4 Ways to Bounce Back from a Breakup

We can all relate to feeling stuck in life. Like the time we were desperately trying to get over a relationship that went wrong and we kept going over and over it all in our heads. It’s like the mind got stuck in a groove, replaying the same scenes again and again and again.

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You want to move on. You know you should move on. Friends and family are telling you to, but you just can’t, because your emotions have hijacked your brain, bypassing any capacity to think reasonably or rationally about what you should do now.

Of course you need to unpick the relationship and try to make sense of it so you can process everything and go forward. As human beings we need to understand but there is a point when we start to overthink in an unhealthy way.

So what can you do to get out of that rut before you dig yourself in even deeper?

1. Give yourself permission

There is a middle ground between wallowing endlessly in self-pity and being so hard on yourself you expect to spring out of bed the next day and be over it. Allow yourself to feel all of your feelings and realise they are all valid. Let’s face it, whatever the reason for the breakup and no matter who ended it, you are bound to feel down on yourself; sad, angry, exhausted, anxious, confused, even relieved. It’s all part of the process. Honour your feelings and take care of yourself.

Get back to basics and make sure you eat, drink properly and get enough sleep.

2. Stop ruminating - start living

Ruminating on what went wrong, obsessing about whose fault it was and over-thinking all the bad stuff does no good at all. In fact it’s likely to lead to a whole load of negative consequences including; anxiety, depression, lack of sleep, binge-drinking, binge-eating and possibly Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.

To do this you need to find the “off switch” on your brain by training it. This is the best thing you can do for yourself going forward. Whether it’s about a relationship, a career move, or any other big change in your life, taming your monkey mind will make you stronger and more resilient.

When your mind swings from one negative thought to another, just like a monkey swinging from branch to branch in a tree, tell it to stop. Focus on what you are doing not thinking, get out of your head and walk in the fresh air and nature for a while. Understand that your thoughts are not you.

Try a yoga or meditation class or find a therapist who can help.

3. Learn to let go

It sounds like such a cliché but letting go is part of the rich pattern of life. Letting go of what doesn’t work allows space for things that do work to come in. When you are clutching so tightly to what has been you are stuck in the past or else you are stuck in the future, holding out hope that things could work out differently, and your loved one will come back. Either way you are not living your life in the here and now. Close the chapter of the book by writing a long letter to your loved one, describing all your feelings about what happened, then release it, burn it, and let the ashes scatter in the wind.

A breakup can hit you just as hard as the physical death of a loved one.

4. Practise forgiveness

Forgiveness is a powerful tool in your armoury of recovery tools after a breakup. You might be mad about many things, seething with anger in some cases, or maybe you are most angry at yourself? At the height of emotion, forgiveness might seem like too big a word, so maybe try acceptance instead. You can accept what has happened even if you feel you can’t forgive. When you have given yourself time to grieve your loss don’t lose power by painting yourself as a victim either of your own flaws or your ex’s behaviour. To truly find peace for yourself remember the good things to be grateful for as well as the bad things you are trying to accept.

This will welcome in the positive energy of renewal to help you heal and move on.

Lindsay Percival Trauma Therapist & Trainer

Trauma can have lasting and devastating effects emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. Fresh insights from neuroscience show mind and body approaches are particularly helpful in treating trauma. I work with individuals and groups using mindfulness, dreams, imagination and energy healing combined with psychotherapy. My practice is in Marylebone and in Tunbridge Wells in Kent. I also work via Skype. Please get in touch if this approach appeals to you.