Recovering from a broken heart can be truly devastating and it is really the equaliser across the human race. It does not matter what class, race, income or any other status, we are all devastated when our hearts are broken.
Some people may experience a greater amount of anger while others will experience anxiety or depression. Either way the sudden loss can feel like a tsunami of great sorrow, confusion and at times regret.
As Lisa Messenger writes in her book Break-ups & Breakthroughs,
“I would be thrust onto the horrendous ride that would nearly break me. I would succumb to the one thing that none of us is immune to, the one thing we can’t escape no matter how strong, together, funny or fabulous we are-heartbreak”.
It leaves so many questions, we seek closure that we may never get, and it can tramp on our sense of self-worth and can feel physically demobilising. The reason why rejection feels so intensive for us humans is because it taps back into our evolutionary response as to be rejected from the herd in cave man days, this potentially meant death. Our bodies come equipped with a natural mechanism called the stress response known as the fight/flight or freeze response. In primitive humans, when real danger threatens the physical body, the fight and flight mechanism was protective but in current society, it is the opposite.
Yet for many of us, our bodies are running on over drive a great deal of the time and then the demise of a relationship can definitely trigger this stress overload (Rankin, 2015). Ours bodies are not able to withstand the effects of chronic stress and fear. If you are experiencing anxiety and depression following a break up it is easy to see why.
Now what to do to get through the break up!
Top Tips for Overcoming a Broken Heart:
The following tips may be helpful to get you through these trying times.
- Try not to take it so personally, which can be extremely difficult, often break ups are about the other person and what they want for their life. It can be helpful to remember that our life experiences happen to help us grow as people. Eckhart Tolle says “Life will give you whatever experiences is the most helpful for evolution of your consciousness.’ A relationship ending is not necessarily a failure or a mistake.
- Don’t do a Bridget Jones and over indulge in alcohol and ice-cream solo in front of the TV. Get support from friends & loved ones.
- Allow yourself time to grieve the loss of the relationship and then when you are ready begin to create a new world for yourself. The grieving process is a natural response to the loss. The loss following a relationship can take many forms whether it is the loss of companionship, financial or emotional support. When you are ready it is important to start creating a new and different world for yourself. This could be through exploring to friendship groups or hobbies that you previously hadn’t because of the time that you were investing in your relationship.
- Self-Care: When overcoming a breakup it is really important to recongize self-harming behaviours such as not eating properly or partying too hard. While these behaviours may seem appealing to numb your feelings in the short term, in the long term they can prolong the grieving process and lead to anxiety and depression. Try to stick to structure and routine, get proper rest, eat a healthy diet, exercise, and engage in activities that nurture your soul.
- Managing in the workplace: It may be necessary to tell a few trusted people in the workplace that you are undergoing a personal struggle so that they are able to offer emotional support when needed. Don’t forget that what you are experiencing is not unique, most people would have some understanding of the depth of your heart ache.
- Remembering to love again: Don’t be tempted to isolate yourself as this can lead to greater feelings of depression. Surround yourself with friends and loved ones; you may know someone whose perspective on life has a particularly humorous outlook. Laughter is sometimes just what the doctor orders!
- Letting go and stepping back from rumination: When overcoming a break-up it can become quite difficult to not get caught up in constantly thinking about the past. While it may be very difficult try to stay in the present. Mindfulness meditation and breathing techniques can be useful.
- This video will help you to get perspective:
By Vision Psychology and Linda Thomson
- Messenger, L ., (2016) Break-Ups & breakthroughs turn an ending into a beginning. The Messenger Group.
- Rankin,L. (2015). The Fear Cure: Cultivating Courage as Medicine for the Body, Mind, and Soul. Hay House, Australia.