4 Ways To Conquer Heartbreak

Beyond the advice you’ll receive from friends and relatives, to keep your chin up, push through the pain, and give it time to heal, researchers have gathered their own brand of relationship advice for mending a broken heart.

The first thing to understand is there are no parlor tricks, pills, or magical words that can heal a broken heart. When we lose the one we love, we often need time to work through the pain and grow as individuals. Heartbreak is a byproduct of several physical and emotional responses to a breakup, including regret, hormonal changes, and the misunderstanding that the absence of our partner is the main source of our pain and loneliness. Let’s discuss some of the typical symptoms of a breakup, along with the methods to diminish their painful effects before they have a chance to do some real damage (sleeplessness, loss of appetite, depression, etc.)

Fight or Flight
When a partner threatens to walk away from the relationship, our initial response is panic (flight or flight). This may cause the rejected individual to hold onto the other person (literally), beg, and even make desperate promises they can’t keep. Once their lover walks away, despite the attempt to hold onto them, they are left with the same feelings of panic with nowhere to put this excess energy and stress hormone production, causing muscle tension, headaches, and overall fatigue. While I mentioned there was no pill to cure a broken heart, this is the one area where an over-the-counter medication might just take the edge off of some of this discomfort.

Talk it Out
When we are in love, our brains are swimming in such heroine-like, mood inducing chemicals as dopamine and oxytocin. The minute our partner walks away, production of these “feel good” chemicals cease. Some heartbroken lovers even claim they have experienced side effects similar to a heroine addict in rehab, such as sweating and involuntary body tremors. One way to reopen the production of these, is to enjoy a bout of vocal camaraderie with a close friend or family member. Talking about our pain has a way of making us feel better, according to researchers. If there is no one to talk to (or they are tired of hearing your story), write in a journal, draw, or play an instrument for a similar effect.

After breaking up with a long time partner, our minds are often clouded with regret and negativity. Not only are these destructive, often causing symptoms of physical pain, but they also can drag us into a depression. Meditation and relaxation (deep breathing) are a great way to calm the nerves, discouraging hurtful stress hormones from entering our blood stream. In conjunction with freeing the mind of painful memories of an ex, another technique is to substitute all nagging, negative thoughts for new, positive ones. For example, if you find yourself reminiscing about your ex during a television show you used to watch with them, invite a friend over and make a new memory.

That excess buildup of stress hormones can be just as easily worked off through physical activity, as it can by quiet meditation. Many counselors recommend getting out and exercising as often as possible after a breakup, engaging in such activities as walking, biking, swimming, yoga, or weight lifting. Initially, exercise will reduce pain by releasing endorphins in the body. Over the long haul, exercise builds confidence, self esteem, and offers the symbolic change of a new physical body to compliment the beginning of a new phase in life.

Above all, remember that the loneliness and the pain of a breakup is a condition created by our own mind. Very few people are actually alone in this world, and if you choose to dwell on negative thoughts, you are only creating a chain reaction of physical and emotional unpleasantness. We do not have any control over those who choose to love us, but we do have control over choosing to love ourselves!

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