a woman sitting on a dock looking out at the water.

How to Deal With A Breakup

Rachel Sharpe

There are two ways to deal with a breakup: the healthy way and the unhealthy way. The unhealthy way to deal with a breakup is by calling your ex, stalking their profiles, and believing you’ll get back together if you change yourself. And honestly, you should never compromise yourself for another person because there’s someone out there looking for someone exactly like you as you are. The healthy way to handle a breakup is to take care of yourself, develop good habits, and rediscover who you are. In this article, we’re going to help you learn the healthy method of how to deal with a breakup so you can go through the healing process, move on, and find love again.

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How to Deal With A Breakup: 13 Ways to Get Over an Ex

1. Turn Off Negative Thoughts

Woman lost in thought

The number one villain in a breakup is actually in your own head: your thoughts. Your thoughts can take this breakup and turn it into a wonderful experience… or a horrible one. This might be exactly what you needed in life to help you find someone more compatible with you. Or, and more commonly, your negative thoughts will cause you to unravel. You’ll start asking yourself, “What is wrong with me?” and spiral down a path that puts you in a depressed, anxious, or angry state.

Fortunately, the ability to turn off your thoughts can be taught through guided meditation. You can try a guided meditation for heartbreak or any emotion you’re feeling to help you cope with this unfortunate experience. You can download the meditation app Declutter The Mind to help you learn how to stay calm, in control of your thoughts, accept the breakup, and let go of the relationship.

2. Take Care Of Yourself

We’ve all seen the stereotype of a person eating a bucket of ice cream following a breakup. In the short-term that might make you feel a bit better because ice cream is sugary goodness (and a serotonin boost). But long-term, it doesn’t help. Too much sugar will only make you crash. You don’t need a short-term fix to solve a permanent problem. This breakup is real. And you’re going to be feeling unpleasant for a few weeks. So, and I know you’re probably dreading this, but you’re going to need to take care of yourself. That means exercising the sadness away when you feel like hiding in bed. It also means eating healthy meals as much as you can. It means making sure you take a shower every night or every morning because showers are really powerful at minimizing depression.

3. Manage your mental health

Most of the problems people have in their relationship has to do with their most important organ: their brain. Brain scans are sometimes done, at Amen Clinics, to help couples work through their problems when incompatibility issues arise that the couple can’t fix in therapy. You might think you have good mental health while a brain scan may actually show issues. For instance, a person who repeats the same stories over repeatedly typically has a problem with their anterior cingulate gyrus. A person who has violent tendencies usually has issues with their temporal lobe. A person who seems to not pay attention often has underlying ADD and issues with their pre-frontal cortex. So, problems are usually mental health related when there’s conflict in a relationship. Getting a brain scan after a break up can help prevent problems with future relationships.

4. Focus On Your Long Term Happiness

how to deal with a breakup

Following a breakup, many couples temporarily hook up with their ex because they feel lonely. I know you might be thinking to yourself that this might be how you win them back, but it’s only how you’ll hurt yourself for many more months.

You can’t keep running back to someone who doesn’t want to be with you or who you don’t really want to be with. Yes, there’ll be times when you want to be cuddled or want to tell your ex about how you finally landed that promotion. But is occasionally running back to your ex going to make you happy long term? Before you start telling yourself stories of friends who got back together with their ex and ended up marrying, remember you don’t have the full context. Maybe they’re married, but maybe they’re both miserable in private. Maybe their breakup was over a small problem that happened in their teens.

Typically, when you know there’s an exit in a relationship because you’ve already taken it, it’s much easier to walk out at any time. Focus on finding the right person instead of crawling back to the wrong one just because you have a broken heart. 

5. Determine Who You Want to Be

So, here’s the fun part when you’re learning how to deal with a breakup: you get to rediscover yourself. Wow. Since you started dating your ex, you’ve changed so much. You’ve developed new interests and hobbies and mingled with different personality types. Maybe you’ve even worked in various jobs.

Now, you get to figure out who you are on your own, without another person. Are there things you’ve always wanted to do that your ex wasn’t interested in? Have there been any interests or hobbies you’ve done that you stopped while you were dating your ex? By focusing on this part of your breakup journey, you’ll discover that there’s so much to learn about who you are right now and who you want to become. You can become anyone in the world by learning new interests right now. So, who is the 2.0 version of yourself post breakup going to be? Brainstorm ideas to create more positive feelings. This can be a major life decision that focuses on the positive aspects of who you are so you can improve your mental health and attract future relationships.

6. Get professional support

Your support system can’t make up of only family and friends. Having professional help can help you find positive emotions early on, so you can get over your ex partner. When you find a therapist, it doesn’t mean you’re emotionally unstable or unable to solve your own problems. Sometimes, it’s nice to feel validated by a clinical psychologist. And other times, we have a good sounding board to bring us back to earth when our minds go rogue. So, even if you don’t feel sad about your break up, phone calls or Zoom calls with a therapist can help ensure you find a good relationship next and have positive non romantic relationships with close friends too. If you feel worse after a therapy session, consider trying a different therapist. Not everyone is a good fit for you.

7. Look At Your Life As A Whole

healing process

Take a moment to reflect on your life as a whole. Throughout your life, you’ve interacted with thousands of people. You’ve walked in and out of so many people’s lives. And many people have walked in and out of your life. In the grand scheme of things, most people don’t stay in our life forever. And when someone decides to stay in our lives the whole way through, that’s a huge thing to celebrate and be grateful for. Sometimes, people come into our lives at the wrong time. Other times, they teach us a valuable life lesson.

Ultimately, we need to look at the big picture. Were there some amazing moments with this person we dated or even married? Of course! And you can continue to cherish and value those moments since they were big moments in your life. A breakup can be tied to a relationship with many amazing memories. But it doesn’t change the fact that the relationship is over. Now, you need to figure out who you are, what values you look for in your next relationship, and come up with ways to make this breakup easier for you.

8. Journal Your Feelings

Another way to deal with a breakup is to practice journalling. You can journal what you look for in a partner, how you want to evolve yourself from this, things you learned in therapy, or how you feel. However, if everyday you’re writing all your negative feelings, thoughts, and emotions about yourself and your former partner, you might notice that those feelings end up surfacing a bit longer than you’d like. So, while you journal how you feel and cope with each day, also be sure to include 3-5 things you’re grateful for everyday, a gratitude list if you will. By practicing gratitude through this breakup, you’ll strengthen your mind. You’ll also realize that not only do you offer so much to the world, the world is still offering you a ton of stuff too. Look for the little wins each day. 

9. Spend More Time with Friends and Family

spend time with friends and family after a break up

When feeling isolated from a hard breakup, it’s important to fill the time you would’ve spent with your ex with people who love you. This is the time to reinvest in your friendships and relationships with family members. Are there friends you can spend an evening with? Maybe watch a movie together, grab dinner, or chat about some of the crazy things you’ve done together. Get to know what they’ve been up to and be genuinely happy for them if life is going well for them. You can form new friendships too.

Be sure to spend some time with your parents, siblings, or cousins too. Many people don’t spend enough time with family because they’re too preoccupied with their own lives. But it’s those family relationships that stand the test of time. Whether you like or not, you can’t replace family members. So cherish every second you can get with them. 

10. Create a Vision Board

Creating a list of goals or a vision board for this next chapter of life can help give you something to look forward to. You can think about the values you want from new relationships. The person you envision yourself becoming who overcomes difficult feelings when life rattles them. You might seek a new job to help you land a better opportunity. Moving forward in multiple ways can feel overwhelming. However, shaking up everything at once might help you spend time on the things you actually want and value in life, if that makes sense. Filling up your vision board with activities to don in your free time can also hype you up in a positive way. It’s all about looking towards creating new memories, overcoming negative ones, and healing from a tough time. Your future can be brighter; you just need to design one you’re excited about.

11. Do A Good Deed A Day

When someone goes through a breakup, their whole life centers around themselves. It becomes all about me, me, me. And that’s exactly why you’re unhappy. Because happiness comes from making other people happy. Do a good deed for others instead of expecting good deeds for yourself.

While I know this may be unpleasant to hear, hearing you talk about how you’ve been wronged in a breakup for months on end, can be very draining for people. For example, if your friend recently bought their first house with their new husband, rather than being depressed about it and running back to your ex, just be happy someone in your life is happy.  Don’t make every person’s happiness a reflection of your unhappiness. Their journey is different than yours. Instead, see the situation of someone else’s happiness as an opportunity to celebrate their new milestone. Buy them their first plant. Help them move in and unpack. Print out photos of the happy couple and gift them a photo frame. That’s exactly how to be a good friend

You will find a romantic partner eventually. These negative feelings are temporary. Don’t destroy relationships with friends and family because your relationship ends.

Every day ask yourself, “how can I make someone’s day today?” And by doing that you’ll get over your ex because instead of throwing a pity party in your head, you’re out there living and giving people the best of you. If you spent the rest of your life helping others at every opportunity without ever expecting anything in return, you would notice in a couple months how genuinely happy you’ve become. The problem is that most people give to receive. But giving for the sake of giving is what leads to true happiness and helps you find peace in your break up to complete the healing process. 

12. Get to Know Other People

how to deal with a breakup: move on

After dealing with a breakup, eventually it’s time to start dating again. You don’t need to start dating as soon as your ex does. You’ll know when going on dates is right for you. Being in the right mindset can help you find a long-term life partner.

Instead of dating for the sake of replacing your old relationship, look at those first few dates as an opportunity to get to know people and practice mindful dating. In your mind, tell yourself, “this is my opportunity to get to know new people, discover new interests, and interact with unique personalities.” When you go on dates, become curious about the other person. Get to know everything about them. There are few opportunities in life where we actually take the time to get to know people deeply. Most of our relationships can be quite superficial. By getting to dig deep in the relationship, you might realize that sometimes true love is just listening. And the element of a long-term relationship is just the perk to getting to know someone really well for the rest of your life. 

13. Find Your Inner Peace

The last part of dealing with a breakup is that you experience a sense of inner peace. There’ll be a moment of clarity where you’ll realize that your ex played a role in your life but they weren’t meant to be in the whole story. And you’ll realize that the magic in life comes from your role in writing the story.

You’ll have a moment where you realize that you can craft your life in any way you’d like. If you want to start a business, you can do that. Or you want to solve a burning problem, find love again, dance in the rain, hokey pokey on a rooftop, travel to exotic destinations, go back to school, start a new career, anything. You can do and accomplish anything within your control in life. And realizing that you might discover a greater happiness than any relationship can provide. So, when you do embark on that new relationship, you now know that you can still have an entire identity for yourself without having to compromise everything you are to be with someone. Mastering that will be the relationship that lasts longer than the rest because it’s the relationship with yourself. 

Conclusion

Dealing with a breakup isn’t easy, can lead to an increase of negative thoughts, and can sometimes make you feel isolated from others. While there may be times you resent the happiness of others, it’s important to be mindful of that because that level of negativity is unfair to others. We all have to live in a world where people are happy when we’re sad because when we’re happy others may be sad too.

When dealing with a breakup, you should consider minimizing negative thoughts, rediscover yourself, explore journaling and gratitude, and get to know other people among other things. Doing this will ultimately lead you to finding inner peace in life. You are a whole person filled with passion, love, and happiness. Don’t throw all that away because a relationship ended with the wrong person. Your role in the world can be so much bigger than who you were in a relationship, don’t be afraid to explore this new identity. You might really admire the person you become.

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