Science Helps with Breakups

heartbreak

Science Helps with Breakups

We’ve all been there: the week in sweat pants, balled up tissues on the couch, a book of bad poetry in our lap, gallons of empty ice cream cartons all around (wine bottles too) and tearful moments wondering how you’ll ever get over the loss. Breakups are one of the most painful moments in life. Certainly wallowing in misery is not one the most healthful thing you can do. Reflection on the other hand can help the healing process along. That’s according to one study published in the in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science. The difference between helpful reflection and wallowing is the point of your ruminations. How long has it taken place? Are your thoughts severe? If you are reliving moments over and over again, just making yourself sick then it’s time to stop and shake yourself out of this funk. If you are looking at it in a somewhat detached manner, to see where mistakes were made, learning about yourself and vowing to do better in the future, congratulations; you are truly helping to facilitate your own healing, and making sure your future endeavors in the realm of love will not be fraught with misfortune and peril.

Graduate student Grace Larson at Northwestern University conducted the study. She found that a period of asking one’s self questions and deep reflection as she told NPR, “…helped them develop a stronger sense of who they were as single people.” But this isn’t the only science-backed method to employ after a breakup. In fact, there is a rather impressive body of evidence on how to recover. We say we have a physical ache in our hearts and that’s literally true, according to one 2011 study. Participants underwent brain scans while gazing upon a photo of their ex and suffering a breakup. Neurologists found that the same areas where pain is received lit up when the person was longing for their lost love. Another study suggested Tylenol might help relieve such pain. A breakup affects you in other ways physically too, not just being heartsick. When people are in a long-term relationship their biological rhythms synch up. When you break up with someone and are living alone your heart rate, sleep pattern, appetite and even your body temperature is out of sync and must readjust. That means post-breakup, instead of letting yourself go you should go out of your way to take good care of yourself.

Once your body has readjusted, it’s time to take stock of your psychological state. After a breakup your sense of self and identity is in flux. Reestablishing a sense of who you are and what you want out of life is the key to moving on, experts say. Some calm reflection on the relationship is in order. But avoid dwelling upon it. Adaptation is the best route. But adapting to a new environment sans significant other is not easy. A good portion of our lives revolves around our partner. When they are gone a portion of our life goes with them. The good news is we also have a tremendous opportunity to learn from our mistakes and make plans for our future, one better suited for us. One study using brain scans likened breakup pain to cocaine withdrawal. This may be why some of us act a little bit nuts after we and our lover have split. Just ride it out. Most research finds that the first estimate of how long it takes to get over a breakup is far too long. In the aftermath, when the emotions have cleared most people feel they’ve learned something, that the experience helped them grow and made them more goal oriented. That’s according to a 2007 study. People who survive a tough breakup come out stronger in the end, find purpose in life and learn to move on their own power. What may feel like a painful extraction at first turns out to be liberating. For more pick up a copy of, Getting Past Your Breakup: How to Turn a Devastating Loss into the Best Thing That Ever Happened to You by Susan J. Elliott, JD Med.

Having a Guy Friend Helps after a Split

guy

Having a Guy Friend Helps after a Split

What’s more painful than a breakup? Few things in life fit that description and it’s usually when you’re eyeing a casket or a terrible diagnosis. It happens more than once to most of us. Some aren’t as painful as others. There are lots that seem like a relief. Still when you’re a female there are things that can help you get over a breakup. Not just wine or a pint of Ben& Jerry’s. Having friends and family around can help a lot. What’s really helpful is having a guy friend around after a split.

Sure lots of girls want to verbally bash men. When you’re with your girlfriends go ahead and do that to your heart’s content. At least you can get all those negative emotions out of you, and feel validated when your friends do the same. But this ‘all men are pigs’ attitude may seep in.  It can then hurt your relationship with the opposite sex and when you’re ready, it may even set your dating life back. No guy wants to go out on a date with a woman who is closed and highly suspicious of him, particularly if she’s only suspicious due to his sex. What is she doing there to begin with? This closed attitude may then inhibit the next stage of your love life. Also, women are more emotional. But after the initial grieving phase, how many times can you watch the same romantic sappy comedy? How many times can you hear about the one who stole your friend’s heart and got away?

The benefit of having a male friend around is different. First, he reminds you that all hope is not lost. There are good guys out there, guys that are worth dating and being with. In the short term this thought may not be as comforting as calling all men dogs. But in the long run it will be much healthier for your psyche. The next benefit is that he isn’t interested in having a pity party. After a while your girlfriends may not either. In fact, they’ll sidle away and make excuses. Instead, he’s going to march into your room, give you a sadder story, then rip you from your cold den of solitude and make you go out, to the movies, a great restaurant, a club for a night of dancing, a bar, pool, darts and laughs or something else to forget your troubles. He’ll turn the tables on you instead of letting you wallow in misery. You’ll be able to leave that stage behind you and finally progress into the woman you are meant to be; a strong, self-loving independent woman who is ready for the next adventure of her life.

Some women, those who generally can separate sex and love, also have a little tryst with a cute male friend that they don’t want to have a long term relationship with. It validates them and helps boost self-esteem. But don’t do it if it’s a mistake, or either of you have feelings the other doesn’t reflect back. Otherwise, make sure to interact with your male friends during a breakup, too. It will help tremendously. For more advice read, The Single Woman’s Sassy Survival Guide: Letting Go & Moving On by Mandy Hale.

Getting Over someone You Adored

HEARTBROKEN

Getting Over someone You Adored

Sometimes you just can’t wait to get rid of someone and move on with your life. Then there are those relationships you regret ever getting into. There are the ones who sting and the ones that cut deep. But the worst of all is getting over someone you adored, someone you feel that you just can’t live without. You’d rather go without limbs, eyes and vital organs than your lover and can’t believe they’d even think of leaving you. Perhaps it’s just a passing phase, or they’ve suddenly become mentally ill. How will you go on living? The end of a relationship can consume your entire life. Some have even contemplated suicide. Whether it’s feelings of abandonment, inadequacy, guilt, misplaced anger or rejection just know that you are going to be okay. You’ll get through this. Someday you’ll wonder what is was that you saw in this person. First, it may be cliché but with time it will hurt less and less until one day you’ll be free and feeling great. Allow yourself the proper time to get over it. Don’t obsess over your ex. Instead, focus on you, how you are feeling and your healing. When you’re ready get back into the swing of things. Even if you don’t feel like it, fake it until you make it. Be social and engage with others. Start to reconnect with your own past. Find out what you want to do with your life. When you get to make decisions like that, single life can start to feel quite liberating.

Try different projects, volunteer, reconnect with your faith or explore a path you’ve always wanted to try. Lots of people find comfort in writing. Why not start a journal or even a blog? If you are into the arts take a local class. Spend some time thinking about improving yourself. What patterns do you see creeping up in your own life that are destructive? What can you do that’s a healthy alternative? Go on a road trip with a friend, visit a country you’ve always wanted to see, volunteer at your local homeless or animal shelter, tutor a child and feel what it’s like from other people’s point of view, in order to gain some perspective. Take up some new activities. Visit new places. Explore your interests, yourself and your world. When you are ready consider dating again. What would you be looking for? What did you learn works for you in past relationships and what hasn’t worked? Why not reconnect with past loves and see what they think of you and your relationship now in hindsight? What were the lessons that they learned? What did they learn about you? What really happens when you lose a major love is you find yourself, the love of your life. Once you reemerge a stronger person you will seek and find the person you’re meant to be with. So enjoy the journey inward that will lead to a quest to find love in the time to come. To explore this topic further pick up a copy of, Getting Past Your Breakup: How to Turn a Devastating Loss into the Best Thing That Ever Happened to You by Susan J. Elliott.

Creative Ways to Get Over a Breakup

relationship-breakup

Creative Ways to Get Over a Breakup

How do you handle a breakup? Is it a night of drinking and trash talking with your best friends? Are you more of a weeklong cry fest in pajamas, a case of ice cream and every romantic movie you can get your hands on type? Perhaps you go to an ashram in India, a cross country road trip with your best friend, or go hiking up the Appalachian Trail or spend the weekend curled up in a rebound relationship. Those are pretty conventional ways to deal with a breakup. A couple perhaps not completely conventional though not out of the question either. But thanks to the amazing power of the internet, the creativity of people, and the sheer force that drives those around the country and the globe to seek their fifteen minutes of fame, here we have creative ways to get over a breakup. These were contributed on the social media site Reddit. First there is what is called the “Big girl breakup kit.” This is apparently chocolate, a package of tissues, alcohol, glitter, a pack of cigarettes and a soda. Next we have the guy who buys a whole red net filled with oranges at the supermarket. He writes his ex’s name on each one then smashes them one by one. Psychologists wonder if this is a healthy way to release what he’s feeling inside. One also wonders what she did to him that made him so angry.

One girl said she would spend the evening with her two loves, that being her cat and a big box of chocolates. Another girl with lighter in hand, sets fire to a teddy bear she said she never liked anyway. Yellow flames leap from the giant teddy’s legs and chest and the smiling imp is at that moment lighting it’s forehead on fire as a pink heart that says “mine” sits limply slung across its neck. One woman upset about her breakup found a surprise at her local restaurant. When she got her takeout container a special cartoon was drawn for her on the lid. In the top corner a smiling little girl holds up a sign that says, “You’re worth it!” in the bottom corner a sun illuminates the words, “You don’t need him to be happy.” The point is that you never know what you’ll need or what you’ll find out about those around you in normal circumstances that you would during a breakup. It’s when things are bleakest that the brightest rays of sunlight break in. Find ways that are meaningful to you, that don’t harm anyone to heal your bruised psyche and get over your breakup. Besides being diagnosed with a serious health issue or losing someone you love, it really is one of life’s most painful experiences. But in hindsight it’s through these experiences that we become stronger, tougher, smarter, more humble and far more capable people. It also gives us a chance to start anew, a chance to find our real love who is still out there, waiting for us. For more advice, read Getting Past Your Breakup: How to Turn a Devastating Loss into the Best Thing that Ever Happened to You by Susan J. Elliott.

You can come through Divorce a Stronger Person

C

You can come through Divorce a Stronger Person

Going through a divorce can be one of the most heart wrenching and financially burdensome periods of one’s life. How could it ever make you happier? You’d be surprised. The brightest light is only witnessed after dwelling in the darkest places. Remember that divorce is only one part of your life, an interlude between your married life and your single life. It isn’t your complete life. Your existence isn’t defined by it. It’s merely something that happened to you. You can come through divorce a stronger person if you choose to. Of course you have to grieve for the marriage. That’s a natural part of healing psychologically. But too many people wallow in self-pity after a divorce. Or they are overwhelmed with the question, “What do I do?” It’s time to start looking at things bit by bit. Learn to become more self-sufficient. You don’t need your ex, even if they did provide or help to provide a certain amount of financial or other type of stability. You can do that yourself. Whether you have to figure out how to pay the rent or when to get the oil changed, it can be an adjustment. But in the long run you’ll learn how to do each and every thing you lack. You will become more independent. You’ll learn that you don’t have to rely on anyone for anything. You can do it all yourself. The most important lesson you’ll learn is that you can be with someone if you want to be. You won’t need to be. That very fact will attract much higher caliber people your way.

You will also develop a clearer identity. Before your identity was confined to that of the marriage. But now you are unencumbered. You merely represent yourself and come as yourself. If your ex used to embarrass you in public places you know what a joy this can be. But you aren’t overshadowed or compared to or even associated with another person. You can control completely what is reflected upon you. And you don’t have to worry about that person you were with messing it up. You look so much better without them pulling you down. And why not explore the other relationships you have? Work on your work relationships and improve them, you family relationships, those with your pets, your mentors and more. Spend some time working on you, and just you. What is something you’ve always wanted to try but never had the opportunity? Well, you don’t have a terrible spouse weighing you down anymore. You are free to make any decisions you see fit. If you have children you still have to keep them in mind. But you are the captain of your own destiny. And without a bad marriage in the midst, you can focus on strengthening the other relationships in your life. With having stronger relationships and being more capable you’ll gain confidence. And that’s really the sexiest quality of all. For more on getting stronger after a divorce read, Rebuilding: When Your Relationship Ends, 3rd Edition by divorce expert Bruce Fisher.