Here's how to heal from a heartbreak

Heartbreak is always an uphill task. Psychologist Inchara Shivaraam, shares pointers on how to work on healing yourself

By: Inchara Shivaraam

No one is prepared when heartbreak comes. It can make the strongest of us cry, scream, or otherwise go crazy. The pain that comes with a heartbreak drags on and on, often with no end in sight. If you’ve felt this way, it’s because your mind isn’t doing you any favors. The problem is that the more you worry about it, the harder it is for you to recover which throws your thoughts back to thinking that your heartbreak is just so much more horrible than anyone else’s.

An emotional injury doesn’t just heal with time the way a physical one might. So what’s the best way to move past a recent heartbreak?

Let’s start by talking about what happens during heartbreak, because context is important. Heartbreak is a type of emotional injury, a sort of chronic emotional pain that happens following what our mind sees during a traumatic experience.

According to Dr. Winch, heartbreak can come from a long-term relationship, but it can also happen before the first date. When we’re experiencing heartbreak, our mind makes us live through the pain over and over again. Our brain wants to prevent us from doing the thing that hurts,” explains Winch. “For example just like what happens when we touched a hot stove when we were kids and our mind reminds us how much that hurts.

Our mind will constantly haunt us with glorified images of that person and all of the best moments. The goal here is to make it very painful, so we don’t do that again. Basically, the mind plays rebound of the best times with your ex or partner making you feel the pain of loss in hopes that you’ll never date or cause that level of distress again.

Brain during heartbreak

“Our goal during heartbreak is to think of the person less, making it hurt less when we do think of them at some point,” says Winch. Functional MRI brain scans show that what goes on in our brain when we’re heartbroken is similar to what goes on in the brain of an opiate or cocaine addict when they’re going through withdrawal.”

If you want to get over the heartbreak, you need to begin by reducing contact with that person or cut it off completely if possible. This includes checking in on their social media. Each time you do this, you reopen the wound. Give yourself some distance from the person who broke your heart. This will get your mind used to functioning without them as part of your daily life.

There is a grieving process that goes on after our heart is broken, from denial to anger to depression and finally acceptance. Some of us get through these stages faster, some slower. Some never get through and feel stuck. Why different people respond to this differently requires multilevel explanations. It depends on one's emotional maturity, one's level of connectivity, and one's type of personality. But a broken heart, like any other part of life, can be healed; it just needs time, patience, self-healing and determination to start the healing process.

The key to getting over heartbreak is breaking the loop by actively changing the thought patterns inferred from them experience, so that the mind can recover. But breaking this loop isn’t easy, as most of us are not aware that the mind is doing this.

The battle against yourself to get over heartbreak is a tough one, but there are a few things you can do that help.

Don't omit your feelings

Feelings can be complex. There are three specific ways to handle them--repressing, overindulging, and just plain feeling them--and you are most likely doing some version of all three. Handle them the best you can.

Repressing feelings means you block them out or pretend they aren't there. When you don't feel your authentic feelings they go into your unconscious to re appear back in your next relationship. So for healthy relationships in future, try not to do this. In order to heal and move on, you have to feel you feelings. Sadness, anger, despair, loneliness, hurt…they are all part of the breakup process. Don't be afraid of them; if you let yourself feel them, they will move through you and won't get stuck to be manifested in future.

On the other hand, overindulging your feelings during a breakup can be alluring and inviting as well, but it just aggravates pain. When you overindulge your feelings, you feel absorbed by your feelings; you remain in a holding pattern of misery and separation. You can't actually move on until you internally move on.

If you find you have been overindulging in your feelings, set boundaries to keep your mind and heart in check. You have to pull yourself out of this space--meet with friends, do things you enjoy, remember the good times. It is easier said than done, but then again you actually have more control over your internal world than you think. Do things that feel good so you can start feeling good again.

Listen to your needs and allow

This is how I am feeling right now. I can’t change it. Allow yourself to cry, if needed. In fact as long as it takes, allow and accept the emotions of heart break, disappointment and sadness. Allow yourself some time to cry and hibernate at home if this is what you are drawn to do. For the first day or two, don’t worry about what you think you should do or what people tell you to do. You have to do what you need to do.
Welcome and be prepared for the new

Since you would be used to pattern while in a relationship, things are not same post the break up and will take a while to unlearn lot of things and form new pattern. Don’t be harsh and trust the process. There would be lot of things that you will miss like long phone calls and chats for venting and sharing, celebrating birthdays and planning vacations.

But to be aware of these and plan ahead as to how would be handling these triggers than trying to fill in the void by impulsively getting into another relationship. Before you’re in the situation and having to decide how you want to react, think about you want this particular to go. And afterward, put as much time into processing what went well and what you might like to do differently moving forward.
Be kind to self

Be kind and gentle to yourself. Because it’s hard to be kind and gentle to self if you are busy judging and critiquing yourself. Kindness means kind words, thoughts and intentions for you. Breakups aren't easy. There is no way around it. Gather your support, feel your feelings, reconnect with your heart, and know that you are going to be ok. Do everything you can to take care of yourself during this time. You will make it through this and you will grow exponentially because of this. If you feel all over the place and having difficulty to handle by yourself, take help if required.
Know that you are worth loving 

Knowing that you’re worth loving isn’t just a statement; it is also a practice. This practice entails taking the time to include gentle and affirming self-care into your daily routine. Breakups shake your self-esteem and leave you questioning your worth. That’s why adding an extra dose of self-love is so needed at this time – so that you can remind yourself to hold onto your true joy by focusing on what makes you uniquely beautiful and divine.
Of course, heartbreak is always an uphill battle. The important thing is to take an active approach to get over it. Even when you know what you should do, it’s by no means a simple hurdle. Give yourself time. Figure out what’s happened in the wake of your heartbreak. But get to working on recovery as soon as possible. It won’t happen without you.Top of Form

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