Breakups hurt. A recent study shows that intense psychological pain, like the rejection of an unwanted breakup – activate the same areas of the brain as physical pain (Kross, et al. 2011). In fact, thoughts play a role, not only in your physical experience, but also in how you recover from or wallow in a breakup.
Do you often think about a specific past moment, constantly wishing you had done or said something differently? Do you get stuck in these patterns of thought? If you are a prone to rumination – repetitive self-reflection – it can lead you to hold on to negative feelings after something bad happens. Research shows that rumination impairs your ability to regulate your feelings and emotions after a negative event. Ruminators seem to hold on to negative feelings, and they don’t bounce back to feeling good about their partners as quickly as those who do not ruminate as much. This could mean holding on to negative feelings about something a partner did, something small he or she said, or even about an entire breakup.