Women, life, happiness
  • Five tips to ease the sting of a break-up.

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    October 28th, 2010Keryl PesceFamily and Relationships, Life in general

    If you've ever suffered the life-draining, sucking vortex of a painful breakup, you know how debilitating it can be. It's as if someone turned on a giant vacuum the size of the universe and sucked all the happiness, peace and familiarity out of your life. Do you want to know why it feels that way?

    Turns out that "He's under my skin." and "I can't get him out of my head." are more than just expressions. How so? When we love someone, he actually occupies space inside the emotional center of our brains. He, or more accurately, thoughts of him, physically live in the neurons and synapses (fancy words for pathways) in our brains.

    When someone leaves our life, through death, divorce or breakup, our brain gets confused. It's expecting to  hear, touch, or see this person. When that doesn't happen, that portion of our brain actually becomes overactive and inflamed. What happens then?

    We have trouble sleeping, feel obsessed, lose our appetites, want to isolate ourselves, and lose our zest and joy for life – the experience all-too-commonly known as "depression". Which anyone who has been there knows, freaking bites.

    So what do you do? How do you get yourself back on track and headed up the Happy Highway?

    You take control of your thoughts and actions, which in addition to activities such as exercise and eating chocolate (Yay!) have the amazing capacity to alter our brain chemistry and therefore affect how we feel and act.

    Here are five ways to do just that following a break-up:

    1 – Stay or get healthy. Resist the temptation to add more alcohol and nicotine and lounge on the couch or in bed all day. Knock it off. Do something different. Don't wait to feel better before you eat better and get more exercise. Choose healthier foods and activities first! The better feelings will follow.

    2 – Quit idolizing the person. Did he he have good qualities? Sure, or you wouldn't have fallen for him in the first place. But if that's all you focus on, you're turning the pain knob to high. Don't do it. Be honest with yourself about his bad qualities. I'm not one to advocate being critical of others, but this is for your eyes only, so grab a pen and paper and make yourself a shit list. Write down all the habits or personality traits you disliked when you were together. Did he chew with his mouth open, making that disgusting smacking sound? (OK, just revealed a pet peeve) Did he never seem to listen to what you were were saying? Write it down.

    3 – Let yourself cry. Grab a pillow, curl up and let it all out. In the beginning, you need the release. You will feel better, lighter, more peaceful. Then be done with it. Gather up reminders and pack them away. Or burn them if that feels better.

    4 – Grow a set. Don't come across as the pathetic, needy, victim. You will turn him off completely if there is any chance of reconciliation, and the next dude in line won't be so impressed either. Suck it up. Get your ass up and begin building a better life. Living well is the best revenge.

    5 – Stop resisting what is. You don't necessarily need to like where you are right now, but you can come to terms with it and be at peace with your new situation. Here's a promise: Fight what is and it will fight back. You see, it's our thoughts about our circumstances, not the circumstances themselves that cause us the most suffering. Pay attention to what kinds of thoughts are running through your head. If what you've got going on makes you feel worse, stop. Ask yourself what thought would make you feel better. Choose that instead.

    Keep in mind, how you feel and what you are experiencing right now are temporary. The only question is how long will it be until you feel better. Learn to become aware of and more carefully direct your thinking and actions and "better" will come a whole lot faster.

    (For a more in-depth understanding of our how brains work, particularly in relationships, read "The Brain in Love" by Daniel G. Amen, MD) 

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2 responses to “Five tips to ease the sting of a break-up.” RSS icon

  • Get focused on starting over. If it is necessary to end a relationship. Gather up all that was positive about the previous relationship and carry ONLY that which was positive into the next relationship.

  • Good advice. It’s easier when you want the marriage over, as I did. But if my husband were to ever leave me, I’ve book marked this just in case!


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