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How to Overcome an Awful Breakup

by Kristen Moutria, studioD

Overcoming an awful breakup is one of the most painful things you will likely experience. According to a 2011 study conducted by the National Academy of Sciences, being socially rejected activates the same region of the brain as physical pain. You grow so attached to your mate that you share your vulnerabilities with him, and seeing him go can feel like he is taking a piece of you with him. However, there are a few steps you can take that will help you get over the pain and leave you feeling happy and confident about being single.

Face Your Pain

Susan Piver says in her book "The Wisdom of a Broken Heart" that facing your heartbreak is essential if you want to be able to love again. You may do so by writing in your journal and being honest about the pain you are experiencing. You may also listen to a sad song that you feel you can relate to. If you choose to ignore the sadness that is threatening to overwhelm you, you delay the healing that comes with being honest with yourself. Furthermore, shutting off your emotions will keep you from developing close bonds with others who want your whole heart, not just a part of it. It may be scary at first, but facing the way you feel will speed up your recovery and allow you to be yourself again.

Take Care of Your Body

Take care of yourself physically in order to help yourself feel better emotionally. Psychologist Diana Kirschner suggests in a 2009 "Psychology Today" article that spending some time at the gym following a breakup can make you feel better because working out releases chemicals in the body that cause you to experience feelings of happiness. Kirschner also emphasizes the value of meditation and sleep in order to calm your mind and restore your body.

Have a One-Sided Conversation

Have an imaginary conversation with your ex, making sure to be honest about all the pain she put you through and why you are glad to be out of the relationship. Kirschner reports that people who have make-believe conversations with their exes have more relief from grief than people who do not. Outline everything your ex did that hurt you, as well as everything about her that you never liked. Let your pent-up issues with your ex come flowing out, and find relief in the fact that you never have to deal with them again.

Relish the Benefits

Enjoy the pros that being single offers. Rick Nauert, Ph.D., states in a 2007 "PsychCentral" article that people often overestimate the amount of time recovering from a broken heart will take, while simultaneously forgetting the good outcomes that follow it, such as being single. It may be difficult to imagine right now, but being single will be something you will come to enjoy soon after your heart has mended. When that time comes, relish the benefits of your freedom and enjoy every moment that comes with meeting new people.


  • How to Heal After Heartbreak: How to Recover from a Breakup and Get Your Hopes and Dreams Back; Chris Gottschalk

About the Author

Kristen Moutria has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Evangel University. She is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in education from the University of Nebraska.

Photo Credits

  • George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images