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Heartbreaks Do Hurt: How To Heal From A Painful Heartbreak

Heartbreaks Do Hurt: How To Heal From A Painful Heartbreak

Heartbreaks really hurt. It’s for real literally, not a mere metaphor.

Every time you choose to connect with someone deeply, you’re exposing the most vulnerable part of yourself to another person. It’s like taking your heart out and connect it with another person’s. When this bonding is broken, the connected parts will torn apart. When your heart’s tearing apart, of course it hurts. There’s no difference than any physical pain.

Heartbreaks are so intense that it feels the same as physical pain.

When we experience a heartbreak, we feel sad, disappointed, angry, stressful and fearful because we feel like being rejected. The mixed feelings even cause physical pain with our heart.

Scientists conducted an aforementioned fMRI study of heartbroken individuals,[1]

When the subjects looked at and discussed their rejecter, they trembled, cried, sighed, and got angry, and in their brains these emotions triggered activity in the same area associated with physical pain.

Another study showed that subjects who touched a hot probe and those who looked at a photo of an ex-partner had the same experience of rejection. The physical pain and social rejection are rooted in exactly the same brain regions.

But like any kind of physical injuries, a heartbreak will heal; it just takes time (including a period of emotion ups and downs).

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The six stages we go through during a heartbreak:

    Stage 1: Denial.
    When things are happening too fast, it’s hard to believe it really is happening. We’re not good at handling sudden rejections, and so we want to choose to believe that the bad things never happened. We want to lie to ourselves so as to feel better.

    Stage 2: Anger.
    When lying to ourselves doesn’t work any more, we start to feel mad about what happened. Why it has to happened on me? Why s/he has to leave me like that? Why life is so unfair? We blame others. We blame the world. We hate the fact that we’re the one losing something.

    Stage 3: Blaming yourself.
    And then, we start to blame ourselves. Did I do something wrong so this happened to me? I should have done better. I could have done more than that. It’s all my fault. Instead of blaming others, we start to hate ourselves for being ourselves and having messed things up.

    Stage 4: Bargaining.
    Until this stage, we still can’t really accept what happened. We’re willing to do anything just to revert the result. We want to go back in time to change our past. We want a better ending. If there’s anything we can do to get him/her back, we’ll do it no matter what it takes.

    Stage 5: Depressed.
    Now we’ve come to a stage where we feel so hopeless and tired after going through so many negative emotions. We don’t want to do anything. We simply want to hide ourselves somewhere to cry, and rest. We are too sad to do anything. Our hearts are crying. Our hearts still ache.

    Stage 6: Initial acceptance.
    Finally, after all the emotion ups and downs and all the difficult time, we’ve started to accept the truth. We’ve begun to manage to keep ourselves calm. Bit by bit, we realize that we’re not crying that much any more. We’re still sad, but we don’t look back to the past so often.

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    Reaching stage 6 of heartbreak is a great breakthrough because you’ve totally embraced your emotions, accepting yourself as a vulnerable person. Yet this just the beginning of getting back on track of your life.

    After going through the six stages of heartbreak, you’re ready to work on the real healing.

    To mend a broken heart, firstly, understand the primal nature of the wound.

    Whether it’s a breakup or a loved one passed away, we’re losing a part of our life that means a lot to us. Here’re two different approaches for different reasons of heartbreaks.

    If it’s because a relationship ends:
    Are you feeling sad reminiscing all the sweet memories you had with him/her, missing all the moments which are like dreams to you now?

    Do you feel like you guys are meant to be together that you simply want to hold on to the relationship?

    Or are you afraid that you won’t be able to find a partner who’s as sweet as him/her, or who understands you as much as he/she did?

    Maybe it’s not really the person you’re missing; maybe it’s the memories and the feeling of being with someone that you’re missing. Maybe it’s also your ego messing with you, having to face the rejection.

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    If it’s because of a loved one passes away:
    Is it the regret you have that makes you so uneasy? You wish you could have treated him/her better? Or you wish you could have spent more time with him/her?

    Or is it that you don’t think you can live without him/her because after all, you guys had been together for so long? Is that you think it’s really hard to get used to living without him/her?

    Maybe you do miss the person, but you’re more afraid of living on your own. Imagine yourself living the future without him/her is just painful. You also hold a lot of grudges against yourself.

    No matter why you’re experiencing a heartbreak, it all comes down to your fear — the fear of past failure and the fear of future uncertainty.

    To kick away the evil fear, try this way.

    We can’t change what happened in the past, but we can learn from it and make ourselves a better future.

    Now, take out a piece of paper and grab a pen, write down everything you’re sad about this heartbreak:

    • I regret not spending more time with her.
    • He used to cheer me up when I was sad, now I have no one.
    • I never changed my feelings for him but he changed his.
    • I was lost, it wasn’t the real me when I started to become so needy.
    • ……

    When you finish writing these, look at each of them and ask yourself these questions:

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    • I understand this is part of my life and there’s a lesson in it, what’s that?
      This question makes you think about something that you can take away from the experience, so you can fully accept what happened and take only the lesson with you.
    • How can I apply the lesson learned to my daily life?
      This question guides you to make changes in your life, so you can be more positive about the situation.
    • What can I do now to prevent this from happening again?
      This question forces you to learn from the experience and think again what you can do when coming across similar situations.
    • What (or who) do I have now that will make me feel better?
      This questions helps you to get out of your cave and look at all those people who love and care about you; so you have the motivation to move on.

    While writing down your thoughts helps relieve the burden in your heart, asking yourself the above questions reminds you the importance of focusing on the present moment. As you’re answering the questions, you’ll understand yourself a lot more and will soon realize your future becomes more certain, and your life is not that out of control.

    Your mind feels calmer, but there’re a few more simple actions to take.

    Call your friends and invite them for dinner or just any kind of activities. You need their support and you need a lot of laughters!

    Take up some new hobbies or just take back up your old hobbies, just anything you enjoy doing!

    Take a break and go traveling (or a staycation in somewhere you’ve never been to) alone. You need some alone time to quiet your mind.

    Make some new friends. If you’re too shy to join your friends’ house parties, take some interest classes and meet people with like-minded. Meeting new people can stimulate your brain and make you happier.

    Yes time heals, but only if you take actions to take good care of yourself.

    As time goes by, bit by bit, you’ll realize that you no longer miss him/her that much any more. You’ll be able to smile when you see the thing that used to remind you of him/her. You’ll be able to see the bright side of things again.

    And you’re getting back on track with your life, having good time with your friends and family, enjoying your work and hobbies.

    Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

    Reference

    [1] AsapSCIENCE: The Science of Heartbreak

    More by this author

    Anna Chui

    Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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    Last Updated on July 18, 2019

    What Makes People Happy? 20 Secrets of “Always Happy” People

    What Makes People Happy? 20 Secrets of “Always Happy” People

    Some people just seem to float through life with a relentless sense of happiness – through the toughest of times, they’re unfazed and aloof, stopping to smell the roses and drinking out of a glass half full.

    They may not have much to be happy about, but the simplicity behind that fact itself may make them happy.

    It’s all a matter of perspective, conscious effort and self-awareness. Listed below are a number of reasons why some people are always happy.

    1. They Manage Their Expectations

    They’re not crushed when they don’t get what they want – or misled into expecting to get the most out of every situation. They approach every situation pragmatically, hoping for the best but being prepared for the worst.

    2. They Don’t Set Unrealistic Standards

    Similar to the last point, they don’t live their lives in a constant pursuit towards impossible visions of perfection, only to always find themselves falling short of what they want.

    3. They Don’t Take Anything for Granted

    Happiness rests with feeling fulfilled – those who fail to stop and appreciate what they have every now and again will never experience true fulfillment.

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    4. They’re Not Materialistic

    There are arguing viewpoints on whether or not money can really buy happiness; if it can, then we know from experience that we can never be satisfied because there will always be something newer or better that we want. Who has ever had enough money?

    5. They Don’t Dwell

    They don’t sweat the small things or waste time worrying about things that don’t really matter at the end of the day. They don’t let negative thoughts latch onto them and drain them or distract them. Life’s too short to worry.

    6. They Care About Themselves First

    They’re independent, care for themselves and understand that they must put their needs first in order to accommodate the needs of others.

    They indulge, aim to get what they want, make time for themselves and are extremely self-reliant.

    7. They Enjoy the Little Things

    They stop to smell the roses. They’re accustomed to find serenity when it’s available, to welcome entertainment or a stimulating discussion with a stranger when it crosses their path. They don’t overlook the small things in life that can be just as important.

    8. They Can Adapt

    They’re not afraid of change and they work to make the most out of new circumstances, good or bad. They thrive under pressure, are not overwhelmed easily and always embrace a change of pace.

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    9. They Experiment

    They try new things, experience new flavors and never shy away from something they have yet to experience. They never order twice from the same menu.

    10. They Take Their Time

    They don’t unnecessarily rush through life. They work on their own schedule to the extent that they can and maneuver through life at their own relaxing pace.

    11. They Employ Different Perspectives

    They’re not stuck in one perspective; a loss can result in a new opportunity, hitting rock bottom can mean that there’s no where to go but up.

    12. They Seek to Learn

    Their constant pursuit of knowledge keeps them inspired and interested in life. They cherish information and are on a life-long quest to learn as much as they can.

    13. They Always Have a Plan

    They don’t find themselves drifting without purpose. When something doesn’t go as planned, they have a plan for every letter in the alphabet to fall back on.

    14. They Give Respect to Get It

    They are respectful and, in turn, are seen as respectable; the respect they exude earns them the respect they deserve.

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    15. They Consider Every Opportunity

    They always have their eyes open for a new road, a new avenue worth exploring. They know how to recognize opportune moments and pounce on them to make the most of every situation. Success is inevitable for them.

    16. They Always Seek to Improve

    Perpetual self-improvement is the key towards their ongoing thirst for success. Whatever it is they do, they take pride in getting better and better, from social interactions to mundane tasks. Their pursuit at being the best eventually materializes.

    17. They Don’t Take Life Too Seriously

    They’re not ones to get offended easily over-analyze or complicate matters. They laugh at their own faults and misfortunes.

    18. They Live in the Moment

    They don’t live for tomorrow or dwell on what may have happened yesterday. Every day is a new opportunity, a new chapter. They live in the now, and in doing so, get the most out of every moment.

    You can learn how to do so too: How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Past or Future

    19. They Say Yes

    Much more often than they say no. They don’t have to be badgered to go out, don’t shy away from new opportunities or anything that may seem inconvenient.

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    20. They’re Self-Aware

    Most important, they’re wholly aware of themselves. They self-reflect and are conscious of their states of mind. If somethings bothering them, they fix it.

    We’re all susceptible to feeling down every now and again, but we are all equipped with the necessary solutions that just have to be discovered.

    Lack of confidence, inability to feel fulfilled, and susceptibility to stress are all matters that can be controlled through the way we handle our lives and perceive our circumstances.

    Learn about How Self-Reflection Gives You a Happier and More Successful Life.

    Final Thoughts

    The main philosophy employed by the happiest includes the idea that life’s simply too short: life’s too short to let things get you down, to take things for granted, to pursue absolute and unrealistic perfection.

    For some, employing these characteristics is a second nature – they do it without knowing. For others, a conscious effort must be put forth every now and again. Self-Awareness is key.

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    Featured photo credit: Charles Postiaux via unsplash.com

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