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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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Reference

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Lindsay Mattison

Chef and Cookbook Writer

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Last Updated on September 17, 2019

10 Simple Ways To Always Think Positive Thoughts

10 Simple Ways To Always Think Positive Thoughts

Positive thinking can lead to a lot of positive change in your life. Developing an optimistic outlook can be good for both your physical and mental health.

But sometimes, certain situations arise in life that makes it hard to keep a positive outlook. Take steps to make positive thinking become more like your second nature and you’ll reap the biggest benefits.

Here are 10 ways to make thinking positive thoughts easy:

1. Spend Time with Positive People

If you surround yourself with constant complainers, their negativity is likely to rub off on you.

Spend time with positive friends and family members to increase the likelihood that their positive thinking habits will become yours too. It’s hard to be negative when everyone around you is so positive.

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2. Take Responsibility for Your Behavior

When you encounter problems and difficulties in life, don’t play the role of the victim. Acknowledge your role in the situation and take responsibility for your behavior.

Accepting responsibility can help you learn from mistakes and prevent you from blaming others unfairly.

3. Contribute to the Community

One of the best ways to feel good about what you have, is to focus on what you have to give.

Volunteer in some manner and give back to the community. Helping others can give you a new outlook on the world and can assist you with positive thinking.

4. Read Positive and Inspirational Materials

Spend time each day reading something that encourages positive thinking. Read the Bible, spiritual material, or inspirational quotes to help you focus on what’s important to you in life. It can be a great way to start and end your day.

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Some recommendations for you:

5. Recognize and Replace Negative Thoughts

You won’t be successful at positive thinking if you’re still plagued by frequent negative thoughts. Learn to recognize and replace thoughts that are overly negative. Often, thoughts that include words like “always” and “never” signal that they aren’t true.

If you find yourself thinking something such as, “I always mess everything up,” replace it with something more realistic such as, “Sometimes I make mistakes but I learn from them.”

There’s no need to make your thoughts unrealistically positive, but instead, make them more realistic.

6. Establish and Work Toward Goals

It’s easier to be positive about problems and setbacks when you have goals that you’re working toward. Goals will give you motivation to overcome those obstacles when you encounter problems along the way. Without clear goals, it’s harder to make decisions and gauge your progress.

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Learn to set SMART goals to help you achieve more.

7. Consider the Consequences of Negativity

Spend some time thinking about the consequences of negative thinking. Often, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

For example, a person who thinks, “I probably won’t get this job interview,” may put less effort into the interview. As a result, he may decrease his chances of getting the job.

Create a list of all the ways negative thinking impacts your life. It likely influences your behavior, your relationships, and your feelings. Then, create a list of the ways in which positive thinking could be beneficial.

8. Offer Compliments to Others

Look for reasons to compliment others. Be genuine in your praise and compliments, but offer it frequently. This will help you look for the good in other people.

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9. Create a Daily Gratitude List

If you start keeping a daily gratitude list, you’ll start noticing exactly how much you have to be thankful for. This can help you focus on the positive in your life instead of thinking about all the bad things that have happened in the day.

Getting in the habit of showing an attitude of gratitude makes positive thinking more of a habit. Here’re 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude.

10. Practice Self-Care

Take good care of yourself and you’ll be more equipped to think positively.

Get plenty of rest and exercise and practice managing your stress well. Taking care of your physical and mental health will provide you with more energy to focus on positive thinking.

Learn about these 30 Self-Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit.

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Featured photo credit: DESIGNECOLOGIST via unsplash.com

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