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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 May 17, 2019

    This Is What Happens When You Move Out Of the Comfort Zone

    This Is What Happens When You Move Out Of the Comfort Zone

    The pursuit of worthwhile goals is a part of what makes life enjoyable. Being able to set a goal, then see yourself progress towards achieving that goal is an amazing feeling.

    But do you know the biggest obstacle for most people trying to achieve their goals, the silent dream killer that stops people before they ever even get started? That obstacle is the comfort zone, and getting stuck there is bound to derail any efforts you make towards achieving the goals you’ve set for yourself.

    If you want to achieve those goals, you’ll have to break free from your comfort zone. Let’s take a look at how your life will change once you build up the courage to leave your comfort zone.

    What Is the Comfort Zone?

    The comfort zone is defined as “a behavioural state within which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviours to deliver a steady level of performance.”

    What stands out to me the most about that definition is the last part: “using a limited set of behaviours to deliver a steady level of performance.” How many successful people do you know who deliver a steady level of performance?

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    The goal in life is to continually challenge yourself, and continually improve yourself. And in order to do that, you have move out of your comfort zone. But once you do, your life will start to change in ways you could never have imagined. I know because it’s happening right now in my own life.

    Here’s what I’ve learned.

    1. You will be scared

    Leaving your comfort zone isn’t easy. In fact, in can be downright terrifying at times, and that’s okay. It’s perfectly normal to feel a little trepidation when you’re embarking on a journey that forces you to try new things.

    So don’t freak out or get overwhelmed when you feel yourself getting a little scared. It’s perfectly normal and all part of the process. What’s important is that you don’t let that fear hold you back. You must continue to take action in the face of fear.

    That’s what separates winners from losers.

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    2. You will fail

    Stepping out of your comfort zone means you’re moving into uncharted territory. You’re trying things that you’ve never tried before, and learning things you’ve never learned before.

    That steep learning curve means you’re not going to get everything right the first time, and you will eventually fail when you move out of your comfort zone. But as long as the failures aren’t catastrophic, it can actually be a good thing to fail because …

    3. You will learn

    Failure is the best teacher. I’ve learned more from each one of my failures than I have from each one of my successes. When you fail small, and fail often, you rapidly increase the rate at which you learn new insights and skills. And that new knowledge, if applied correctly, will eventually lead to your success.

    4. You will see yourself in a different way

    Once you move out of your comfort zone, you immediately prove to yourself that you’re capable of achieving more than you thought was possible. And that will change the way you see yourself.

    Moving forward, you’ll have more confidence in yourself whenever you step out of your comfort zone, and that increased confidence will make it more likely that you continue to step outside your comfort zone. And each time you do, you’ll prove to yourself again and again what you’re really capable of.

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    5. Your peers will see you in a different way

    Whether we want to admit or not, people judge other people. And right now, people view you in a certain way, and they have a certain idea of what you’re capable of. That’s because they’ve become accustomed to seeing you operate in your comfort zone.

    But once you move out of your comfort zone, you’ll prove to other people, as well, that you’re capable of much more than you’ve shown in the past.

    The increased confidence other people place in you will bring about more opportunities than ever before.

    6. Your comfort zone will expand

    The good thing about the comfort zone is that it’s flexible and malleable. With each action you take outside of your comfort zone, it expands. And once you master that new skill or action, it eventually becomes part of your comfort zone.

    This is great news for you because it means that you can constantly increase and improve upon the behaviors that you’re comfortable with. And the more tools and skills you have at your disposal, the easier it will be to achieve your goals.

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    7. You will increase your concentration and focus

    When you’re living inside of your comfort zone, the bulk of your actions are habitual: automatic, subconscious, and requiring limited focus.

    But once you move out of your comfort zone, you no longer rely on those habitual responses. You’re forced to concentrate and focus on the new action in a way you never do in your comfort zone.

    8. You will develop new skills

    Moving out of your comfort zone requires that you develop new skills. One of the many benefits you’ll experience is that you’ll be stepping away from the “limited set of behaviors” and start to develop your ability and expertise in new areas.

    Living inside of your comfort zone only requires a limited skill set, and those skills won’t contribute much to your success. Once you can confidently step outside of your comfort zone and learn a new skill, there’s no limit to how much you can achieve.

    9. You will achieve more than before

    With everything that happens once you move out of your comfort zone, you’re naturally going to achieve more than ever before.

    Your increased concentration and focus will help you develop new skills. Those new skills will change the way you see yourself, encouraging you to step even further out of your comfort zone.

    Featured photo credit: Josef Grunig via farm3.staticflickr.com

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