Dealing with a broken heart is never easy, and it can affect you both mentally and physically. Although there is no magic cure for heartbreak, there are some ways to make the healing process easier. We tell you all about it.
Grief comes in many forms, and loss is difficult to handle, whether it is a break-up, the death of a loved one, or a sudden bad turn in life’s circumstances. The pain of heartbreak can make you feel bleak and emotionally devastated. But it is not just your feelings that suffer when you have your heart broken. Grief and bereavement can also impact you physically.
Research has established connections between emotional pain and physical health. A study published in the Journal of Neurophysiology found that love activates your brain’s reward system and has similarities with addiction, while a research article from Psychoneuroendocrinology suggests that spousal bereavement leads to higher cardiovascular risk. In fact, Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, also known as the Broken Heart Syndrome, is a temporary condition that disrupts normal heart function and is caused by sudden stress like that of heartbreak.
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One of the most common ways of looking at grief is Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s five stages of grief model. According to this, a person processes their emotional pain associated with loss through the stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It is not a linear progression, and different people can experience it in different ways, but the end goal is to work through and heal from your broken heart.
How To Cope With Heartbreak
Accept and validate your feelings: The overwhelming surge of emotions in the wake of heartbreak tends to make us shut it all down and suppress painful feelings, but ignoring how you feel is not conducive to moving on. Allow yourself to experience the grief in order to process it. Know that your emotions are valid. Recognise what went wrong, and let yourself express your heartbreak. Be compassionate with yourself and give yourself time to heal.
Seek social support: According to Dr. C Manjula Rao, Clinical Psychologist, Apollo Health City, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad, “It is very important to seek social support at a time like this.” Human beings are social creatures, and in most crisis situations, a support system is essential for your well-being. Reach out to your close friends and family. Talk your feelings out or spend time in their company.
Distance yourself from your ex: When it comes to breakups in a romantic relationship, cutting off communication with your ex-partner is helpful for your mental peace. Block them on all social media sites, not out of anger, but in order to move on, and do not idealise past memories or gloss over the negatives. In his TED Talk on heartbreak, licensed psychologist and author Dr. Guy Winch says, “You have to recognise that as compelling as the urge is, with every trip down memory lane, every text you send, every second you spend stalking your ex on social media, you are just feeding your addiction, deepening your emotional pain and complicating your recovery”.
Pay attention to self-care: Invest time in taking care of yourself. Look after your health. Dr. Rao recommends, “Exercise is an important part. Heartbreak causes a lot of stress, and the only way to withstand this stress is through resilience. Channelling the emotional energy towards building up physical resilience is helpful”. Spend time engaging in self-care through activities like meditation, journaling, or pursuing hobbies that bring you joy. Be kind to yourself while you work through your heartbreak.
Seek help: If the pain feels too much to deal with on your own, the guidance of mental health experts can help. Do not be afraid to ask for professional help.
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