Romantic heartbreak is a universal suffering that almost everyone experiences at least once in their lives. A broken heart can feel like the end of the world, especially if you didn’t see it coming. Learning how to heal a broken heart can seem like a daunting task. It can feel almost impossible to get over the physical and emotional pain that comes with heartbreak. Luckily, psychologist Dr. Guy Winch is here to shed some light at the end of the broken-hearted tunnel.
Dr. Winch went viral with his popular Ted Talk, How to Heal a Broken Heart, where he breaks down the science of heartbreak and gives practical advice to move on.
According to Dr. Winch, being in love is like being hooked on drugs. Brain studies have shown the withdrawal of romantic love activates the same areas of the brain as withdrawing from cocaine or opioids. Your unconscious mind loves to replay good memories with the person who broke your heart to “get a fix.” While addicts know when they’re addicted, people suffering from heartbreak often do not.
“We tend to associate having a broken heart with something that happens to the young, the naïve, or the inexperienced – teenagers and young adults who have not yet felt the full weight of adult responsibilities on their shoulders. Real adults are supposed to handle such occurrences as they might any other setback or disappointment – with maturity and stoicism. Heartbreak resides firmly in the category of baseball and spilled milk – it is simply not something one cries over, or so we believe. That is until our own heart gets broken,” explains Dr. Winch in a passage from his book, How to Fix a Broken Heart.
In his practice, Dr. Winch has seen successful CEOs who conquer setbacks at work with strength and ease crumble over romantic heartbreak the same way a teenager would. Love isn’t something we’re used to dealing with rationally. Our natural responses to heartbreak are often exactly the opposite of what we should do. To soothe our broken hearts, we tend to adopt coping mechanisms that actually hurt us more and delay our ability to move on. This “clinging” to memories of an old flame can have seriously negative effects on mental health in the long run.
Breaking up is hard. Rejection is even harder. But guess what? You can get over it! Your happiness and mental health are worth it and waiting for you to get it together. Grab the tissues and a pint of ice cream and jot down these tips on how to heal a broken heart. It’s time to move on. Life is in session. Tick. Tock.
1.) Go Cold Turkey!
Stop stalking your ex on social media. Seriously, stop. https://t.co/AJWC43Bekc
— TED Talks (@TEDTalks) February 10, 2018
In order to get over your ex or the person who broke your heart, you’re going to need to go cold turkey. That’s right! This means eliminating all contact with them. Suggestions: delete them from your phone, block them on social media, and move all recorded memories (pictures, videos, emails) somewhere they won’t be as easy to access, like a folder with a password a friend sets up. Get creative.
While it might seem childish and extreme to go cold turkey, it’s the first step in moving on. It’s important to resist the urge to stalk your ex on social media and contact them when you’re feeling sad. Social media stalking will only make you feel worse. If you see them moving on while you’re still wallowing in self-pity, your self-esteem is going to take a serious hit.