Heartbreak is a part of love, if not one of the strongest parts of love. It’s one of the only infinite parts of life. A broken heart has the power to prove just how resilient a person can be. Now, processing heartbreak itself is at times one of the most difficult situations one may overcome. The Seahawk has some ideas for anyone who may need assistance processing heartbreak.
1. Practice Mindfulness – Therapists, doctors and psychologists recommend mindfulness techniques as a treatment for anxiety. Mindfulness techniques include breathing skills such as deep breaths from the diaphragm or four by four breathing. Visualization is also a mindfulness technique and encourages the visualizer to mentally visit a place that makes them happy and calms them down. Practicing mindfulness allows you to focus on what is happening in the moment. It helps your mind be present. UNCW offers several mindfulness courses throughout the semester; more information can be found on wavelink.
2. Exercise – Perhaps you’d rather stay in bed curled up under a blanket with your favorite TV show, but trust that moving your body in some way will release hormones that will balance out the feelings of loss and sadness. Moving your body will cause dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in how humans experience pleasure, and serotonin (happy hormone) to course through your bloodstream. It will also make you feel stronger and give you a boost of confidence. Exercise acts as a distraction as well so your mind will be focused on something other than the way you’re feeling.
3. Take Time to Focus on You – Use this time to focus on YOU. You are the most important thing. Take care of your mental health. Eat all the chocolate you want. Do whatever makes you happy. Maybe journal every day to understand your difficult feelings. Reconnect with yourself to help you get through this difficult time. Even if you know you never lost sight of yourself, know that the strength within you will surprise you. Focus on what makes you who you are. Perhaps it’s your smile, your passion for sports, your passion for adventure, your poetry, the way you think or what you think about.
4. Spend Time with People in Your Life Who Love You – There are people in your life who will support you. You don’t have to go through it alone unless that works well for you, but know there are people who have been through the same thing you’re going through. They can help you, and more importantly they want to help you, but it’s up to you how much you decide to let those people in. If you don’t want to tell the whole story, don’t. It’s your story. Ask a friend to go to a movie or go out to dinner. Call a family member. They know you best and they want to help you. If they are older, it’s likely they’ve been through a similar situation; ask them how they got through it. Ask them anything you want to and really try to listen to their response. Distract yourself by keeping busy with your friends. Being alone may make you feel worse. Be careful, because distraction can override the healing process.
5. Focus on A New Project – Take this time to do something you’ve always wanted to do, but never had time. Make a website, take a trip by yourself or with friends, take pictures outside, start your own business. Maybe write a book or watch a YouTube video to learn something new. Research your favorite subject and learn something about it that you never knew.
6. Ask For Help – During this time, it is very possible that you may experience a range of emotions that can be difficult to work through on your own. Asking for help or talking to a counselor is a tool that may help you process and accept your heartbreak. Asking for help does not make you weak. Realizing you may need some help along the way proves that you are stronger than you think. So, seek the help you need. Speak to a counselor, your best friend, or your mom. No one ever said you must deal with everything on your own. There are resources available on campus through the UNCW counseling center, people who will listen and help you through.
7. Give Yourself Time to Heal – Healing takes time. Don’t rush the process and try not to be upset with yourself for still feeling the way you do. Give yourself a break and acknowledge that you are human and that it’s okay to feel the way you do. It’s difficult, but you must keep living your life; you can do it. Just stand up and start walking, and eventually walking will get a little easier. Healing doesn’t happen in a day or an hour or sometimes even a year. This is your time, and you must take care of you.
8. Distance Yourself from Whomever Broke Your Heart – The urge may be to reach out to whomever broke your heart or someone from your past who once knew you so well. You don’t need to cut them out of your life completely, unless you believe that it’s necessary to permanently separate yourself from this person, which is okay. If they were your best friend before, they could be your best friend again. But both of you need distance to heal old wounds so your friendship has a chance of working again. It is likely that you will miss them and want to reach out to them. Try not to do this for them and for you.