How to Feel Better After a Breakup
Some experiences can completely break you apart. A prime example here is a relationship breakup, something that nearly all of us will have to face at one time or another. These are times in life when all the hopes and dreams you had with a person are dashed in an instant. But don’t despair! In this article, we’re going to bring you some ideas about how to feel better after a breakup.
In these difficult times, you may feel shipwrecked, not knowing where to go, how to get there, nor how on earth you could possibly feel better.
Each person is different, as are their relationships and how they live them out. Because of that, there’s no magic formula to overcome a breakup, and certainly not one that everyone can apply.
In this sense, you’ll have to go through the emotions that a breakup generates, and there’s no “remedy” for that. However, you can do some things to help you feel better or even to shorten this process.
“Big changes always come with a strong jolt. It’s not the end of the world. It’s the beginning of a new one.”
How to feel better after a breakup: five keys
There’s no single way to feel better when facing the end of a big part of your life – in this case, the end of a relationship. However, there are many things you can do to help you face this process healthily.
Experiencing a breakup usually marks a turning point in your life. However, it’s good to bear in mind that few people regret having to go through the process, simply because of how much they learn and the resilience it brings them.
Thus, here are five ideas that will help you go through the stages of grief after a breakup. There are, of course, many more, and the idea is to find your own way through it. Any path is a good one if it makes you feel better.
Allow yourself to express your emotions
The first key idea when it comes to feeling better after a breakup is to allow yourself to experience the wide range of emotions it’ll bring you. These include sadness, anger, fear, fury, frustration, and disappointment.
The first step is to accept that it’s hurting you and that the range of feelings and emotions that you’re experiencing is totally normal. Remember that all emotions have a purpose. Therefore, all of them are equally valid. Recognizing them and not repressing what you’re feeling will allow you to begin to manage the loss.
Give your emotions space
Following on from the previous point, the next idea we want to introduce is that of giving your emotions space. What does this mean? Well, in addition to allowing yourself to feel your emotions, you must give them space to develop. Let them come out when they need to, when the time is right.
For example, if you’re sad, don’t try to immediately find a thousand things to do, just so you don’t have to think about what happened. Stop, breathe deeply, and feel what your body is telling you.
Do you need to just stop doing everything? Do you need to breathe deeply or just cry? A good idea is to play a song that expresses what you’re feeling. This will help you to unburden yourself, free yourself, and, ultimately, to give space for your inner emotions to do their job.
Apply the no-contact rule
The no-contact rule is a very useful tool when you need to detach from the person who, until recently, was your partner. In fact, it’s an option that can help you almost immediately feel better after a breakup. But why is it useful?
The reason is that it allows you to get rid of all those secret hopes that, perhaps, the other person will contact you. These hopes only cause anxiety and frustration. By doing so, you’ll be able to face the new reality that this person is no longer in your life.
When you start a grieving process, you need to reconfigure and reorganize your life. You’ll need to start getting used to the loss and the absence as soon as possible.
Find times to unwind
Although venting your anger, expressing how you feel, and consciously facing your new reality are important, it’s also essential to look for ways that you can disconnect.
This implies looking for new goals and projects (something you’re passionate about, an old forgotten hobby, etc.). You need to learn how to fill your time. However, it shouldn’t just be any old thing; it should be something that motivates you in some way and keeps you “distracted”, even if it’s cleaning the house.
This doesn’t mean you’re running away from the situation or from the grief itself. It just means you’re giving yourself a little space, and “escaping” in some way. This is, in a way, a form of self-care and self-love.
The ideal way to feel better after a breakup is to combine the two facets: times to disconnect and other times to connect with what you’re feeling.
Looking after yourself
In relation to what we’ve just said, self-care is fundamental when facing a breakup. But what does self-care imply?
One important aspect is trying to get good sleep, respecting your routines and normal sleeping hours, eating well, resting, and giving yourself treats from time to time. In short, listening to what your body (and mind) needs at every moment, so that you can “be there” for it and supply its needs.
Why is it important to look after yourself? Because, in order to face something that has hurt you, you’ll have to be strong with high energy levels. Of course, moments of weakness will surely come, but you need to continue the learning process.
In addition to this, giving yourself self-love is a way to stop investing energy in, and focusing your attention on, the other person (your ex). You need to place yourself in the center of your life. This means prioritizing yourself and loving yourself. You deserve it!
What does science say about it?
We’ve seen five ways to feel better after a breakup, but what does science say about it? A study by Langeslag et al. (2018), published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, investigated three possible strategies for getting over a breakup:
- A negative reappraisal of your ex-partner (thinking bad things about them).
- A reappraisal of the feelings and love you have/had for your ex-partner.
- Distracting yourself with good thoughts that have nothing to do with your ex.
What did the study reveal? That all three strategies (though none of them are perfect) helped to reduce the participants’ emotional responses and feelings towards their ex-partners. Therefore, putting some of these strategies (or the ones we previously discussed) into practice may be a good starting point in order to help you cope with this situation.
“I believe that nothing happens by chance. Deep down, things have their own secret plan, even though we don’t understand it.”
-Carlos Ruiz Zafón-
- Colegio Oficial de la Psicología de Casilla-La Mancha. (s.f.). Psicología en la Vida Cotidiana. Cómo afrontar el duelo.
- Langeslag, S. J. E., & Sanchez, M. E. (2018). Down-regulation of love feelings after a romantic break-up: Self-report and electrophysiological data. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 147(5), 720–733.
- Pangrazzi, A. (1993). La pérdida de un ser querido. Madrid: Ediciones Paulinas.
- Pérez Sales, P. (2006). Trauma, culpa y duelo. Hacia una psicoterapia integradora. Desclée de Brouwer.