Unless you met the person of your dreams at sixteen years old (and there are so few out there who fit into that category), you have experienced heartbreak. The raw, rip your heart open, emotions that come with loss and heartbreak. Feelings of despair, loneliness, loss, hopelessness, and helplessness – are overwhelming and all too common. They can also be most of the time especially in the beginning, consuming.
No doubt, you get it.
Every corner you turn you bump into a happy couple. Every commercial or television shows a happy couple. You cannot escape it. seem to bump into a happy couple. As you scroll through your social media (and your ex as well) someone is in a new relationship or getting engaged, married, or having a baby. And, to make matters worse, your ex is posting all these happy pictures and smiling (you know this because you continue to follow him/her on social media).
And you think, aren’t they unhappy and sad like me? What is wrong with me? The happiness others are experiencing is endless. And scrolling through your social media pages doesn’t help. At all. Your feelings of heartbreak are never ending.
The process of heartbreak
The effects of heartbreak extend well beyond emotional. Through heartbreak, we experience many physical effects. Maybe you find that you cannot eat or sleep – or eat or sleep too much. Maybe you are having headaches, stomachaches, or backaches.
After all the heartbreak you are experiencing, has to go somewhere.
At the same time, you find yourself doing all the things you know you shouldn’t be doing like checking their social media, becoming distracted by everything, overthinking scenarios from the relationship, and having a negative mindset that is overly self-critical. One thought of your ex turns into hours of endless thinking about him or her. All the happy times. All the times you will never get back. They are just memories now.
And yet you do these things among other things that you know are not good for you, but you do them anyway despite knowing better. Everyone does. Everyone travels down the rabbit hole to a dark place.
Moving through emotional heartbreak is a process. It can and often is, an energy suck. It drains you at times and you will feel like it will never end. The only thing that we all know is that eventually you will get on the other side of it even in the moment it doesn’t feel that way. The silver lining in heartbreak (yes, there is one) is that you will come out stronger and more determined. Heartbreak can change you in significant ways. Taking this life experience and embracing it (eventually) will show you just what you are capable of. Remind yourself of that – often.
10 Ways to Move Through and Overcome Heartbreak
- Remember you are not alone. Despite feeling alone and isolated, many people are exactly in the same place as you. There is comfort in feeling part of the collective rather than by yourself. Everyone has experienced heartbreak in one way or another and have felt what you are feeling. So, when you reach out and speak to others, their reassurance – especially if they are on the other side – could really be what you need at the time
- Set mini micro goals. Maybe its setting one small goal of getting up in the morning and not hitting the snooze button. Ok. That’s a start. Tiny goals become bigger ones, just one step a time. Doing this also can piggyback on creating new habits. Something ever so small in your life that creates a new path for you to traverse down. And new habits help change our mindset and make us feel good about our accomplishments – whatever they might be, big or small. Read the book, The 5 Second Rule.
- Work on a project. I was once told that how when we experience a difficult time, its challenging to think of anything positive in our life. We are consumed by our sadness and disbelief. But to get you away from that mindset (because you know it isn’t true), start honoring all the things you have accomplished. This is called the ‘sticky note’ assignment. Take a pack of sticky notes, and start writing down all of your accomplishments from riding a bike, to making a new friend, to your first job. Everything. These will add up. They will also help show you that you have accomplished a lot! Write down all the other difficult moments in your life and how you were able to overcome them. There is comfort in number.
- Rid yourself of social media. Purge yourself of all social media associated with your ex. This means unfriending him/her on all social media platforms. This also means blocking their number and their email.
- Reach out to friends. Build your tribe. Reach out to friends and family for support and compassion. They want to help you. Let them know what you need (even if in the moment you don’t know what you want). Having conversations will help you process your loss and move you through your heartbreak.
- Work on yourself. Is this the time to look at yourself and make some necessary changes? We all have them to make. Start with just one teeny tiny goal. Or, if you have a few changes you want to make, write them down and then just move one over to your ‘active list’ and begin working on that one. It will take you about six weeks before that change becomes a new habit and something you can learn to embrace.
- Journaling. There are significant positive benefits to journaling. From having a safe place to put all your thoughts and feelings to watching how you grow, evolve, and move through heartbreak when you reflect. Your journal is a place for self-discovery. There is no judging, just you writing down how you feel and what your heartbreak means to you. A place all to your own.
- Get a therapist. Beyond the support you receive from family and friends, talking to a therapist often helps. The therapist provides a safe outlet for you to share your pain, disappointment, sadness, and fears in a non judgmental place. This helps reduce your shame especially if you feel that you are still struggling when others may think you should be past your heartbreak. And a therapist can help you process your emotions and help you feel hopeful again about the future.
- Make healthy lifestyle choices. It is often difficult to do this because food and alcohol makes you feel better – in the moment. But this is the most important time to be intentional about your choices because in the long run, we often feel worse. Getting out of your home and going for a walk outside, getting out of your home really does change your state of mind and brings a bit more clarity. It helps you feel less stuck, even for a brief period of time.
- Manage your expectations. It’s all too common to have unrealistic and lofty expectations about bouncing back after heartbreak. You have lost an important person in your life. Don’t forget that. It will take you time to get back to feeling like your normal self again and being able to accomplish things you need to do and stay focused. So give yourself the time and emotional bandwidth you need. This is your journey.
As moments turn into hours and then to days, weeks, and months, time does have a way of healing the heart. You have the capacity to move through heartbreak.
The team at illumu can help you move through heartbreak. Check out our Kickstarter campaign to see how we can help you overcome your heartbreak and get back on track.
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