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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

Chef and Cookbook Writer

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Reinvent Yourself and Change Your Life

How to Reinvent Yourself and Change Your Life

There will always be times in your life when you may need to learn how to reinvent yourself. This could come when you experience a big change, such as leaving your job, moving on from a relationship, transferring to a new home, or losing a loved one. If you are going through a major shift in your life, you may have to find new ways of thinking or doing things, or risk failing to reach your full potential.

“When something bad happens, you have three choices. You can let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.”

Many people who dared to leave their old unhappy lives enabled themselves to pursue their passions and find a renewed zest for living. You can also achieve the same if you take a leap of faith and make things happen for yourself.

To help you always be at your best wherever you may be in your life, here are some practical tips on how to reinvent yourself.

The Reinvention Checklist

Before embarking on a journey of self-reinvention, you need to make sure that you have everything that you need to make the trip bump-proof. These things include:

Resilience

Problems and obstacles are guaranteed to happen. Some of them will be difficult and may knock you off course; the important thing, however, is that you learn from these difficulties, never lose focus, and always get back up. This requires building resilience to get through the tough times.

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Support

Humans are social beings. Although it is important that you learn to rely on yourself when facing any challenge, it is also important to have a support team that you can lean on to give you a boost when things get too tough and to correct you when you’re making mistakes.

The key is to find the right balance between independence and dependence. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and share the difficulties you’re facing. When you open up, you’ll find the people who are really going to be there for you.

Self-Care

During the process of learning how to reinvent yourself, you will have to pull yourself away from your old comfort zones, habits, roles, and self-perceptions. This can be difficult and cause you to question your self-worth, so it’s important to engage in self-care to maintain a positive outlook and keep your mind and body healthy as you face the challenges that await you. Self-care can include:

  • Participating in a hobby you enjoy
  • Spending time with your support system
  • Taking some time to walk in nature
  • Practicing loving-kindness meditation

Find what works for you and what helps you feel like your true self as you seek a reinvented version of you.

How to Reinvent Yourself

Once you’re sure that you’re equipped with all the tools in the self-reinvention checklist, you can begin your journey of learning how to reinvent yourself.

1. Discover Your Strengths

This step provides valuable information on how you deal with certain situations. If you have this information, you will be able to manage difficulties more efficiently.

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To find out what your strengths are, you can ask your friends and colleagues for feedback, engage in self-reflection, or try these 10 Ways to Find Your Own Personal Strengths.

2. Plan

This step calls for a thorough assessment of your current emotional, psychological, and financial status so that you can develop plans that are realistic and practical.

It’s okay to have ambitious dreams, but your plans have to be realistic. Making use of SMART goals can help you plan your life better.

You can also consult your mentor or life coach for practical tips and advice.

Ultimately, you’ll want to create specific long-term and short-term goals that you can create milestones for. By doing this, you’ll lay out a specific roadmap to your reinvented self.

3. Try Things Out

Sometimes, we don’t know if solutions actually work until we try them out. This is why it is important to experiment whenever possible, especially if you’re dealing with a career change. You may need to simply experiment in order to find the things you like. This can be the same with hobbies. If you’re not sure what you would like doing, accept invitations from friends to join them in their favorite sport or take a class, like pottery or photography.

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By seeing what’s out there in any area of your life, you’ll have a better chance of finding the things you enjoy and the goals you want to create.

4. Manage Your Finances Well

Changes may require a bit of money. If you’re shifting to a new career, you may have to pay for training. If you’re going through a tough divorce or having a hard time dealing with the death of a loved one, you may have to pay for therapy. If you’re moving to a new home, you’ll definitely have to pay a whole lot of expenses.

All of these things are possible, but it will require a bit of money savviness as you learn how to reinvent yourself. If you have that cushion, you’ll feel more comfortable straying from your current path to try new things.

5. Muster Your Courage

Fears and self-doubt may arise when you encounter difficulties and setbacks. Sometimes, they may also come when you’re taking risks. You have to manage these negative emotions well and not allow them to discourage you. Tap into your courage and try doing at least one new thing each week to develop it.

Learn how to deal with your self-doubts to move forward in this article: How Self Doubt Keeps You Stuck (And How to Overcome It)

6. Use Your Support Group

As stated above, you need to build a strong support group before you even start the process of reinventing yourself. Your group will keep you from taking wrong turns and encourage you when you get too weighed down by problems. Don’t be afraid to call them, or even ask them out for coffee if you need to vent about the current difficulties you’re facing.

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7. Remind Yourself Every Day of Your Commitment

Write your goals on different-sized cards and scatter them at home and at work in places where you can easily see them. This way, you will constantly be reminded of where you want to be. Remember, writing down your goals helps them stick[1].

8. Accept Failure, Learn, and Resume Your Journey

Failing is normal, especially when we’re trying out something new. When you fail, simply recognize it, learn from it, and move on. Failure, in the end, is the best way to learn what does and doesn’t work, and you simply won’t be able to learn how to reinvent yourself if you don’t accept the inevitable failures that await you.

Final Thoughts

If you truly want to learn how to reinvent yourself and live the life you desire, take the advice above and start taking action. It will take time, patience, and plenty of effort to make the change you want happen, but it will be all worth it.

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Featured photo credit: Ashley Rich via unsplash.com

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