done to alleviate the pain and get you back on track towards a healthy emotional and psychological routine.
1. Feel the Pain
This might seem counterintuitive, but letting yourself experience the grief is perhaps the best method for relieving it. Bottling the mix of emotions only postpones the pain, and it will only resurface later stronger and more overwhelming than if you dealt with it in the first place. Allow yourself to feel everything that proceeds the breakup: the crying spells, the loss, the wandering thoughts about your lost love, mentally replaying the whole event. Grief is a process, so just let it happen and the rest will ensue.
2. Stop Unproductive Thinking
The grief post-breakup will likely involve some thoughts involving your ex: what s/he is doing, if s/he is thinking about you, perhaps even how you might arrange a meeting with the hopes of reconciling. Though this fantasizing is part of the grief process, you must gain control over it and nullify it completely because, quite simply, it does you no good to wonder what could be or have been when it is just not. No matter how much you want that person back, the reality is s/he is gone. Accepting your new reality of being without that person begins with overcoming thoughts concentrating on him/her. Pay attention to triggers for ex-related thoughts (songs, places, friends, etc.), and when those thoughts occur, stop that thought and…
3. Refocus on Yourself
Involving more self-centered thinking effectively counters consuming thoughts about the ex while stimulating your self-esteem and vision for yourself. Selfgrowth.com recommends envisioning the life you want to live and, most importantly, seeing yourself in your mind’s eye at your best and most fulfilled. When you notice yourself going down that familiar path thinking about your ex, stop and use it as an opportunity to reinforce your sense of worth and empowerment by filling it with that vision of yourself. Remember that no one can make you feel whole, and only you truly have the power to make you happy.
Along with the physiological relief brought about by crying, exercising also helps shift focus away from grief and thoughts about the ex. Exercise also releases feel-good endorphins into your system, according to WebMD, and helps you to have a more positive outlook. Plus, doing some demanding kickboxing can be quite cathartic.
5. Try New Hobbies
You’ve probably heard it before, and that’s because it’s effective: trying something new when you’re not feeling like doing much at all can help you out of your funk, no matter how dark or deep. Engaging in some unfamiliar activity requires you to concentrate on the task, distracting you from your sadness while also building on that sense of worth fostered earlier. Taking the time and effort to show up for yourself when you least want to takes a lot of discipline, and when you do this, you demonstrate that you value yourself and you’re stronger than the grief that tries to overwhelm you.
Within all the agony and emptiness, it can be easy to justify disengaging from making yourself emotionally vulnerable again. What’s important is that you take something away from the experience, and growing into a more loving, wiser person means that you’ve felt the pangs of heartbreak but still allow yourself to be open to trying a new relationship with someone else. Hey, anything worth having is worth struggling for, and finding that one person whom complements you more than you thought possible is worth all the bad breakups you’ve had and will have—trust us here.