Love is a wonderful thing, until it is not. Falling in love can bring so much joy to our lives and conversely, the ending of relationships can be among the most painful experiences we ever have. So how do we cope with a broken heart? All of those sad songs on the radio may offer momentary comfort and commiseration, but how can we overcome heartbreak in the long-term?
A recent study published in May 2018 by the University of Missouri-St. Louis explored three ideas for overcoming a broken heart. The first was to think negatively about your ex. That sounds kind of cathartic, doesn’t it? The second was to practice acceptance of lingering loving feelings without judgement, and the third was distraction. The study found that all three strategies promoted a decrease in emotional reaction to photos of an ex, but also that thinking negatively led to more unpleasant feelings and that distraction only worked in the short-term. However, given how social media can present us with unwanted memories, these strategies may be a good start to working through the pain and recollection of an ended relationship.
There are other methods and tips for dealing with a broken heart. Acceptance of negative feelings is key, but also acceptance of your strength and resilience. Recognizing that you can and will survive, and that you can be happy on your own, is often very liberating. In addition, using your energy to help others, or even to exercise, can provide much needed distraction from the pain and anguish of lost love. Not to mention that exercising may help to build confidence for when you decide you are ready to put yourself out there again.
Above all, it is most important to love ourselves and to remember that one lost love does not translate into never finding love again. There can be strength and empowerment in walking through pain and heartache. Avoiding heartbreak will only result in lost opportunities for love and happiness. So turn on some Adele (or some other like-minded getting over a breakup song) and remind yourself that it is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.
Call Main St. Psychiatry today for more information on the services we offer to cope with life’s ups and downs, and for more tips on coping with a broken heart check out the articles below.
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