How to Cope with Heartbreak
I couldn’t wrap up my blog series on love without talking about what happens when love turns sour: heartbreak. We’ve all been through it: the non-stop crying, the million what if? questions, the overwhelming urge to drown our sorrows in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey without thought to how many calories we’re consuming. It sucks. And it’s very real: in 2010, a study found that heartbreak can trigger the same areas of the brain as cocaine addiction – making us look a lot like an addict yearning for a fix. So how to get through this rough patch and come out stronger on the other side? By dealing with it head on, and coping in healthy ways.
Accept your heartbreak
When we break up with someone, we’re tempted to “suck it up” and “push past it.” However, not acknowledging our sadness and throwing ourselves into either a rebound relationship, work, or something else will actually prolong our grief. The thing to do is to accept that you’re sad. Allow yourself to feel your sadness without attaching any sort of meaning to it (i.e., “I will never be happy again,” “I will never love again”). It’s okay to be sad – you just lost someone you love! Give yourself permission to feel it.
When the what if? questions start to plague your mind, or when you start to feel overwhelmed by negative thoughts, or you can’t seem to stop beating yourself up and blaming yourself for what went wrong in the relationship – meditate. Even something as simple as taking five minutes to sit down, close your eyes, and just breathe can do wonders for your mind. Meditation is calming, and can help you regain focus and gain a bit of clarity. Not sure where to start? Check out this handy-dandy app.
Work through your anger in a healthy way
Look, at some point, you’re bound to get angry. It happens. And while you may want to drive to your ex’s house and punch him or her in the face, look for alternate ways to let that anger out. Had your eye on that boxing gym? Check it out and wallop on a heavy bag (you can even pretend it’s your ex)! Like to run? Lose yourself during your next run and run hard (tempo runs and sprints are perfect!). In fact, exercise in any form releases those much-needed endorphins which can boost your mood and make you feel better. And in the case of the heavy bag, it can be very therapeutic.
Surround yourself with the right people
By the “right” people, I mean those who won’t judge you and who allow you to be yourself. They’ll understand you’re going through a rough patch and won’t admonish you to “be strong” or try to push you to get past it fast. They’ll let you be you. They’ll let you be sad. They’ll listen. This is not the time to allow any sort of negativity into your life, and if you have people in your life who you know will only bring you down, keep your distance, and focus on healing your heart.
When it comes to mending a broken heart, the old adage rings true: time heals all wounds. There is no magic formula that will make you feel better overnight. But if you work through your pain in a healthy way, you are guaranteed to come out on the other side stronger, wiser, and with more perspective about what you want (and don’t want) from future relationships. And be able to land a mean punch.