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A brief primer on heartbreak and how to (really) get over it

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A brief primer on heartbreak and how to (really) get over it

A no-nonsense guide to what actually works

You’re right in the middle of studying for a midterm when your significant other gives you the news: it’s over.

The intense pain you feel for the next several weeks (or months) is believed to be part of humanity’s survival instinct. It’s designed to encourage you to maintain your close social relationships, which keep you emotionally healthy and safe.

When you’re in love and near that person, neurons in your brain release dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with euphoria. It’s also associated with gambling and drug addiction.

Losing your connection with that special someone can be traumatizing.

So, here you are. You’ve been dumped by your sweetie, and you’re an emotional trainwreck. It’s tough to know what to do. You feel numb, depressed, and angry.

Where to start?

Instead of chasing your ex which will only push them away (how has that worked out for you in the past?), try this. Do them the favour of letting them go, and work on becoming the person you are meant to be. Focus on your own life and keep moving up in the world.

When you keep moving up and doing you, you become more and more attractive, and life keeps improving. Soon you’ll attract someone even better into your life who appreciates you.

But what about that intense pain you’re experiencing now? Here’s a quick primer on Getting Over a Heartbreak.

Do’s:

  • Give yourself time. You’re essentially getting over a chemical addiction. Your brain needs time to disassociate those feelings from that person.
  • Eat healthy. When you have a clean diet consisting of leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, proteins, and healthy oils, you feel better. You think clearer and your emotions are more stable.
  • Hit the gym. This is a cliché for a reason: lifting weights and exercising releases endorphins and neurotransmitters which improve your mood and mental focus. It also increases your self-esteem.
  • Laugh with friends. Be around people you laugh easily with. The human brain is wired to respond positively to laughter and socializing. Being around your friends is incredibly therapeutic.
  • Get out and try something new. Join an outdoors club, try a yoga class, or sign up to try improv. This is the time to focus on you and learn new things, even things that scare you.
  • Avoid old hangouts. Emotional anchors to places that remind you of them are very powerful. If you walked your dog together every Sunday at the dog park, go to the river valley. If you know they go to Beercade every Saturday night, start going to Funky Buddha.
  • Travel. This is the perfect time to disappear and expose yourself to new places, people, and ideas. Travelling is one of the best ways to reinvent yourself and learn what’s really important to you.

Don’ts:

  • Don’t binge-eat ice cream, go out and get wasted every night, or go on a hook-up spree. While those things might temporarily numb the pain, the high comes with a crash, and you’ll regret it and lower your self-esteem at the same time.
  • Don’t call, text, snap, DM, or sext your ex. That’s like an addict having just one little hit.
  • Don’t talk about your break up all the time to your friends. This takes discipline, but your friends will appreciate it and want to spend time with you.
  • Don’t immediately jump into another relationship. The times you are single will be some of the times you grow the most in your life. Embrace and enjoy being single.

You won’t be single forever.