Anyone, who has ever been through a breakup, knows that these experiences can be devastating.
The pain of breaking up with your man you selected to be your partner and loved more than anything can be compared to the experience when someone close to you dies unexpectedly.
It can be like losing a body part, and then having to learn how to adapt to using an artificial limb. As painful as they may be, the good news is, that you can survive a separation, and perhaps even get back with your ex boyfriend or husband.
By following the tips and suggestions presented in this article of mine, you can emerge from the hellhole of a breakup as a new and stronger woman. So let’s get to it.
1. Understand the Biology of Love and Breakup Pain
First let’s see, why separations hurt so much and what goes on in the body during and after it.
Believe it or not, it is scientifically proven, that love is like a drug. In 2010 biological anthropologist, Helen Fisher discovered, when using MRI-s (Magnetical Resonace Imaging), that while you are going through a breakup, precisely the same regions of the brain are activated like when a cocaine addict is going through a period of withdrawal.
Just like the addicts suffering in rehab centers, you cannot get rid of the distress caused by a breakup with a snap of a finger. Without your pair – the drug – dopamine, serotonin and epinephrine levels go down in the body. In bad cases this can lead to despair and fear, in worst cases suicide.
The neurotransmitter dopamine is released in the body during the stage of infatuation or the period of falling in love. The increase of dopamine causes feelings of exhilaration and increases energy, and this is exactly why people who are falling in love, may be over active, might lose weight, and live in complete euphoria, like they are walking ten centimeters above the ground.
Being rejected triggers the drop of serotonine levels of the impacted person. According to a research by Donatella Marazitti, the drop of serotonine level can reach as high as 40 %. Such drops can imitate obsessive-compulsive disorder, and might be responsible for the stalking behaviour of the rejected lovers.
Researchers at the University of Michigan led by Ethan Cross had proven that emotional pain and physical pain activate the same parts of our brain. Being rejected “hurts” in the same way as if you break your arm for example.
UCLA researchers found the same evidence. In their study the more the people felt ignored by the ex, the more activity they had in the part of their brain that is responsible for registering physical injury.
Another research at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine even named that certain state of being when breakup pain hurts, causing physical heart pain and shortness of breath.
The so called Broken Heart Syndrome affects us, the weaker sex more than men. Women, who after 16 weeks still didn’t get over their separation had decreased brain activity in those parts of their brain that are associated with emotion, motivation and attention.
This is why it is so difficult to concentrate on anything in the post breakup period.
Indeed, we can assess that the breakup pain is physiological, and it can lead to severe health problems. The panic response in the brain and the stress triggered by the loss of a meaningful relationship is believed to be able to debilitate the immune system and cause different illnesses.
2. Embrace the Stages of the Grieving
A breakup with the beloved person (man of your dreams) might be overwhelming.
When the relationship abruptly ends, we feel immobilized by fear, we cannot imagine life without the one with whom we have been sharing our life to the most minuscule details.
In a sense inurement also plays an important role. Now that the person to whom we have been used to, leaves us, we are in a tragic state of mind.
The tragedy needs to be processed, and this is done through grieving. Grieving is actually the process of letting go of the relationship. Suzanne Lachmann psychologist determines seven stages of grieving. They can occur all at once or in varying orders and times.
1. First comes the need to know the answers. After being dumped, we are desperate for explanations, we must know why this happened. We might remember things the he said, that are in contradiction with the breakup, and we might cling to them stubbornly. At other times moments of (painful) clarity flash in.
You live in a sort of confusion, and you try to make sense of something so crushing, this is all you think about or talk about. You might start to debate this issue of yours with people, who surround you, even with strangers. The point is to justify, why the relationship shouldn’t have ended, as if convincing them, you would convince your ex boyfriend.
Of course, this is not a very elegant behaviour, and at this point you should refrain from going through your story obsessively over and over again.
At first friends, family and colleagues listen, but after a while they are not so keen on listening to your reasoning.
2. This isn’t happening! – you say in the stage of denial. You simply cannot accept the truth, because it is too painful to face it. You stop the act of grieving the end of the relationship, and in turn, you start to gather small drops of hope, that you inflate unrealistically, and put all your faith into salvaging the affair.
Replacing the mourning of the relationship with deceptive hopes is not a good idea at this point. You are not yet in a position to win him back, the confusion, despair and disorganization in you make you seem pathetic and not an irresistible winner.
3. During the stage of bargaining, you promise yourself (and your ex’s ghost) that you will be a better partner. This time you will make everything right, you won’t make mistakes, you will carry the burden of repairing and maintaining the relationship all by yourself.
It is important at this stage to remember that it wasn’t you alone who was responsible for the end of the relationship, your ex boyfriend also contributed to it. You cannot fix his faults, no matter how much you want to fix them.
4. Because you feel so much pain, you might be able to convince your ex to start all over again. This is the relapse phase in which the agony of the breakup is temporarily relieved. Like it was mentioned in the phase of bargaining, you won’t be able to carry the burdens of the relationship all by yourself, and this endeavour probably won’t last too long either.
This stage of the breakup might be repeated several times, before you finally realize, that you have to let it go. This stage might be even more painful, than maintaining no contact with your ex, because this way you relieve the pain of rejection over and over again. You probably don’t want that.
In order to permanently re-attract him, you have to rebuild yourself and get stronger than you were, so patience is needed.
5. Letting go of feelings of fear and dread, the separation left you in, can make place for anger. Accessing this feeling can be empowering.
This is a good anger, because it springs from the realization that you matter too, and perhaps you deserve a better relationship, than you had with him.
Depending on certain factors, your anger can be directed at your ex, the situation, or yourself. But no matter where you direct it, this anger of yours is meant to empower you, and it can bring aliveness in your world shattered by loss.
6. The initial acceptance of the breakup, if it happens early in the process of grieving, can feel rather like a surrender. But as time goes by this feeling or state of mind can become more substantial, as both of you begin to grasp that you must stay away from each other, because this anguish is simply not good for you.
7. In order to move forward in the process of grieving and eventual healing, feelings of hope must be redirected from the belief that you can salvage the relationship all by yourself to the belief, that you could be doing just fine without your “ex man”.
This of course is not easy, because you have to face the unknown as opposed to the known reality of the relationship, but this is an opportunity to channel the life force of hope into the future.
Breakups can be perceived as a sort of emotional amputation, and grieving is necessary. Grieving a relationship is not easy, especially in the beginning.
The above-mentioned stages can happen over periods ranging from minutes to several years, depending on your unique breakup and your own capacity of resilience. However, know that you are not alone, and time is always a healer.
3. Survive! Things You Can Do
No matter how jarring the experience of separation was, know that there are things you can do to get yourself together and rebuild yourself.
With a little discipline and certain methods, you CAN rise like a Phoenix bird from the grief and pain the separation left you in. As a new, stronger and healthier person, you can be more appealing to your ex boyfriend, and you might work out a plan to get your special one back with wise moves and elegance.
But until that, you need to heal and recuperate from the emotional mess a breakup means.
During this post breakup period, there are certain things you need to avoid in order that the suggestions detailed in this article to take root, and get really ingrained in your heart and soul.
These are activities that would undermine the success of the remedy prescriptions mentioned hereunder. So here is some wise counselling:
● For example, you must set as a goal, that you won’t sleep too much (or all day), no matter how bad, you want to.
● Drowning yourself in alcohol is another big no-no, because this usually leads to drunk-dialling and text messaging him.
● Telling everyone who will listen about your breakup is something that would also discredit you in your social environment, don’t do it.
● Making any major life decisions is not advisable either: the state of confusion and disorganization you live in after a breakup is not a good counsellor.
● Furthermore, excessive smoking and eating or snacking is also not allowed. Instead let’s see some tips and remedies that help you, and truly serve your goals.
● In order to move on, you have to grieve. You have to face the pain, instead of running away from it. Facing the intense pain, might make you cry. Don’t repress it, cry until you can’t cry anymore! This is natural. And remember that this kind of pain will eventually lose its power over you, it won’t last forever. Cry as often as you feel like, let your tears clear your system. You will feel much better after it.
● There are some more practical things you can do: take an hour-long walk every day. Drink chamomile tea or hot milk with honey before bedtime. Take long hot salt baths every day.
You can get rid of the negative energy by crying and expressing your pain in the bath, because the salt crystals have the ability to absorb energy. Mourning the relationship is the first step of the healing process, so be brave and face your pain, your loss, and eventually bury it.
● We could see the disadvantage of low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the first chapter of this article. Low brain levels of serotonin can be a cause of anxiety, so for that reason many medications for anxiety work by increasing the brain’s level of serotonin.
But you don’t necessarily have to take drugs to have a higher level of serotonin in your brain. There are foods containing vitamin B, omega-3 fatty acids and tryptophan, which can also help raise serotonin levels.
Foods high in tryptophan – one of the building blocks of serotonin – are: turkey, fish, sunflower seeds, flax seeds and flax oil.
Foods containing omega-3 acids include: salmon, tuna, sardines and eggs.
Vitamin B is involved both in the generation of new brain cells, and in the metabolism of glucose, the brain’s main energy source.
Foods that contain vitamin B are: chicken, nuts, brown rice, corn, peas.
So, hunt out these “foods of joy”, and you will feel better on an emotional level, not to mention, that you will be healthier.
● The breakup might have left you with feelings of inferiority and with your self-esteem is in ruins. You need to boost your self-confidence.
As an easy step, there is no better time to make a list of your strengths! Because you have. Many. So, take a sheet of paper, or your notepad with the title “Know Thyself” (hopefully you have one) concentrate on your best qualities, and remind yourself, what a great person you are.
Look at your greatest realizations in life. These can be successes at your workplace, finishing a university, launching a great product, building a brand, or just helping people in some way, anything.
Try to come up with as many values and positive qualities about yourself as possible.
● Another writing exercise: make another list, this time a list of your ex boyfriend’s faults. Because he also has bad personality and behavioural traits.
Think about what annoyed you the most about him. Maybe he humiliated you in front of your friends, or was grumpy, or inflexible, maybe he was possessive, or maybe he was always frenzy in times of financial challenges.
Read this list a few times a day. This will make you feel better. Besides this it is advisable for you to visualize as many bad moments from your relationship, as you can.
If you had too many to count, pick a top five or ten. Imagine him getting punished for his mistakes. This will give you a feeling of satisfaction and internal revenge. (I recommend this tip only at the beginning of your breakup)
● Do the purge! But not for good. Perhaps people, who know about your breakup might have advised you to quickly get rid of everything that reminds you of your ex. But this is not a good advice.
Because the pain is so fresh, you may not realize it now, that later, after you get through the healing process, you might want to look at these items, to remind you of all the good times you had together.
You will find that there were more good times than bad. But until then put everything that reminds you of him (pictures, gifts, letters, greeting cards, etc.) into a memory box.
Seal it, then hide the box where you have little, or limited access. This is just a means to help you recover. Don’t burn or destroy any object, even if sometimes you feel the urge to do so.
After the memory box gets locked away, so that it becomes out of sight and out of mind, you can start to focus on yourself. There is nothing wrong in giving yourself some attention. At this point, there is no one there to focus on you and give you the attention that you deserve, so you must be the one to do so.
● There are so many easy and fun things you can do in order to feel better: get a new haircut, you always wanted, treat yourself, buy that thing you always wanted, something expensive or visually appealing, like a sexy high heeled shoe or a dazzling dress (this will also work as a confidence booster).
● Treat yourself with a full body massage at a beautiful spa. Put on some upbeat music and sing along. Buy a really expensive chocolate and enjoy it while watching an awesome comedy movie.
In good weather grab a book, a cozy blanket and a basket filled with your favourite tasty treats, and go to the park, find a shaded spot, and just chill.
Before you can be the person, your ex boyfriend wants to be with again, you have to get yourself emotionally ready. (and then start to make an internal makeover)
● Here’s another simple but powerful remedy: work out! Work out the pain, anger, sadness, hatred and thoughts of revenge. After a breakup, you are likely to need antidepressants, but from natural sources. So, do sports.
Besides the fact, that exercise is an excellent serotonin generator, it will also help you to get rid of your pain and anger.
Jump rope every day, at least 15-20 minutes in the morning and in the evening. Go for a light run, do it near nature, like in a forest or in a park. If you like water, go for a swim.
Also, kickboxing for women is very helpful, because you can get out the feelings of anger and hatred of your system.
● Keeping yourself busy in post breakup times is also very important. Give your mind one major goal. Find someone, you can help, give them your true focus and empathy.
● Sign up on an online dating site. Even if you don’t meet someone special, it will help you heal, by talking to new people. Some flirting doesn’t hurt, it can have a positive impact on you at this point.
● Focus on your ambitions and goals. If you don’t have any yet, find some.
● Hang out with your friends! Hanging out with friends who will listen to you can significantly speed up your healing process. They will be very supportive, because they care about you. Sharing is highly advised, especially because research clearly shows that sharing your experiences with friends shifts your brain chemistry into relief.
So, go out with them at least few times a week. Include fun activities like pool, bowling, throwing darts. Regardless if you’re an introvert or an extrovert, it’s time for you to call your friends for support.
● Another advice, that is like a bandage to your wounded heart: go on a long trip. By taking a trip, and geographically drift apart from the ex, you will gain an outside view of the relationship.
You will see an out of the box perspective of what happened. Take a trip into a new country, and try to use trains, buses, even hitch-hiking, so the opportunities to meet new, exciting people can emerge for you.
Here are a few tips for your travel: be open to the people you meet, visit as many historical buildings and sights you can fit in a day, take loads of pictures and happy selfies, and then of course, post them on social media.
Spend a minimum amount of time in your room, go out and have fun! Enjoy every minute of your trip, and don’t forget to flirt, when you have the chance. At least a one week vacation is recommended. This can have a really positive impact on you.
● Another way of getting out from the emotional mess, the breakup left you in is if you have imaginary conversations with your ex. Study shows, that those people, who had these type of conversations, and said good-bye to the partner in this manner, felt much better than those who didn’t. They felt relief from the grief.
What does it mean to become wiser after a painful experience like a breakup? To put it simply, it’s when your self-awareness rises to a higher level. This could not be possible without going through the pain and suffering. It’s never easy to admit, you’ve made mistakes, but it is a crucial component in learning, growing, and improving yourself.
One can learn from a mistake only after he or she admits making that mistake. Wise people admit their mistakes easily, because they know, progress accelerates when they do.
So, if you can evaluate the mistakes that were made on both your part and his, you will become aware of these negatives and you will be able not to commit them again.
Hope that my article was a bit of a helping hand in your times of heartbreak.
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