14 Ways To Deal With Heartbreak As Told By A Counselling Psychologist

Nelly Wadia , 08 Jul 2020
Heartbreak By kittirat roekburi | www.shutterstock.com
Heartbreak By kittirat roekburi | www.shutterstock.com

I’m pretty sure that everyone who reads this blog would have gone through a painful heartbreak at some point. We’ve all cried out in pain and pined for the person we’ve lost. Breakups are hard for both the breaker-upper and the breaker-uppee, in different ways of course. For the person who has been broken up with, they become crippled with the rejection and wonder what they could have done differently? And there’s always the question about whether there is an easy way to recover from a broken heart. But it’s a long, winding journey and a time-consuming one as well because healing doesn’t occur overnight. The worst part is one minute you start feeling better and like you can conquer the world and the next, a wave of darkness overtakes you. So, we reached out to Anagha Bhave, Therapist and Counselling Psychologist for tips on how to get through heartbreak.

Here’s a look at a few pointers on how to move on and deal with heartbreak:

1) Grieve

We believe we should stay strong through heartbreak, but the truth is we need to live through it. We’re only human and we should be allowed to be miserable and mope about the house. It is important to really understand and accept the circumstances that led to this heartbreak. Take some time off and cry to your heart’s content, binge on your favourite foods and indulge in your self-care routine. Even if getting out of the relationship was a good thing, you will still experience deep emotions of loss because you were attached to this person. Grieve because it is the first and most important step to healing and you’ll feel a whole lot better after letting it all out.

Grieve the heartbreak. By Antonio Guillem | www.shutterstock.com
Grieve the heartbreak. By Antonio Guillem | www.shutterstock.com

2) Focus on methods that will be helpful for your mental health

One’s self-confidence takes a huge hit when our partner tells us that they no longer wish to be with us and our self-esteem and mental health is hugely impacted. Re-building what breaks is hard and takes time. Keep reminding yourself of your strength by being independent and doing things on your own. Eventually what was once lost will find it’s way back to you. Focus on what makes you happy, do everything that you wanted to do but couldn’t because of the limitations that were prevalent in the relationship. Ask yourself the difficult questions—what are your strengths and how can you amplify them? What are your weaknesses and how can you improve on them?

Don’t fixate on the lack of things and instead, focus on the many blessings you have. Give yourself credit on how far you’ve come. Pay attention to how you work through life’s obstacles. Avoid the negative self-chatter, it will inevitably stunt your growth. You have to consciously remind yourself that you are better than how you perceive yourself.

3) Get a hobby

The best way to overcome any painful experience including heartbreak is to find a hobby. Take a cooking class or a painting class or a class in robotics. Anything that keeps you busy and helps you be productive will ease you out of your emotional funk. Set up a routine that works for you and stick to it, care for yourself and work on expanding your horizon. This will automatically keep you from sinking into your unhappy place. Plus, you’ll meet new people and be plenty distracted. You never know when lightning may strike again. Replan your life immediately and make a checklist of how you want to approach this new side to you.

Engage in a hobby. By Vadym Pastukh | www.shutterstock.com
Engage in a hobby. By Vadym Pastukh | www.shutterstock.com

4) Work-out

Exercise, go for a run or a walk, meditate, do some yoga. Getting in shape and feeling healthy can revive one’s purpose and help them rebuild their self-esteem. Not forgetting to mention that working out releases endorphins in the brain which is a happy chemical. Make a conscious attempt at practising self-care, and indulge yourself with things you may otherwise skip.

Work-out. By Gorodenkoff | www.shutterstock.com
Work-out. By Gorodenkoff | www.shutterstock.com

5) Confide in friends and family

Communicate what you are going through with your loved ones. Talking about your emotions may help you walk your way through the entire situation. It also helps shed light on the people that truly care and appreciate you. Thus, making you more grateful for the goodness in your life. It might allow you to finally approach this heartbreak more objectively. And your near and dear ones will also shine a light on areas that you might have conveniently ignored or approached more subjectively. Meaning, by talking about the good and bad parts of this relationship, you’re able to seek out different perspectives that would help you move on.

6) Get therapy

If you’re not open with your family and friends and prefer to open up in the presence of a stranger, then you should definitely seek out therapy. Alternatively, if you have no one to talk to then contact a therapist who will listen to your problems. One that will offer solutions and advice on dealing with heartbreak. Counselling can be an effective tool to overcome any form of trauma and we should move beyond the stigma attached to getting help. At the same time, you will also discover several things about yourself and your reactions to things in life. This entire process might just set you on a journey of self-discovery.

Seek out therapy if need be. By wavebreakmedia | www.shutterstock.com
Seek out therapy if need be. By wavebreakmedia | www.shutterstock.com

7) Spend time with your friends

After a heartbreak, it is better to not withdraw because it will only amplify those feelings of sadness and rejection. Your friends are like the perfect hype crew if they call you to hang out say yes! They will hear you out and buy you food and sweet treats to make you feel better. They might drag you to a movie or a party to enjoy your time. The best way to pull yourself out of heartbreak is to spend the most amount of time with your friends. It is likely they too would have suffered through a breakup and they might talk you through yours.

Spend time with your friends. By Jacob Lund | www.shutterstock.com
Spend time with your friends. By Jacob Lund | www.shutterstock.com

8) Avoid mind-numbing substances

While getting drunk every day may seem like the best idea to dull the pain, this may have some major long term side-effects. The same logic applies to drugs. It is only a be a temporary high after which the low will be a major low. What’s worse is you could end up getting addicted, leading to more problems later.

Avoid mind-numbing substances. By fizkes | www.shutterstock.com
Avoid mind-numbing substances. By fizkes | www.shutterstock.com

9) Validate your emotions

A lot of the times we tend to suffer in silence and tell ourselves that our feelings aren’t important enough to ponder over. The truth is you need not diminish your feelings because someone else’s suffering might be greater. The expectation to be happy and have positive thoughts all the time will invalidate your sadness—a pattern called toxic positivity.

10) Remind yourself why the relationship ended

Life can be unfair and unpredictable but accepting that sometimes life doesn’t go our way can be helpful. Reset your expectations from life and yourself and you might find happiness within. You have to fight the urge to go over every detail of what you could have done differently to save the relationship. The reality is that it ended and needed to end. Both partners need to be happy together and if one isn’t then you’re only delaying the inevitable. Remind yourself of the pros and cons, think about the things your partner did to upset you and cause you inner turmoil. It’s no one’s fault, sometimes people grow apart and it is no indication of anyone’s worth. Accept that the relationship is over and close that door forever. Holding out hope as we’ve discussed only leads to disappointment.

11) Avoid getting in touch with your ex

Whether it was an amicable end or a painful heartbreak, avoid getting in touch with your ex. If you find that hard to do, delete them off all your social accounts. Trying to keep tabs on them will only hurt you further and stall your progress by moving on with your life. Trying to stay friends with them when you are still not over the heartbreak is a bad idea. These kinds of equations rarely work and always leave you feeling confused but hopeful. You definitely do not need this while you’re in the midst of trying to build yourself back up. It might also be some form of a power play for them knowing that they can control you or the situation because you so desperately want them back in your life. They might reach out, but they might do so to keep you in their life as an option or to fulfil a basic sexual need, and not because they miss you. So don’t wait for someone who walked out of your life once.

It is also likely that you might want to hold on to pictures and mementoes of your time together, but if these things are emotional triggers for you, then it might be best to throw them out so that you don’t have constant reminders lying around. Out of sight, out of mind is definitely a good tactic to apply in this situation.

Avoid getting in touch with your ex. By Antonio Guillem | www.shutterstock.com
Avoid getting in touch with your ex. By Antonio Guillem | www.shutterstock.com

12) Don’t try to make them jealous

While you’re out spending time with your friends it’s best to try and not make your ex jealous. We think that by doing say they might want to rekindle the relationship and they might even do so but not for the right reasons. If you were truly having fun you wouldn’t have to prove that you’re happy without them.

13) Don’t jump into another relationship

A lot of people tend to want to jump right back into the dating pool because it validates them and fills the void of rejection. It is perfectly normal to get on dating apps and acknowledge that there are lots of options. However, getting involved with someone before you’re ready may hurt them if they’re looking for a genuine connection while you’re simply looking for a distraction. You also run the risk of rebounding on the next person if you rush into it too soon. Dive in when you are truly ready to look for something.

Don't start dating too soon. By Tero Vesalainen | www.shutterstock.com
Don’t start dating too soon. By Tero Vesalainen | www.shutterstock.com

14) Set goals to overcome heartbreak

Set small but achievable goals. Every day, do 1 thing that you wouldn’t normally do and before you know it, you’ve come a whole year into the future. A better and more evolved you. Resilience will help you not only overcome this situation but far worse scenarios in the future.

On a separate note, I also want to discuss the possibility of having to work with an ex after a break-up:

If you happen to work together this could be a tricky situation to manoeuvre through.

  • You could look for a way to minimise contact, maybe switch timings or departments.
  • Try to fight the urge to look in their direction.
  • Spend time interacting with your other colleagues.
  • Loop in friends at work to help you resist the temptation to talk to your ex.
  • If you’re familiar with their route to work or hangout spots, avoid it till you feel better and more in control.
  • Don’t isolate yourself and avoid going to office gatherings altogether, go and hang out with your colleagues and have a great time.
Working with an ex after a break-up. By aslysun | www.shutterstock.com
Working with an ex after a break-up. By aslysun | www.shutterstock.com

The pain from heartbreak is equivalent to intense physical pain. At the end of the day, the loss of a partner is no indication of your worth and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

What are some of the things you’ve done to deal with heartbreak? Let me know in the comments below.

We often have conversations around relationships on Malini’s Girl Tribe. To be a part of them, join the tribe here.

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