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How Taking Good Care Of Yourself Is The Best Cure For Heartbreak

How Taking Good Care Of Yourself Is The Best Cure For Heartbreak

You thought your relationship was going to last a lifetime. You fought long and hard but it still ended, and now you are left with a heart shattered in a million pieces.

Heartbreak pain is different than breaking a limb. It’s an invisible, continuous throbbing from the inside that no one else can truly understand because it’s intimately personal to you alone.

So rather than depending on others to help you, it’s a time in your life when you have to simply be your own best friend. I advise those I coach to take care of their own heart first. It’s one of the most important survival methods I learned when going through this experience myself.

Here are some must-do heartbreak cures that may help you through this difficult time:

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1. Put your heart in a cast as you would a broken arm

Give yourself time. Recognize that the very core of who you are, your heart, is broken and you must let it heal. Just as you wouldn’t go run a marathon on a broken leg, don’t think that your heart is ready to jump into another relationship immediately. A general guideline for healing is one year for every four you were committed. Purposely letting yourself do this may lessen that time.

2. Be patient with your up and down moments

When we go through a traumatic event, it’s normal to have emotions that bounce up and down. One moment you may feel as if you are getting better, only to have something happen that will trigger the blues again. Expect this. As you focus on healing, you will find the good moments extending longer and longer.

3. Feed yourself good food even if you don’t feel like eating

You are a well-oiled machine that needs fuel to operate at its maximum. Some nights you will cry and eat ice cream, but for the most part, do your best to put yourself on automatic pilot for meals and choose good food. Your brain needs this as it’s working overtime right now to keep you in balance.

4. Take mini adventures – find new places and ways of doing things

What you don’t need are a lot of reminders of your ex. So begin carving out some new habits and make it interesting. Shop at a grocery store you have hardly ever been to (you may find some new ideas for eating well). Take a new route to work. Eat at new restaurants, try a new coffee flavor. It can be fun and you may discover some eye-opening preferences you didn’t know you had.

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5. Allow yourself to work out your anger positively

I discovered the treadmill when I went through a breakup. It was amazing for pounding off frustration. An added benefit was that I found myself in the best shape of my life. I joined a small gym, so it was conducive to meeting many people who were in the same situation as I was. I made some good friends there. This was much better (and less humiliating) than drinking myself into oblivion and then having to recover from that as well.

6. Find a way to help yourself sleep

Breakups are often not compatible with sleeping the whole night through. After a couple of hours – if you can fall asleep – you jerk awake and the pain hits you in the stomach again as memories come crashing in. You need your sleep just as you need good food. So if you must go to a physician and ask for help, do that. If that treadmill helps exhaust you so you can rest, do that too. Your sleep patterns will get better as your heart heals.

7. Realize that you have been through a loss and you need to grieve

If you had lost your spouse to death, you would let yourself grieve. We don’t tend to view breakups the same way. Separation can be worse than a death as the one you loved still lives and breathes and may have the power to continue hurting you, or you might have to watch them with someone else. So realize that you are facing the death of your lost dreams, the comfort of the love you once had, and the future you thought you were going to have.

The same stages of grief will affect you: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Bouncing back and forth between these is normal. Be tender with yourself. Learn how to go through them and you will be amazed at the difference in your healing.

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8. Give yourself permission to do some wild and crazy things you wouldn’t have tried before

Whether or not you chose to leave your relationship, this has now become your opportunity to become more ‘you’ than you ever have before. So cross over the boundaries of your comfort zones and find some new experiences to try. Start with going out to a movie on a work night if you and your partner just didn’t do that. Try rock climbing. Learn to ski. Take swimming lessons. You will find yourself distracted and you may discover you have some interesting likes you didn’t know were part of who you are.

9. Become your own coach by starting a Strength Journal

In some way personal to you, celebrate what is working on this journey from heartbreak to happiness. I started what I called my “Strength Journal.” In it I would write quotes from books I read that helped me to stay positive. I would record insights I had and the results of personality tests I randomly took. It was a place for anything that made me feel stronger and revealed who I really was and where I wanted to go. Then, when I was feeling low, I would go back and review all these wonderful entries. It was the inspiration I often needed to keep going.

10. Revive your dreams

When you are consumed by the difficulty of a troubled relationship and then live through the shock of breaking up, your dreams are often what suffer. That is, if you were ever in touch with them in the first place. Again, this is your time. As you begin discovering who you are again, let your heart tell you what it is you have always wanted to do or to be.

Pain is amazing for drawing out the compassion in us if we let it. So as you heal, notice what your heart is saying. Did you always want to start a bed and breakfast? Do you have a yearning to protect the lost or innocent in some way?

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Start small and build from there. Would purchasing a particular piece of furniture to go in that exact spot give you a sense of individuality and peace? Begin saving. Work step by step toward where you want to go.

You will heal.

You will find your life again and it will be richer and deeper than before if you take care of your broken heart now.

Many have traveled this road. What other suggestions do you have that may help others going through this? Have you got any great heartbreak cures? Share them in the comments below.

Featured photo credit: Image credit: 123bogdan / 123RF Stock Photo via submit.123rf.com

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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