Scientifically-Backed Ways To Get Over A Breakup
I think we can all agree that breakups are some of the absolute worst things we go through. I cannot even think of a time in my life when I was more devastated than I was during breakups. So, the question of how to get over a breakup is an important one. When you're that desperate to feel just a little less awful, you'll try anything.
Before you jump to remedies for your heartbreak, though, let yourself feel it, says psychotherapist Barbara Neitlich, LCSW. "Grieve the loss, cry, and get angry. Yell and stomp around, eat too much ice cream, and call your best girlfriends over for support. Be in the moment and feel the pain," she tells Bustle. We often get caught up on how to move on or get the person back, which can distract us from healing.
"By being particularly focused either in the past, trying to figure out or rationalize what happened, or in the future with some type of plan of getting [them] back or getting some type of revenge, women fill up the space in their mind and never leave room to truly grieve the loss," says Neitlich.
Once that's taken care of, here are a few scientifically proven ways you can get over a breakup faster.
1. Write About It
While studies on the effects of journaling during breakups have had mixed results, one type of writing does seem to work, according to a study in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships: creating a "redemptive narrative." This means you reframe the breakup as something positive. Maybe it taught you about yourself or gave you more freedom or opened up the chance to find someone even better. One person in the study wrote, for example, "'I am really sad that we broke up, but maybe it's for the best. I am better off without somebody who doesn't treat me right."
2. Resist The Social Media Stalking
You probably don't need me to tell you that Facebook-stalking your ex makes you feel worse, but in case you needed an extra push to step away from your computer, science really does back this up. A study in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking found that people who give in to this temptation have more negative feelings about their exes, miss them more, and feel more distress over the breakup. Think about that next time you're about to click on their newsfeed.
3. Talk About It
Whether with a therapist or your friends, analyzing what happened and what you learned from it can help you work through negative feelings associated with a breakup. A study in Social Psychological and Personality Science found that people who underwent interviews after their breakups felt less lonely and distressed than those who simply filled out surveys. Study author Grace Larson told The Huffington Post that this process helps you separate your identity from the relationship.
4. Remember Who You Are
Another study in Personal Relationships confirms that re-discovering yourself after a breakup is key. People who defined themselves in terms of their relationships had a harder time recovering from their demise. So, whether it's by spending time with your friends, exploring your hobbies, or throwing yourself into your work, take some time to remember your life is awesome and whole without anyone else.
You still may not feel like yourself again for a while, and unfortunately, that's probably a reality you have to accept, says Neitlich. "Actually feeling the feelings and moving through your emotions is the only REAL way to begin to heal after a breakup." But one day, you'll look back on this relationship and its demise as a blessing in disguise, because it'll help you find something even better.