There’s nothing like a broken heart that makes a person do things out of character. Breakups are painful, they bring deep grief, and make a distorted image of the relationship in our brain. However, not everything is so black. You just need to know how to survive a breakup and not break after a broken heart.
This article explains what breakups do to our brain and how to overcome it and come out even stronger. You will see some practical ideas and advice for going through a heartbreak.
How to survive a breakup – Defining the breakup
“Heartbroken” is a widely used term. For example, people say that “their heart got broken after the match”, but the pain they felt doesn’t even come close to romantic heartbreak. There’s nothing like a broken heart making someone do crazy stuff they normally wouldn’t do. You’ve probably heard tons of stories about people doing desperate things after they’ve gone through a breakup. For example, becoming stalkers or texting the ex like insane. Those are all grief responses and it’s actually to be expected considering what happens in the brain in such situations.
According to studies that used MRI scans of people who recently went through a breakup, when we relive our breakup, we have the same brain activity as addicts when they need a “fix” during a withdrawal. Thus, the desperate actions in hope that we will get a grain of that “love” we had before.
What does a breakup do to our brain?
When we go through a breakup, our brain is no longer in charge and the heart takes over. This makes us lose control over our decisions. The thing is, our brain can’t tell the difference between physical and emotional pain. For our brain, pain is a pain. Therefore, by making you relive your relationship over and over, your brain hopes that you will learn from your mistakes so that you don’t go through that pain again. It’s like the instincts you get after burning yourself on hot things. Your brain will show you mental images of the good times because they hurt the most. And it wants to make sure you don’t forget the pain and not make the same mistakes. But, in order to regain control of your life, you need to learn how to override those natural brain responses.
How to fix a broken heart?
In order to fix a broken heart, you need to correct the distorted image of the relationship your brain keeps serving you. You can do that by making a list of all the bad things you went through while being in that relationship. This will counterbalance the “sweet pain” circle your brain trapped you in.
You need to set your goals clearly – Getting your ex out of your system and getting rid of the pain that comes with memories. Unfortunately, our brain works the opposite way and it will fight you by making you think about the sweet moments. You have to resist those thoughts and avoid “stalking” your ex on social media and looking at old pictures.
Other problems you might stumble upon are all the reminders of the past relationship that are everywhere. Your home, your mutual friends, the restaurants, certain spots in the city, those are all the reminders that you don’t need right now.
That’s why you have to be persistent in avoiding everything that reminds you of your ex. It is not easy but with commitment and being careful where you go and who you see, it is possible. In addition, it’s extremely important to talk to your friends, though keep in mind that you shouldn’t burden just one person with your emotional pain but “spread” it over one or two more friends.
- Most importantly, if you want to survive a breakup, you have to ask yourself the following questions:
- Who were you before you met that person?
- Who do you want to be now?
- What aspects of yourself did you have to change for that relationship?
- Which parts of yourself do you want to recover?
Once you have these answers, it will be clearer what you want from your life and moving on will come naturally.
Once you start feeling a little better, don’t let your guard down because your heart and mind can be sneaky sometimes. Keep reminding yourself of the negative aspects of your former relationship. Work hard on filling in the gaps the relationship left in your life with positive things such as going out with friends or new hobbies.
Furthermore, replace your ex with friends when you want to watch “that TV show” you watched together. Or, when you were working out outside together. Just don’t give up on activities that you did together because you want them to be “your” activities now, not “the stuff we did together”.
Finally, think about what you’ve learned from this breakup. What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about relationships in general? You will be surprised how much we can learn from our mistakes. we just need to allow ourselves to listen to reason. Once you manage that, you will come out much stronger than before. And you definitely won’t make the same mistakes again.