You thought you knew pain, but heartbreak might have wholly overwhelmed you. You might want to start healing from heartbreak, but you don’t know where to start and what to do. You know you never want to get hurt like this again, and you find yourself wondering how to deal with heartbreak.
Does everyone feel like this? Why did this happen to you? Did you deserve this?
Don’t worry. It may seem like the pain will never go away but recovering from heartbreak is possible if you put your mind to it. Read on to discover the various ways you can cope with heartbreak.
What does heartbreak feel like?
Heartbreak is an emotion that is caused by the loss of a person or relationship from your life. We associate heartbreak with the break of romantic relationships; however, this is only one of the causes of heartbreak in a relationship.
The loss of a close friend or relationship can also cause a person deep heartbreak. Disassociation from important people or social dynamics in our lives leads to heartbreak. Betrayal and being let down by a loved one can also force you to learn how to deal with heartbreak.
Research suggests that terms like “heartbreak” and “heartache” include the idea of physical pain because that is true to the human experience of heartbreaks. Apart from the stress that accompanies heartbreak, the brain also replicates signs of physical pain during heartbreak.
The body reacts to the pain experienced during heartbreak in a way that combines physical and emotional markers of extreme grief. Psychological effects of heartbreak like stress and depression are often accompanied by physical exhaustion and body aches.
Why do heartbreaks hurt so much?
Going through heartache? Our sympathies! Heartaches can hurt a lot and last for a significant amount of time for many. Heartbreaks involve psychological and physical pain that comes about due to a massive loss that someone has experienced.
The loss of a person, a relationship, or even trust can cause heartbreak. It makes a devastating break from your social well-being or circumstances. It can be difficult when your heart breaks because it is a painful loss that one did not anticipate or prepare for.
The body and brain recognize heartbreak as a genuine health impact, sometimes mimicking the symptoms of an actual heart attack. Research has termed this broken heart syndrome or Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy because the stress experienced during heartbreak can manifest in the form of heart attack-like symptoms.
The brain processes the stress in a way where the individual can suffer from depression and anxiety. But the experience might also include physical markers like sleeplessness, body aches, chest pains, or lethargy. The stress of altered relations or circumstances makes heartbreaks unbearable.
15 tips to get over a heartbreak
Learning how to deal with heartbreak might seem daunting and frustrating when your heart has just been broken, but it can help you a great deal. Here are some tips that will serve you as heartbreak advice:
1. Be kind to yourself
Be honest about your pain when learning how to deal with heartbreak. You did get deeply hurt, so have compassion and take care of yourself as you care for a hurt friend.
Ask yourself, ‘what can I do to help myself right now?’ and then get up and do it. Treat yourself as you would treat a jilted friend when dealing with heartbreak.
If you have a sound support system, take their help, but be careful of people who start taking over. Don’t become dependent on anyone. If you want healing and empowerment, the main work has to come from you.
2. Bring the walls down
After a heartbreak, your natural defense mechanism builds walls to protect you from getting your heart broken again. However, the walls that protect you from pain can also keep potential happiness away. You should try to drop the walls and get out of the pain cycle by trusting people again.
It is challenging to be vulnerable if you had daggers thrown at your heart the last time you opened up. However, if you don’t develop enough trust and safety to make this switch, you run the risk of staying in the pain cycle where:
You are scared of getting hurt.
You can’t open up and give relationships a fair chance.
Your defensive wall gets higher and more robust.
A post-heartbreak pain cycle perpetuates more pain and takes you away from love, joy, and fulfillment. Therefore, learning how to deal with heartbreak becomes essential.
3. Distract yourself
Tackling the pain of heartbreak is so tricky that most people avoid it by jumping into a hot new romance, or they numb themselves with food, work, exercise, or just by keeping busy.
While keeping busy may blunt the pain when learning what to do when heartbroken, it is not favorable in the long run. If you have not addressed the pain for real, you will likely end up in a vicious pain cycle of denial and avoidance.
A broken heart in marriage is hard to deal with, but you need to feel the pain and rectify the relationship mistakes to avoid making the same mistakes over and over again.
4. Say no to perfection
Embrace the reality that perfection is a facade when dealing with heartbreak. It’s unachievable because it’s not real. It only causes pain and confusion, preventing you from tapping into your authentic self where all the guidance and answers lie.
Know that you are the only one who can hit the ‘unsubscribe’ button when dealing with heartbreak. Multiple studies have proven that striving for perfection is detrimental to the physical and mental well-being of individuals. Give yourself the space to be human and make mistakes.
5. Rebuild your life yourself
As you pick up the pieces and start learning how to deal with heartbreak, this time around, try not to rely on anyone who can break your heart again. The unfortunate truth is that you cannot control anything or anyone but yourself.
The only person you should completely trust is ‘you,’ especially when dealing with heartbreak. The minute you start relying entirely on certain people and things to fill that void and feel safe, you will set yourself up for failure.
Forced equations and habits block joy, create confusion, and make you feel like you are on a perpetual emotional roller coaster. Making positive steps towards rebuilding your life is what you can do to stop this craziness and take charge of your healing.
6. Let the past go
Don’t sit in anger, shame, or regret when dealing with heartbreak as you start to heal and recognize what you did wrong in the past. Know that you did the best you could at that time and that those behaviors probably saved you from doing something more harmful.
Respectfully let them go by saying, “thank you for helping me, but I don’t need you anymore,” and move on. If you don’t do this, the guilt and shame will not let you move on when trying to understand how to deal with heartbreak.
7. Don’t ‘should’ all over yourself
How to get over a heartbreak? Stand up for yourself first.
Write down a ‘should’s list’ that has all the little things that gnaw at you as you go about your day when learning how to deal with heartbreak. I should _________ (lose weight, be happier, get over it.)
Now replace the word ‘should’ with ‘could’: I could lose weight, be happier, or get over it.
Changes the mood of your self-talk.
Takes the meanness of ‘should’ out; it discourages perfectionism and thus allows creative thinking.
Calms you down enough to be able to tackle things on the list.
Reminds you that it’s in your hands, and there is no need to be mean about it; you’ll get to it when you can.
8. Talk to the mirror
Most of us are visual learners. It is much easier for us to tap into our moments of pain, fear, joy, and pride when we see our micro-expressions in the mirror.
It helps us treat ourselves with the same courtesy and compassion we usually reserve for others. Talking to ourselves helps us become better friends to own selves when dealing with heartbreak.
Say things to yourself in the mirror that you would say to a friend:
“Don’t worry, I’ll be there for you; we’ll do this together.”
“I am so proud of you.”
“I’m sorry I doubted you.”
“I can see that this is hurting you; you are not alone.”
I’ll always be here for you no matter what.”
These are the statements you will usually say to your friends, so why not say them to yourself too.
9. Forgive yourself
The first person you have to forgive is yourself when dealing with heartbreak. Organize your thoughts by making a list of what you hold yourself responsible for (e.g., “I can’t believe I didn’t realize she was cheating on me this whole time”).
Replace this list with things you would say to a friend who was beating down on himself. Write down statements of forgiveness: “I forgive myself for not knowing she was cheating on me,” “I forgive myself for not being able to protect myself from this pain.”
Watch this video to learn more about forgiving yourself for possibly destroying your relationship:
10. Expect bad days
As you manage your pain, please remember that this process is not linear when your heart is broken. When you are thinking about how to deal with heartbreak, remember, you can have a few good days and then have a terrible day.
There are bound to be some bad days where you feel entirely broken, as if you have not made any progress at all. Expect the bad days so that when one comes, you can say, “I was expecting some bad days and today is one of them.”
11. One day at a time
As you head on your journey, even though the random appearance of the ‘bad day’ doesn’t go away, its frequency and intensity lessen. Don’t expect things to be better immediately after you start learning how to deal with heartbreak. Take one day at a time.
Focus on the present and doing things that make you happy while you do that every day. The big picture might be intimidating, so focus on trying to make incremental progress as time passes. Allow yourself the space to realize that this heartbreak could be the foundation for even better things to come.
12. Seek help
The chaos heartbreak leaves behind is very difficult to come out of, and if not done right, it can lead to a lifetime of unwanted consequences. A therapist will be able to guide you out of this turmoil in a relatively short time.
Don’t let other people’s presumptions about therapy keep you from getting all the help you need as you tackle possibly the most significant pain of your life.
13. Make plans
When you are learning how to deal with heartbreak, the present moment can be consuming. You may not be able to look beyond the pain of the separation or betrayal. Heartbreaks can make us feel that there is nothing beyond the present moment of pain and anger. However, this is not true.
The future is yours to conquer! Make plans for the future that will help take your focus away from the present. It can act as an inspiration and also give you hope for a better time in the future.
14. Meet friends and family
It isn’t such a bad idea to make plans to meet your loved ones when you are heartbroken. They can sympathize with you and also give you the boost of confidence that you might need at the moment.
Let time with your friends and family act as a reminder of how loved you are. You might be suffering from an identity crisis if you saw yourself mainly as a partner or spouse. But time with your loved ones can make you realize that you were always so much more than that.
15. Get moving
Heartbreak can lead to emotional and psychological setbacks. It can even make people lose the strength to get up in the morning. And taking a few days to yourself is fine, but try not to let this become a habit.
Make little effort to do something for your mental and physical health. You can try working out, as studies have shown that exercising can benefit physical and mental health. It can relax the mind and help minimize depressive thoughts over time.
How long does heartbreak last?
Heartbreak can be excruciating and frustrating. You might even wonder how long you have to deal with a broken heart. Unfortunately, there is no fixed timeline for how long it takes to learn how to deal with heartbreak.
Each person and each heartbreak is different. Some people find it easier to deal with heartbreak in marriage or relationships, while others suffer longer. Apart from personality, each relationship is also different.
If you are trying to overcome heartbreak in marriage or a long-term relationship, then the pain caused by its end can be excruciating to deal with. In such instances, a person may need more time and patience before they can consider themselves recovered.
When learning how to deal with heartbreak, you should try not to compare your situation with someone else, especially your ex. Be patient with yourself, and don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself.
Heartbreaks are painful, and they can affect one’s life significantly. It brings stress into one’s life that can even lead to depression and anxiety. But some ways can help you become better with time. The suggestions offered here can help give you direction and hope.
However, remember that it is okay to grieve the loss of a relationship. Give yourself time, and you will indeed find your smile once again.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.