So you just broke up with you partner and you feel like a truck just cruelly and recklessly ran over your heart. Every morning you wake up with that same dull ache in your chest that stubbornly won’t go away and you dread facing the long day ahead.
What’s more you’re just plain tried of all the trite advice getting thrown your way:
“You’re better off without him.”
“There are plenty more fish in the sea.”
“Just forget about her.”
“You’re strong; just tough it out.”
But guess what? Toughing it out and ignoring your emotions is not the answer. If you want to get past all this heartache, you need to give yourself permission to feel everything. Because losing the one you love is not just some small event you can easily ignore. It can affect you physically as well as emotionally.
In 2010, anthropologist Helen Fischer discovered that suffering from heartbreak can be just as devastating physically as it is emotionally. Using MRI’s and advanced brain mapping, her team of scientists found that the same brain regions became activated on individuals experiencing a breakup as those of an addict going through withdrawal.
So you can say without the slightest exaggeration that love really is like a drug.
All that suffering and hurt you feel is not just all in your head. It’s not some trivial emotion you can just easily get past. It’s a very real physical pain that can be challenging to process.
The folks at SoulPancake came up with a video on how to get over a breakup. They gathered 5 individuals who recently ended a relationship and put them through their 5 step program.
Step #1. Bring Out the Punching Bag.
Before anything else, take a moment and release all of your anger and hurt on a punching bag. If it helps, imagine your ex’s face right where you’ll be throwing the majority of your punches.
Step #2. Write Down What You Learned.
Come up with 3 valuable lessons you can take away from the breakup and write them down. Treat the relationship like a learning experience.
Step #3. Practice Self- Acceptance.
No more beating yourself up for not being able to move on fast enough. Accept everything you’re feeling right now without judgement. Don’t push any of those uncomfortable emotions away. If you can, try to take 5-10 minutes to meditate.
Step #4. Acknowledge the Good.
Ok so you feel hurt. Really hurt. And you may want to just hate your ex for awhile. That’s ok. But if the relationship had been all bad, you wouldn’t have stayed as long as you did. Take some time to write down the good things about your ex and your time together.
Step #5. Focus on Your Best Qualities.
Breakups can shatter your self-esteem, especially if you were the one who got dumped. To help yourself get past the pain write down 5 of your best qualities, 5 things that are great about you and dwell on those for awhile.
The happiness levels of those participation in the 5 step program increased significantly, with the average being 13% and the highest 31%.
So give it a shot. If you just feel like you can’t get past the pain of your last relationship, try allowing yourself the time and space to heal. The key is to try to find ways like those listed above to process the hurt. And treat the experience, not as a failure but as something that helped you learn and grow as a person.