8 Small Habits to Heal a Broken Heart

Let’s talk about one of life’s worst experiences – break ups. During a break up, it can feel like every emotion and none all at the same time. It’s being hungry and not able to eat, being tired and not able to sleep. It’s super important that you take care of a broken heart when it comes along, but what can you do? 

Here are 8 small habits you can do to help heal a broken heart.

Side Note: This article is for educational purposes and is based on personal opinions. This video is not a substitute for professional advice, but general guidance. We advise you to always listen to your intuition and always do what is right for you.

Feel the Feels

A common mistake made in break-ups is trying not to think about your ex. If you don’t think about them, it won’t hurt, right? Wrong. When you do this, you’re actually delaying your healing process. In a Glamour article, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and psychotherapist Rebecca Hendrix explains that a break-up is like any other loss. Instead of pushing the negative emotions away, we need to work through those famous five stages of grief to truly get over this loss. Think of a break-up like a scrape on your knee. If you try to pretend it isn’t there and don’t take care of it, it could get infected. If you take care of it right away, sure, it might sting at first, but it will heal quickly and properly.

Tragedy Into Art

Some of the most famous works of art are based on tragedy. Titanic? Sorry to break it to you, but that wasn’t a fictional story. Sean Grover, a Licensed and Certified Social Worker, psychotherapist, and author explains in multiple PsychologyToday articles that using this negative event and your emotions to create something positive is a great way to work through it. You’re a songwriter? Maybe you can write a song based off of the break up. Costume designer? Maybe use the emotion to make yourself an outfit that you feel amazing in! Learning to use negative emotions to create positive things is a wonderful way to heal a broken heart!

Do All the Things

When we’re in relationships, there are some things we end up stopping out of respect for the other person. When that person is gone, those boundaries and unwritten rules go with them! In her Glamour article, Hendrix gives us an example of a couple who has a date night every Friday. Well, once the partner is gone, so is weekly date night. Instead of spending it upset about the break-up, make some plans, hang out with friends, learn a new skill, take a class. Do whatever you want that will keep your body and mind busy. This helps to avoid…

You Don’t Need to Check on Them

When you’re in a relationship, you’re creating habits. You wake up and go to sleep next to the same person. You eat meals with the same person. Who do you text with news? Your partner. Who do you go to when you need comfort? Your partner. After a break up, it’s no shock that you want to reach out to your ex-partner. In 2010, the Journal of Neurophysiology published a study about the areas of the brain that are activated when acting on obsessive behaviors after romantic rejection occurs. They found that the same areas of the brain are activated when thinking of those habitual behaviors from the relationship as are activated during drug addiction. Basically, we become so used to our partners being there, it’s a borderline addiction. Once they’re not there anymore, we end up going through a withdrawal of sorts, same as an actual drug addict may.

So when you want to text them to check on them or to ask for that t-shirt that you really don’t need back, don’t. Don’t break the progress you’ve made so far!

#5: Be active regularly!

We know that being physically active has a bunch of positive impacts on the body. It helps to relieve stress, releases endorphins, and helps you keep fit and healthy. When going through a break-up, there are a lot of negative emotions and feelings, like stress, frustration, and anger. Elle Huerta, founder of Mend, explains that getting some regular physical activity can help you work through and release these emotions due to the release of neurotransmitters.

Now, moving around once won’t do the trick. Try to move for 15 minutes daily. This could be taking a 15-minute walk, doing yoga for 15 minutes, running, dancing, or whatever you want it to be. Just move! Notice how you feel when you’re done.

Don’t Search for Another Reason Why

When you’re broken up with, you’re given a reason and have to take it or leave it. A lot of us will take that reason and search for another that “makes more sense”. Say your ex tells you they’d like to break up because they’re moving for their job and don’t want to have a long distance relationship. It could be true, it could not be. Focusing on finding out if that’s the truth not only keeps you thinking about your ex, but it forces you to focus on them and the relationship that’s already over. You’re now putting yourself and your positive progress second. Even if the reason sounds a bit unbelievable to you, making peace with that reason can be one of the healthiest things you do for yourself.

Yin and Yang

Break-ups can give you a hardcore case of rose-colored glasses. Sometimes, when we miss a newly ended relationship, we only remember the amazing times that gave us butterflies and made us brag to our friends. However, remembering JUST the good times actually hinders the healing process. Hendrix tells us that this unhealthy idolization can cause fixation. Remembering the good times only gives you a false sense of the relationship and causes you to miss this dream version of the relationship. Make sure to remember both the good and not-so-good. It’s fine to miss and mourn a relationship, but also remember the things that needed to be let go.

Do What YOU Need

After you’ve healed and processed, it may be time to get out there again, but before you jump in, you need to evaluate. You need to evaluate who you are now after your growth, evaluate what you would like in a partner, and evaluate what you want in a relationship. Once you’ve done this, then you can enter the dating world knowing what you value and honor yourself through the process. Hendrix even reminds us that jumping into a new relationship before we’ve healed can backfire. Take care of you first. The relationship will come!

Whether you’ve gone through a break-up, are going through one, or might be thinking about one, we hope this video gave you hope that there is life after a break-up, no matter how messy. What got you through your last break-up (besides snacks)?? Let us know in the comments below. As always, keep your eye on Psi for more Psych2Go content, and don’t forget to like and subscribe. See ya next time!

Need more insight on break-ups and what to expect? Try 7 Stages After a Break-Up.

The references used in and to compose this article are listed below.

Fisher, H. E., Brown, L. L., Aron, A., Strong, G., & Mashek, D. (2010). Reward, addiction, and emotion regulation systems associated with rejection in Love. Journal of Neurophysiology, 104(1), 51–60. https://doi.org/10.1152/jn.00784.2009 

Grover, S. (2022, September 5). How to heal your broken heart. Psychology Today. Retrieved October 5, 2022, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/when-kids-call-the-shots/202209/how-heal-your-broken-hear

McCoy, J. (2022, September 23). How to get over a broken heart, according to psychologists. Glamour. Retrieved October 5, 2022, from https://www.glamour.com/story/how-to-get-over-a-broken-heart 

Parkes, C. M., Benjamin, B., & Fitzgerald, R. G. (1969). Broken heart: A statistical study of increased mortality among widowers. BMJ, 1(5646), 740–743. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.1.5646.740

Schimelpfening, N. (2021, February 16). How to heal a broken heart. Verywell Mind. Retrieved April 22, 2022, from https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-heal-a-broken-heart-1065395

TED. (2018, February 27). How to fix a broken heart | Guy Winch – YouTube. YouTube. Retrieved April 23, 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0GQSJrpVhM

TopThink. (2020, February 1). 12 ways to heal your broken heart – youtube. YouTube. Retrieved April 23, 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8AFNO4DnlE

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