How to Heal a Broken Heart
Going through heartbreak can feel like being underwater when you need to breathe. We build our lives with someone we trust and care for, and then, in the blink of an eye, it’s all gone. This can leave people with sorrow, anger, and some serious questions — about ourselves and the future. If you’re dealing with heartbreak and want to heal, try these suggestions to find the new you.
1. Give yourself some me time.
You’ve probably been in a relationship for a while, or maybe you’ve been thinking about that person non-stop for months. Now is the time to take a step back, look at your life, and move on to the next challenge. Everyone falls down. It’s how you get back up that defines you.
- Take a weekend to do whatever it is you love most. Whether it’s surfing, hiking, cooking, or simply being around your friends, use the opportunity to surround yourself with happy people and do the things that make you happy.
- Start a journal to record how you feel. Writing things down can be a powerful release. It’s called “catharsis,” where you purify your mind through expression. Write about whatever you want to write about. You’ll feel a lot better after you do.
- Don’t be afraid to feel sad. It’s normal to feel sad. Don’t feel inferior or stupid if you cry or get upset — these things are normal. Going through grief is just another step along the path to recovery. Let yourself grieve.
2. Remove all the memories of the person from your everyday life.
You’re not trying to pretend like the person never existed, just temporarily forget how much they meant to you and how they broke your heart.
- Go through your room and remove all pictures of, letters from, references to the person you’re trying to stop obsessing over. If you have a journal in which you write about the person, begin a completely new one. It’s a symbolic new beginning, but an important one.
- Removing is different from destroying. Don’t burn or destroy any objects associated with the person, unless you’re sure that you never want them to be any part of your life in the future. When you’re old and completely in love with someone who loves you just as much back, the memories will be a record of all that you went through to get to where you are now.
3. Disconnect the person from all the social networks you use.
Nowadays, we have our regular lives and our online lives. Unsubscribe from the person on Facebook, unfollow them on Twitter, and work so that your online network doesn’t remind you of the person who broke your heart.
If you feel like writing them, create a fake email account (for example, a Gmail account) and send the emails to that account. That way you can put all your hurt and pain into words and get it off your chest, but there is no chance your ex will actually see it.
4. Exercise and eat right.
Go the gym or get outside and sweat. Physical activity increases the amount of serotonin in the brain, which acts like a natural antidepressant, improving your mood. It’s okay to eat ice cream and milkshakes every once in a while (who doesn’t do that?!) but it’s best to continue to eat a diet rich in fruits and veggies, lean protein, whole grains, and water. These will not only make you look fantastic, but feel fantastic as well.
5. Try not to be in the same place as the person, if possible.
This is hard to do, obviously: The other person has probably been an important part of your life for some time, and your body and brain are used to having them around. But giving the other person up, like cold turkey, is a good way to tell your body and mind that there are plenty of other people in the world who deserve your attention. Why not give them a chance?
- If you go to school with the person, avoid the person as much as possible. Don’t sit with them at lunch; don’t participate in the same voluntary projects. Take the classes that you finally want to take. As much as possible, make yourself scarce when that person is around.
- Don’t put yourself in situations where you could bump into one another. You know what places the person goes to because you used to shared love. If the person loves going to the gym early Saturday, only go during the weekday. If the person loves going to the local farmer’s market, try to go really late or early if you have to go. (Best would be to avoid altogether.)
- Be courteous if/when you bump into the person. There’s no use being mean, angry, boastful if you run into the person. Say “hi” the way you would to a friend, have a short, impersonal chat, and say goodbye. The best payback that you can give the other person is to live a full, happy, meaningful life without them.
6. Stay optimistic.
This is easier said than done, but whenever you feel yourself being overly negative, dwelling on the past, or just looking at the glass as half-empty, try to snap out of it. Remind yourself of everything you have and how lucky you are.
Smile as much as possible. It’ll help you feel better and look great. Watch funny movies, read funny books, or hang with funny friends.
1. Figure out what went wrong in your relationship.
Every relationship has its strengths and weaknesses. Figure out what went wrong in your relationship, or what wasn’t so great about the other person. This way you can grow in the future, or look for better traits in your next partner. There are a bunch of things that can normally go wrong in a relationship, but here are just a few:
- I never felt loved/I always felt put down. A relationship is all about love, and if you didn’t feel that in the relationship, that’s a big problem. Your partner doesn’t have to show love the same way that you do, but they should be able to show it somehow. It’s the least you deserve.
- I felt manipulated/used/lied to. Honesty and honest intentions should be a cornerstone of every relationship. True love is doing something for someone else without expecting anything back. Someone who manipulates, uses, or lies is only really looking out for themselves, not you.
- The love just wore off after a little while. The early part of a relationship, when you fall for one another, is when you’re infatuated. This means you’re completely carried away with the person, mainly because they’re new. After a while, this feeling naturally wears off for some. If the other person is no longer in love with you, try to feel lucky for the time you did have.
- I was cheated on. Trust is huge ingredient in a relationship. If you don’t have trust, you’re constantly second-guessing yourself or feeling jealous. If your partner cheated on you, that trust is probably gone. Let someone earn your trust in the future, and pay them back in kind.
2. Don’t obsess over whose fault it was.
You probably have room for growing, too, so try not to pin all the blame on just the other person. Focus on the issues, not the actors.
For example, if you were part of a manipulative relationship, don’t just say “S/he manipulated me and I didn’t deserve that.” Instead, tell yourself, “I’m not going to let someone manipulate me the way this person did because I’m going to look out for all the signs in the future.”
There are probably some things you wish you could change or take back. Focus on fixing those issues for your next relationship. It will give you extra motivation.
3. Learn from your mistakes.
Everyone makes mistakes. It’s how you learn from them that defines you as a person. Learn from what went wrong in your last relationship — what caused you to be heartbroken — and make sure that doesn’t happen in the future.
4. Once you’re ready, forgive the other person.
Forgiveness is an important part of healing your broken heart. In order to move on, you need to forgive the other person, or you’ll constantly be thinking about them or wondering why they hurt you.
- Forgiveness doesn’t happen overnight. It can take a long time to be able to forgive someone, so be sure you’re actually ready to forgive. Usually, finding someone who truly loves you is a great way to forgive the other person.
- How do you forgive someone? Recognize that everyone makes mistakes. Try to find their intentions, and understand why they were doing what they did. Try putting yourself in their shoes. You don’t have to come up with an answer, but try to come up with an idea.
- You don’t have to tell the other person you forgive them, but it helps. You can forgive them silently in your heart, if that’s the way you want to do it. But you may want to have a friendship with them in the future; telling them you forgive them will make that friendship easier.
5. Don’t argue with the other person.
Sometimes you give the other person a chance to speak their mind, or to talk about an issue that went wrong. We do this to get closure. If you are discussing things with the person who broke your heart, be a little guarded and don’t let the conversation turn into an argument.
- If the person tries to defend what happened in the relationship and gets angry, you can say: “I didn’t come here to argue. I respect you as a person and your opinions, but the time for arguing has passed. If we’re going to continue to talk, let’s talk like adults or not talk at all.”
- Don’t let the other person manipulate you. The other person might try to get you angry or provoke you with something hurtful or mean. Don’t give them the satisfaction of letting it hurt you. Stay calm, collected, and serene.
1. Lean on your friends.
Your friends are there to help you, to comfort you when you’re feeling bad, and inspire you to feel good. Deep down, your friends love you. It’s not unreasonable to lean on your friends as you deal with a broken heart. They’re maybe the ones who will help you out of it.
- Do everyday activities with your plans. Plan a movie night by buying tickets in advance. Go to the zoo, to the beach, or out to dinner. Remember the fun you used to have doing all the silly things. Try to recapture that part of your life.
- Have a talk with your best friend about your heartbreak. Confide in them. Give yourself a chance to vent to someone who completely has your back. You’ll feel a whole lot better.
2. Channel your energy into new activities.
What we miss when a relationship ends is that we can’t express our love anymore. We can’t express our excitement to someone who’s interested because they’re interested in you. You can continue this form of heartfelt expression, however, by writing poetry, painting, singing, dancing, etc. Do whatever it takes to allow you to transform your pain into something productive!
- Pick up a new skill. Try doing something you know little about, so it forces you to engage in the world in a different way. Try glass-blowing, ceramics, a new instrument, or cave diving. Be adventurous and open to new possibilities.
- Volunteer. Learn to give back to your community, however big or small it is. Volunteering will help you see the real impact you have on people’s lives, and should show you how fortunate you are to have everything you do.
3. Go on a trip.
It doesn’t need to be far, but it should be far enough to give you a little bit of perspective. The world is such a big, beautiful place; you should take advantage of it. Bring some camping supplies or bunk it with that friend you haven’t seen in a while. A little bit of distance can do wonders for your broken heart.
4. Tap your imagination.
Nothing makes getting over a broken heart harder than feeling trapped. And it may be cheesy or cliché, but your imagination will let you go places you’ve never been and experience things you might never see. Use it. You’ll feel better.
- Read a book every night before you go to sleep. You might never have read books, but nothing moves you outside of yourself better than a book. It will help you heal.
- Fantasize about your future. Leave the person who broke your heart out of it. Fantasize about your career, your home, your family, your travels. You should feel inspired to realize them. Focus on the potential of the good.
- Stretch your goals. Your goals will give you motivation to get off your butt and do something. Ask yourself, what are my goals? If you don’t have any, make some. Be ambitious and shoot for the stars. You won’t regret failing, but you will regret not trying.
5. Once you feel ready, start dating other people again.
After two or three months, many people feel ready to date again. Be sure you’ve fixed some of the issues you had in your previous relation, and try not to make the same mistake twice!
- If you’re not ready to jump back into a serious relationship, tell the person you’re dating that you just got out of a relationship and want to take things slow. Hopefully, the person understands. If they don’t, they’re not a good fit for you.
- Don’t look for perfection right away. A lot of times, we keep ourselves from entering into relationships because we want to find the perfect man/woman. If you’re looking for Mr./Ms. Perfect, you won’t have much luck. Look for someone who’s kind, sharing, funny, smart, and relatable. The rest will take care of itself.
- Don’t be afraid to love. You have to open yourself up to possible heartbreak if you want to love again. But it’s worth it. The love wouldn’t mean as much if it didn’t hurt when it is ripped away. Give your heart to the right person and they’ll reward you infinitely.
6. Remember the two-year rule.
It takes two years to learn a new job, two years to get accustomed to a new town, and two years to completely heal a broken heart. If you expect to be completely healed in a day after a three-year relationship, you could be sorely disappointed. Real results are obtainable when realistic expectations are set.