Someone you care about—maybe even love—has just ended your relationship and your heart is breaking. It’s a relentless hurt you can’t seem to escape. It impacts your thoughts, energy, appetite, and sleep. You used to think the phrase “broken heart” was just a metaphor, but now you’re not so sure since there’s an actual throbbing pain somewhere in the vicinity of your chest.
Sound familiar? If you’re suffering the effects of a painful break-up, there are no quick fixes or easy solutions. It just plain hurts. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps toward healing. Here are four strategies to get you started:
Activate your endorphins. Our bodies produce endorphins as a natural pain-killer and to generate a sense of well-being. This is God-given biochemistry that is far healthier and more effective than anything synthetic. Exercise is one of the best ways to experience the rush of endorphins. So start working up a sweat. Go jogging, take a long bike ride, or hike in the hills. It’s true: One of the best ways to mend a broken heart is to get it pumping hard.
Sidestep emotional landmines. People in pain are often gluttons for punishment. They reread old love letters. They stare longingly at photos of happier times. They return to places where meaningful and romantic events occurred. While nursing a wounded heart, it’s best to avoid reminders of your recently ended relationship. Maybe someday it will be helpful to meander—and mourn—down memory lane. But amid acute heartache, give yourself a break and let the past stay in the past.
Muzzle your inner Eeyore. Is that voice inside you starting to sound like Winnie-the-Pooh’s pessimistic pal? It’s easy to give free reign to your inner Eeyore, but now’s the time to silence those dreary declarations. The next time you find yourself thinking “I can’t go on without this person in my life” or “There must be something wrong with me,” make a conscious decision to rewrite the script. You don’t have to give yourself puffed-up pep talks or phony flattery–just be intentional about telling yourself the truth: “Yes, I am grieving a great loss, but I’ll get through this and go on to experience happiness and joy again.”
Lean on those who love you. When feeling down and depressed, most of us just want to crawl in our cave and lick our wounds. “Leave me alone while I wallow in my sorrow!” Resist the temptation to isolate. After all, suffering in silence only prolongs the pain. Call upon people who care about you. Let them surround you with support, share your burdens, and bolster your self-esteem.
On the journey toward finding lifelong love, nearly everyone will experience heartache and hurt. Thankfully, there are things you can do to speed the recovery process and regain your sense of joy, hope, and purpose.