Five steps to mend a broken heart

By Kara Byers April 5, 2016
heart break

This is exactly how to get over the person who broke your heart. 

Life can throw many challenges our way and there are few as trying and painful as mending a broken heart. Be it the unexpected collapse of a budding love affair or the drawn out, painful end to a long term relationship, the aftermath can leave you raw, hurting and disorientated.

Although it’s never easy, healing a broken heart is a vital step in the quest for finding lasting love. After all, the sooner you can put yourself back together, the sooner you can move on and find the right relationship. 

1. Let it ALL out

There's no way around this one, you’ve got to cry until your eyes hurt, punch a pillow and maybe even scream until you exhaust yourself. Listen to Sinead O'Connor’s cover of 'Nothing Compares 2 U', Madonna's 'Express Yourself' and Carly Simons' 'You're So Vain' on repeat, rant at your friends, buy ridiculous things…  Do what you have to do to let the feelings out. 

Cry 'til you can't cry no more

Relationship specialist and editorial director of A New Mode, Sabrina Alexis, advocates embracing the pain rather than avoiding it,

“When faced with such ugly emotions, most of us try to run away from the feelings,” she says. “We'll stay busy doing anything and everything, partying, drinking, finding a new guy to serve as a quick fix (hey, they say the best way to get over a guy is to get under another one!), overindulge on Ben & Jerry's and lapse into a food coma. While doing these things can temporarily alleviate the pain, it will come back with a vengeance. And it will continue to resurface until you deal with it.” 

2. Keep yourself occupied

Once you've acknowledged and dealt with your hurt/anger/sadness/pain you can throw yourself into other things to distract yourself from obsessing. Go on a shopping spree, make time to see your friends, binge watch something on Stan, try a new gym class, take a class… Anything! 

Girls' nights out fix everything

The more you dwell, the worse it will be. So do whatever you have to in order to keep yourself busy and your mind on anything other than the heartbreaker.

3. Stop living in the past

While staying occupied is a good offensive tactic to keep thoughts away from the breakup, it's not fool-proof. The second you have a quiet moment, your former lover will come right back to mind and before you know it, you’ll be playing out all the ways that things could have happened differently. Stop.  

Ask yourself: can you actually press a rewind button, go back, and do things differently? Of course you can’t, so be kind to yourself and just stop.

Never, ever text your ex

“Learning lessons through the pain is one thing, torturing yourself over all the ways you fell short is agony,” says Sabrina. “It won't be easy, but the second they pop into your head, pluck them out and stick something else in there!”

4. List your ex's cons

As perfect and rosy as everything may look in a rearview mirror, you broke up for a reason and chances are that your former relationship was less than ideal. If you catch yourself idealising then it’s time to embrace a cliché and make a list of your ex’s faults.

Make that list, check it twice

“Take the time to really think about each one, consider the implications and how that behavior impacted the relationship,” advises Sabrina.  “When you're done with this, make a list of the qualities you want in a future partner. When you see the disparities, you'll realize that the ex is not the one for you”. 

5. Focus on what you want from your next relationship

After you’ve completed the previous steps (the time it takes can vary from person to person), it's time for this treat of a heartbreak-healing exercise. 

A list will work magic

“Get yourself relaxed, turn off all electronic devices, and spend a minute or two breathing in and out.,” says Sabrina. “Once you're in a place of calm and focus, visualise what you want your next relationship to be like. Picture the way they treat you and how it makes you feel.” According to Sabrina, picturing yourself having that amazing, fun, fulfilling relationship you've always wanted and letting yourself those amazing, mushy feelings is the key to finding actually finding it. 

“’Seeing’ this future relationship will get you excited about what's up ahead for you and will make the future look much brighter than the past,” explains Sabrina. “Do this exercise as many times as needed to get you psyched for a future that doesn't include your ex.” 

You CAN get through this. You got it. 

Goodbye ex, you suck

And don’t forget:

  • You're not alone.  Many others have been heartbroken before you and emerged triumphant on the other side. 
  • You're not really upset about your ex - the sadness comes from your inherent desire to be loved, a desire shared by all humans.
  • Everything looks different depending on the context. Holding onto anger is restrictive. Try to see it from a more objective angle and you'll be in much better shape.