Surviving a breakup is no cake walk, that’s for sure. Breakups inevitably mean change, and even positive change rarely comes easily. Unfortunately, there’s no way around the grieving process and growing pains. Sometimes the only way to get past something is to move through it. Here are 8 ways to hopefully speed up that journey:
1. Get rid of the anger
There’s often a lot of anger that accompanies a breakup. The anger can be directed toward any number of targets: him, for causing you to have these painful and uncomfortable feelings; yourself, for making mistakes and not being perfect like the rest of us; or the frustration you feel when you realize you can’t control the situation. Regardless, you’re mad! Furious, even.
Go beat a pillow senseless or take a kickboxing class. Scream at the top of your lungs in your car (hopefully with the windows rolled up) or go to the batting cages and imagine the ball is your ex. Do what you have to do to get it out.
2. Rewire your brain.
Since you want to make sense of the pain, you may have the tendency to think, “If only I had done ___ instead” or replay the breakup over and over (and over) in your head. But, doing so will never get you where you want to be: over him. You may never understand why this happened. You certainly won’t figure it out on the 30th try.
Instead, picture a stop sign anytime you start to ruminate. See the red sign and think, “STOP!” Then, redirect your mind to something else, like your breath, the sounds around you or a mantra such as, “There are plenty of men.”
If you have the same thought enough times, it creates a groove in your brain. The groove becomes deeper the more you think that thought. So, if you think enough positive thoughts, eventually your brain will gravitate toward those grooves, and you’ll find it easier to think positively. You can literally ‘change your mind’.
3. Make a list of your ex’s faults.
This list will help when you remember how amazing his kisses were, while conveniently forgetting how he lied, was condescending or made you feel bad. Try idealizing someone with a list of his shortcomings staring back at you. By focusing on what you didn’t like or why he wasn’t right for you, you can help yourself fall out of love.
4. Make a ‘New You’ playlist
According to research, listening to music is one of the fastest ways to change your mood. Music alters parts of the brain that nothing else can, and also stimulates the section in it that triggers happiness. Music is what our emotions sound like. Don’t underestimate its power to heal.
Make a playlist for your life soundtrack with empowering songs like these:
- “Shake it Off” by Mariah Carey
- “Cry Me A River” by Justin Timberlake
- “I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash
- “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M.
- “Irreplaceable” by Beyonce
- “Return of the Mack” by Mark Morrison
- “Since You’ve Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson
You have full permission to sing along too, since singing releases feel-good endorphins.
5. Change your style – in addition to your phone number
Give yourself a serious makeover, and dress like the goddess or successful businesswoman you’ve always wanted to be. Though you don’t have to break the bank, buying a new dress can do wonders for your psyche and help get your sexy back.
Warning: You may want to chop off all your hair, but take it from those of us who’ve been there, you could get a bad cut and feel even less like yourself than before. Maybe a new color or style instead?
6. Spend time with women
According to The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, “Women have more feelings of empathy for people than men” and “Both men and women find relationships with women to be more intimate and enjoyable than those with men.”
Since men sometimes find it difficult to be hurt and feel masculine at the same time, they have a harder time knowing what to say or how to make you feel better. Women, on the other hand, are much more used to supporting people emotionally. So, instead of trying to meet someone new right away, cope with the breakup by hanging out with your sister, calling your BFF from way-back-when or having lunch with your friends.
7. Write a letter (or ten)
Writing is very cathartic, so write to your ex, the world or even yourself. This letter won’t be sent, so it doesn’t have to make any sense whatsoever. Use incomplete sentences and rant away about how sad, lonely or angry you feel.
The whole point is to get those emotions out of you, so avoid rereading your words and taking them back in. Write your letter, and then rip it up or burn it.
8. Visualize how you want your future to look
We often take breakups personally, and worry that no one will ever “get us” like he did, or that we’re “too old”, “too fat” or “too tired” to ever be in a happy relationship again. Realistically, what are the chances of that happening? Slim to none.
Take a tip from Olympic athletes, who picture every single detail of their race before it happens. By seeing themselves cross the finish line first and imagining exactly how they want the race to look, they increase the chance of it going their way.
See yourself a year from now, completely over what-his-name, and with a happy, full life; one that maybe even includes a new man much better suited to you.
Breakups suck, yes. But the day will come when you can think about him without the pain and hurt you feel now. You will get through this. We promise.