What to Do When Going Through a Breakup

You're going through a breakup and the emotional toll is heavy. But believe it or not, this difficult time can also serve as a catalyst for profound personal growth. This article is your roadmap, designed to guide you through each challenging twist and turn. Are you ready to take the first step toward healing and empowerment? Let's get started.

    What Happens to the Mind & Body During a Breakup

    Going through a breakup isn't merely an emotional ordeal; it's a psychological and physiological tidal wave. This upheaval reverberates through your entire being, and it's worth understanding how. Here are some of the pronounced impacts on the mind and body:

    • Reduced Dopamine and Oxytocin Levels: Dopamine is often dubbed the "pleasure chemical," and oxytocin is known as the "love hormone." When a relationship ends, the production of these chemicals drops, which can lead to feelings of sadness, depression, and even symptoms resembling withdrawal. These shifts impact not just your mood but also your overall emotional well-being.
    • Increased Cortisol Levels: Cortisol, the "stress hormone," can skyrocket during a breakup. Elevated cortisol levels can wreak havoc on your physical state, causing sleep issues, changes in appetite, weight fluctuations, and even affecting your immune system.
    • Cognitive Dissonance: This psychological phenomenon is the tension you feel when holding two conflicting beliefs simultaneously—such as wanting to move on but still loving your ex. This dissonance can be emotionally draining and cause mental fatigue.
    • Body Aches and Pains: Believe it or not, emotional pain can manifest physically. It's not uncommon to feel tightness in your chest, stomach issues, or even generalized body aches when you're going through a breakup.
    • Attention and Memory: Stress and emotional turmoil can hijack your cognitive functions. You might find it challenging to focus, remember things, or even make decisions. It's not just your emotional self that's compromised; your cognitive abilities take a hit too.

    By understanding the holistic impact of a breakup, you'll be better equipped to address each symptom with targeted solutions. You're not merely "being emotional"; your entire being—mind and body—is adapting to a significant life change. This article is designed to guide you, step-by-step, through this multi-layered and often confusing period, steering you not just towards recovery but towards personal growth and empowerment.

    What to Do When Going Through a Breakup

    Step 1: Allow Yourself to Feel

    You might be tempted to bottle up your emotions or put on a brave face, especially considering the whirlwind of neurotransmitter activity and physiological changes you're experiencing. While it's a natural reaction to want to appear strong, it's crucial to give yourself permission to feel your feelings fully.

    Ignoring or suppressing emotions doesn't make them go away; it merely pushes them into the recesses of your subconscious mind. Over time, these unaddressed feelings can manifest as anxiety, depression, or even physical ailments—remember the heightened cortisol levels and body aches we talked about earlier?

    Allowing yourself to feel is the first step toward healing. This can be done in several ways:

    • Journaling: Writing down what you're going through can be a cathartic release and offers you a chance to confront your feelings head-on.
    • Talking to Trusted Individuals: Sometimes, discussing your feelings with a close friend or family member can provide new insights or at least give you a sense of being heard.
    • Professional Guidance: If the emotional burden feels too heavy, never hesitate to seek professional help. Therapists can provide coping mechanisms tailored specifically for you.
    • Mindfulness Practices: Engaging in mindfulness can help you become an observer of your thoughts, making it easier to detach from the emotional intensity and see things more clearly.

    The key here is to actively engage with your emotions in a constructive way, making it easier to move on to the next steps of healing and personal growth.

    Step 2: Initiate No Contact

    You've given yourself permission to feel, and that's a significant first move. But while understanding and confronting your emotions is crucial, it's equally important to give yourself the space to heal. This often means initiating a period of no contact with your ex.

    Remaining in touch or stalking them on social media will likely perpetuate your emotional turmoil. Every message or post becomes a stimulus, affecting your dopamine and cortisol levels and effectively resetting your emotional clock.

    So why is no contact so beneficial?

    • Emotional Detox: By cutting off direct lines of communication, you're removing the triggers that could set you back emotionally.
    • Breaking the Habit Loop: Relationships can be habit-forming, especially when you're used to constant communication. The no contact rule helps break that habit, giving your brain a chance to adjust.
    • Personal Growth: This period also allows you to focus on yourself. With the emotional and psychological space gained, you can better engage in self-care and reflection, two critical aspects of healing.
    • Objectivity: Over time, distance provides perspective. With emotional and physical space, you can evaluate the relationship and your feelings more objectively, making it easier to plan your next steps.

    Implementing the no-contact rule isn't just about separating yourself from someone else; it's about reclaiming your mental and emotional space. This can be a challenging but necessary step to reset, recalibrate, and prepare for the future.

    Step 3: Identify and Challenge Your Thought Patterns (and Understand Your Attachment Style)

    After giving yourself the emotional room to feel and initiating no contact, you might find yourself still tangled in thoughts that are neither helpful nor necessarily true. Alongside these thoughts, your attachment style could be playing a significant role in how you're coping with the breakup.

    Attachment styles, formed early in life, influence how you relate to others and can categorize you as secure, anxious, avoidant, or disorganized. Recognizing your attachment style can shed light on your behaviors and emotional responses during this challenging time. Here's how:

    • Secure Attachment: If you identify with a secure attachment style, you likely have a healthier coping mechanism but might still find yourself questioning your worth or struggling with loneliness.
    • Anxious Attachment: Those with anxious attachment styles may find breakups particularly harrowing, causing incessant worrying and fear of abandonment. Your thought patterns might revolve around what you could have done differently or how to win your ex back.
    • Avoidant Attachment: If you're avoidant, you may be suppressing your emotions and leaning towards isolation as a form of self-protection, masking deeper insecurities or fears.
    • Disorganized Attachment: A mix of anxious and avoidant, disorganized types might experience a tumultuous range of emotions and thought patterns, finding it especially difficult to find a 'baseline' emotional state.

    By recognizing your attachment style, you can tailor your approach to mental restructuring:

    • Self-Awareness: Understanding both your thought patterns and your attachment style grants you deeper self-insight, arming you with the tools to approach your emotional healing more effectively.
    • Cognitive Restructuring: With this newfound understanding, you can reframe not only your thoughts but also your emotional responses in line with your attachment style, making your coping strategies more effective.
    • Reduced Anxiety and Stress: Changing these thought patterns and understanding your attachment tendencies can lead to physiological benefits, like reduced stress and anxiety, contributing to your overall well-being.
    • Preparation for Future Relationships: A clearer understanding of your attachment style and thought patterns doesn't only facilitate healing but also equips you for healthier future relationships.

    Your attachment style, coupled with the stories you tell yourself, has a significant influence on your post-breakup journey. Understanding both can be transformative in shaping how you move forward.

    Step 4: Invest in Self-Care and Personal Development

    At this point, you've navigated some of the more psychologically intricate aspects of a breakup—emotional acknowledgment, no-contact initiation, and challenging thought patterns coupled with attachment styles. While all these steps are geared towards emotional and psychological healing, it's crucial to also focus on tangible actions. This is where self-care and personal development come into play.

    This step is not about distraction but about conscious enhancement. You're not just "keeping busy"; you're investing time and energy into becoming a better version of yourself. Here's how you can do it:

    • Physical Well-being: Exercise is not just good for the body; it's a powerhouse for mental well-being. Physical activities like jogging, yoga, or even dancing can help regulate those cortisol levels and increase endorphins, the body's natural mood lifters.
    • Skill Acquisition: Ever wanted to learn how to cook, code, or speak another language? Now is the perfect time to dive into something new. Acquiring a new skill can be incredibly empowering and offers a constructive way to channel your energies.
    • Social Support: Reconnecting with friends and family can provide emotional sustenance. While your first inclination might be to withdraw, remember that social support is crucial for psychological well-being.
    • Mindfulness and Meditation: You've already been observing your thoughts, so take it a step further by incorporating mindfulness or meditation into your routine. These practices can improve your mental clarity and emotional control.
    • Therapeutic Aids: Considering your psychological state, don't overlook the power of therapeutic tools. Whether it's journaling, self-help books, or professional counseling, find what resonates with you and incorporate it into your self-care regimen.

    Investing in self-care and personal development is more than just a filler activity; it's a proactive approach to enhance your quality of life. It elevates you above the immediate emotional aftermath of the breakup and helps in long-term healing and growth.

    Final Thoughts

    You've allowed yourself to feel, initiated no contact, scrutinized and altered your thought patterns, and even integrated an understanding of your attachment style into your healing process. On top of that, you've invested time and effort into self-care and personal growth. That's commendable progress, but it's essential to remember that healing is a journey, not a destination.

    While it's tempting to seek a fixed endpoint for your emotional upheaval, the reality is that the human psyche is far more complex. Healing takes time and the journey is nonlinear. You might have good days and bad days, and that's perfectly normal. But what's important is the trajectory you set for yourself.

    So, what should you focus on as you move forward?

    • Be Patient: Healing isn't a race. Give yourself the time and space to grow at your own pace.
    • Be Kind to Yourself: Self-compassion is invaluable. Recognize that it's human to feel, to err, and to hurt. Celebrate your small victories and don't beat yourself up for setbacks.
    • Seek Continued Support: Whether it's friends, family, or professionals, a support system can be a pillar of strength and guidance.
    • Keep Learning: Your experiences, as painful as they may be, offer a rich resource for personal growth and self-understanding. Keep exploring, reading, and engaging in practices that foster your psychological and emotional well-being.

    You've already taken significant steps to navigate the complex emotional and psychological landscape of a breakup. As you continue on this path, each step, even the challenging ones, contributes to your personal narrative of resilience, growth, and eventual happiness. Embrace the journey; you're preparing for a more emotionally intelligent and fulfilling future.

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    Author Bio

    Just a journalist who fell into spiritual practice by accident. I wanted to share the lessons I've learnt in a cool place and write in a way that appeals to all generations. I cover all things spirituality with a special interest in pop culture trends.