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Healing a Broken Heart

This month’s blog theme is “How do you heal a broken heart.” My first thought with this one is, “if I had the answer to that, I’d be a millionaire!” The reality is that all of us have had our hearts broken at one time or another, and we can all agree it is a terribly painful process. The one thing that we have no control over that is the most effective in healing a broken heart is the passage of time. But there are some things we can do to take care of ourselves better in the meantime and they may even help to speed up the process.

One of the biggest things that helped me is to find a supportive friend (or therapist) that you can talk things through with. The ending of relationships tend to bring up a lot of anxiety, and it can be really helpful to process your feelings without feeling judged or that you are annoying someone. Really feel the feelings that you are going through. Breakups bring out very intensely painful emotions, and a lot of people will distract from these feelings by immediately jumping into dating, or by drinking or using other substances to numb out from the feelings. Journaling can also be helpful to really get your feelings out. One exercise I have people do is to write a long email to their ex and save it to drafts. If at the end, the person wants to send it they can, or they can just save or delete it. Many people have found this helpful.

Take good care of yourself during this time. Get lots of rest, exercise, and eat healthy foods. Maybe go for a massage, or treat yourself to something that will make you feel good but is not too unhealthy (if there was ever a time for a cookie, it’s now). Try to foster and cultivate positive thoughts about yourself and your future. Many times people are in pain because they have been broken up with, and this leads to feelings of rejection and worthlessness in the extreme. Try to recognize thoughts of low self esteem and counteract them with positive affirmations. Come up with a list of positive attributes you have and positive outcomes you want to have in your life and repeat them to yourself when you start to feel badly about yourself.

A little later in the process, when some time has gone by and some healing has taken place, examine if there are any patterns that are coming up in your relationship history. Are you choosing people that are emotionally unavailable in some way? Do you have communication issues/anger issues/trust issues/etc. that are contributing to problems in the relationship? Do you lose yourself in relationships and make it all about the other person? As painful as it is, a breakup is also an opportunity for reflection and growth.

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