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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 January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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