Breakups can be a very painful and overwhelming phase of life. Breakups can make you feel like you have lost touch with yourself, leaving you feeling very lonely. It can leave your mental health devastated. It is sometimes very challenging to navigate our thoughts, emotions, and behavior when certain factors appear to be out of control. Every individual processes a breakup in their own way, depending on their own subjective experiences.
In this article, we will look at ways to help ourselves deal, with and navigate through the complex emotional roller coaster during a breakup, in a healthy manner.
Post-breakup, It is normal to experience thoughts of missing the person you were with. As you have spent intense emotional and positive experiences with that person. Predictably, you will miss them and think about them a lot. Allow yourself to grieve over the person you loved, as they were a big part of your life.
Also allow the wave of emotions that come with the breakup like sadness, anger, and confusion. The very first phase of the breakup i.e. accepting that the person is gone, is often the most challenging one. It evokes a lot of intense feelings of grief like rejection, hurt, self-doubt, anger, temptation, emptiness, and loneliness.
Identifying and acknowledging the feelings is important rather than fighting with them. While these emotions can feel painful enough, suppressing or ignoring the feelings can prolong the whole grieving process.
Mindfulness is a powerful tool to navigate these intense emotional states while grieving over loss. Involves being present at the moment and observing thoughts and feelings without any judgment.
The practice of mindfulness cultivates a sense of acceptance and self-compassion. The core of the mindfulness technique is that while thoughts arise in your conscious awareness. Instead of neglecting or getting caught up in them (dwelling).
Mindfulness practice has shown to be a great skill when practiced over time to build emotional intelligence, as it helps you engage in self-acceptance and self-regulation.
Challenging our extreme thought patterns
We may find ourselves engaged in thoughts like, “he/she was the best/perfect” reflecting that your ex was the best/perfect person in the world, which may be quite inaccurate. Your ex probably was a human being pertaining both positive and negative qualities. Instead, replace a thought saying “My ex meant a lot to me at one point in my life, although he/she wasn’t the best/worst person”. This could allow thoughts to be grounded in reality and truthful understanding.
Expression of your thoughts and feelings can help. Calling a friend, or talking to a family member can help with feeling less alone in the process when things feel intolerable. Building connections with people means building resources. You may also reconnect with old friends that you lost touch with. It is a great way of relieving the stress of a breakup and regaining balance in life. Writing in a journal can also be a helpful technique to process and let go of certain feelings.
Reconnecting with self
What are your hobbies? What are your interests? Schedule a time in your daily routine to practice one of your hobbies, e.g. dancing, learning a new musical instrument, going to the gym, engaging in a sport, etc. It is a way of nurturing yourself and focusing on healing. A breakup can make you vulnerable. It may disrupt almost every area of your life which may amplify the feelings of stress and uncertainty.
At the same time, you must indulge in some self-pampering to heal from the damage. The post-breakup phase can look like a continuous cycle involving moments of crying, healing, and laughing. Know that each day you are learning to heal from yesterday, and that every day counts as a novel experience.
Sublimation is a psychological concept, also known as a coping mechanism to handle difficult emotions in a healthier and socially appropriate way. It involves channeling or redirecting our energy, urges, and emotions into a productive way. For example, going to the gym and exercising to channel the mixed emotions of anger, sadness, and frustration instead of letting the emotions consume.
During the workouts, one pushes themselves physically to help release the emotional tension they are facing. Physical exertion allowed them to let go of the intense emotions.
Whilst a breakup leaves you behind experiencing so many negative emotions, you must divert your attention to positive experiences too, to stabilize and bring yourself to a neutral state.
Engaging in tasks that you are passionate about can help you cultivate positive experiences. It can help you find moments of joy and purpose. The act of cultivating positive experiences will also help you regain confidence and a sense of control over your life and actions. You won’t feel as dependent on someone anymore, for your happiness and wellbeing.
Focus on other aspects of life. While your love life seems to look like a house lit on fire, prioritizing time and effort for other aspects of your life like your career, and spending time with friends and family, your hobbies can add up to benefit you long term. Shifting your attention towards things that you wanted to do for a long time.