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Researchers Say Craving For Ex Is Similar To An Addict’s Craving For Drugs

Researchers Say Craving For Ex Is Similar To An Addict’s Craving For Drugs

If you’re craving your ex, you’re not alone. Everyone knows that breakups are hard, especially when you still have feelings for each other. It doesn’t matter who did the breaking up, a connection is often felt for weeks (if not months) after the breakup itself. If you’re feeling hard on yourself for thinking about your ex too often, it’s time to give yourself a break. Did you know that you actually have a physical craving for your ex?

What Your Brain Goes Through When You Break Up

Being in love creates disruptions in your brain chemistry[1] that increase dopamine, the chemical responsible for making you feel euphorically good anytime you’re around your ex. Your brain is hard-wired to enjoy the feeling of dopamine, so it releases even more every time you think about your partner. The more you love, the more dopamine you release and the more addicted you become to each other. While you’re in love, this feeling is great and really can’t be beat.

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Some people call being in love seeing through “rose colored glasses,” and in a sense that is true. At the same time that your attachment is growing through dopamine, the feelings of love decrease serotonin levels in your brain. This causes you to have clouded judgment, blindly focusing on your partner, ignoring the negative effects on your life, and only seeing the things that you want to see. Remember when your friends said he was no good for you and you just couldn’t see it? That’s serotonin at work.

It’s natural for you to have these feelings even after your ex no longer makes you feel good. Your brain is starting to return to normal serotonin levels, allowing you to see things you couldn’t see before, but you still haven’t re-trained your brain to disassociate the release of dopamine with your ex. You will actually feel like you’re in withdrawal when your desire is not around.

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This is similar to drug addiction

If all of this sounds a lot like the cravings associated with drug addiction, that’s because it is! Our brains are hardwired to repeat activities that make us feel good, such as how eating makes us feel better than the feeling of hunger. After repeated drug use, our brains associate the release of dopamine[2] from these drugs with a good feeling, tricking our brain into thinking that drugs are healthy for us.

As it turns out, love ranks up there on the list of powerful drugs. This is exactly what is happening when you are craving your ex: your brain remembers the release of dopamine it had when you were around him or her, and longs for that “feel good” sensation again. This can cause you to have cravings to be around your ex, even if your rational self knows that your ex won’t really make you feel better. Once you re-train your brain to disassociate the release of dopamine with your ex, your cravings will subside, little by little.

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It only takes 11 weeks to get over your ex

The good news is that science proves it only takes 11 weeks to get over your ex.[3] In the grand scheme of things, that’s really not that long! The bad news is that 11 weeks may feel really long if you’re craving someone who is no good for you. If you’re feeling serious withdrawals from your ex, hang out with friends and family. When you surround yourself with people who make you feel loved, you will begin to re-train your brain to avoid cravings for your ex.

Being in a community will have healing effects on your brain and will help you bring about new, good feelings. Before you know it, you will realize that you haven’t thought about your ex all day long, all week long, or in months. On to the next, healthier relationship you go!

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Lindsay Mattison

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

What do I want to do with my life? It’s a question all of us think about at one point or another.

For some, the answer comes easily. For others, it takes a lifetime to figure out.

It’s easy to just go through the motions and continue to do what’s comfortable and familiar. But for those of you who seek fulfillment, who want to do more, these questions will help you paint a clearer picture of what you want to do with your life.

1. What are the things I’m most passionate about?

The first step to living a more fulfilling life is to think about the things that you’re passionate about.

What do you love? What fulfills you? What “work” do you do that doesn’t feel like work? Maybe you enjoy writing, maybe you love working with animals or maybe you have a knack for photography.

The point is, figure out what you love doing, then do more of it.

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2. What are my greatest accomplishments in life so far?

Think about your past experiences and the things in your life you’re most proud of.

How did those accomplishments make you feel? Pretty darn good, right? So why not try and emulate those experiences and feelings?

If you ran a marathon once and loved the feeling you had afterwards, start training for another one. If your child grew up to be a star athlete or musician because of your teachings, then be a coach or mentor for other kids.

Continue to do the things that have been most fulfilling for you.

3. If my life had absolutely no limits, what would I choose to have and what would I choose to do?

Here’s a cool exercise: Think about what you would do if you had no limits.

If you had all the money and time in the world, where would you go? What would you do? Who would you spend time with?

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These answers can help you figure out what you want to do with your life. It doesn’t mean you need millions of dollars to be happy though.

What it does mean is answering these questions will help you set goals to reach certain milestones and create a path toward happiness and fulfillment. Which leads to our next question …

4. What are my goals in life?

Goals are a necessary component to set you up for a happy future. So answer these questions:

Once you figure out the answers to each of these, you’ll have a much better idea of what you should do with your life.

5. Whom do I admire most in the world?

Following the path of successful people can set you up for success.

Think about the people you respect and admire most. What are their best qualities? Why do you respect them? What can you learn from them?

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You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.[1] So don’t waste your time with people who hold you back from achieving your dreams.

Spend more time with happy, successful, optimistic people and you’ll become one of them.

6. What do I not like to do?

An important part of figuring out what you want to do with your life is honestly assessing what you don’t want to do.

What are the things you despise? What bugs you the most about your current job?

Maybe you hate meetings even though you sit through 6 hours of them every day. If that’s the case, find a job where you can work more independently.

The point is, if you want something to change in your life, you need to take action. Which leads to our final question …

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7. How hard am I willing to work to get what I want?

Great accomplishments never come easy. If you want to do great things with your life, you’re going to have to make a great effort. That will probably mean putting in more hours the average person, getting outside your comfort zone and learning as much as you can to achieve as much as you can.

But here’s the cool part: it’s often the journey that is the most fulfilling part. It’s during these seemingly small, insignificant moments that you’ll often find that “aha” moments that helps you answer the question,

“What do I want to do with my life?”

So take the first step toward improving your life. You won’t regret it.

Featured photo credit: Andrew Ly via unsplash.com

Reference

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