5 ways to cope after a breakup

After a breakup, even though you logically know the relationship is over, your body and brain are in a state of shock. You get used to getting out of the relationship chemicals like dopamine and oxytocin, and now the supply has been cut off, and you feel like you’re in retirement.

This is when I hear people say: “I feel like I’m going crazy.”

Yes, it can feel that way because you’re recalibrating to a new balance without your partner – that’s normal. You are supposed to feel a torrent of intense emotions. Not feeling anything after a breakup with someone you love or for whom you feel deeply would be considered “not normal”. In the initial stage of the shock, you should not move quickly from the feelings. You have to feel the emotions to process them and move on. So if you’ve just come out of a breakup, don’t feel the pressure of “doing something” to get out of the stage of feelings – sit there, be there. Will happen.

That said, there are ways to deal with pain. Coping is a learned strategy that helps us cope with the discomfort and difficult emotions we are facing. There are adaptive and maladaptive coping strategies.

Note: Defense mechanisms are not the same as coping mechanisms (although they share similarities). The defense mechanisms are unconscious and people are usually unaware that you are using them. Coping mechanisms are conscious and used on purpose to manage the situation.

Inadequate coping mechanisms

Inadequate coping mechanisms are things we do that make us feel better in the short term when we experience a breakup, but they have negative and harmful effects in the long run. We have a brief distraction from uncomfortable feelings, but that doesn’t help us heal, it just allows us to postpone coping with emotions. These include alcohol and substance abuse, self-harm, binge eating, and sexual promiscuity. They also include more subtle mechanisms such as emotional numbness (shutting down), avoidance, ruminating, self-blame, pleasuring people, and dissociation (leaving the body), to name a few.

Often, these maladaptive coping mechanisms were learned from our primary caregivers and were a way of self-preservation. But they repeat themselves over time, take root, and become the reference reaction when faced with stressful events. Adaptive coping delays pain, not cures it.

Adaptive coping mechanisms

Adaptive coping strategies are actions we take to calm ourselves, reduce stress, and generate a sense of security. It involves addressing the problem or issue in question directly while basing it on reality and the present moment. They are healthy ways to deal with the emotions and stress of the situation. Here are some ways to use adaptive coping to deal with breakup or divorce.


  • 1. Talk about it. In the stage of shock and denial of a breakup, talking about how you feel helps you process what just happened. Talking to trusted people and those you feel safe with will help you gradually accept the new reality of life without your partner. Seeking outside support from friends, family, or mental health professionals instead of isolating yourself can help reduce stress and minimize anxiety and depression.
  • 2. Begin a ritual of self-compassion. In the words of compassion expert Kristen Neff: Self-compassion is a practice of goodwill, not good feelings. It’s a way to relate to yourself with kindness and care, and accept that the present moment can be painful, but you can still hold on with love and connection. Self-compassion is a muscle you build. When you first start, you may feel an acceleration of pain or think the exercise is stupid or artificial, but this is not a sign for you to stop, it is a sign that you are touching the limit and continuing to practice. . . It’s okay to take a break if you’re feeling overwhelmed, but don’t abort the effort. Practicing compassion helps relieve feelings of stress and anxiety. This is not woo-woo, it is supported by scientific research.

If you historically view yourself with shame and self-judgment, you know that examining your inadequacies and seeing yourself as deserted provokes an adverse biological response. You release stress hormones like cortisol and norepinephrine, which only minimize your cognitive flexibility and your ability to learn.

You can start a ritual aimed at practicing self-compassion every day. You can do self-compassionate meditations or write yourself a self-compassionate letter acknowledging the parts of you that feel inappropriate and unworthy, and then seeing it with unconditional love and acceptance. You can consult this resource for more self-compassion exercises.

3. Interrupts the rumination cycle. You may not be able to control the thought that comes to your mind after a breakup, but you can choose to feed it or redirect it to something more positive. Observe when you are trapped in a thought trap (cognitive distortion). Then close your eyes and display a large red stop sign. Then say the word STOP! out loud.

Finally, it is time to redirect the negative talk to positive affirmations. Create a set of coping statements that you can repeat to yourself when your mind is decided in the races.

  • I will face this challenge and do my best.
  • I have been in this situation before and I have survived.
  • I am strong enough to face this.
  • This feeling will pass. The situation is temporary.

4. Change of status. When you feel anxious, you may experience a feeling of panic. What is happening is that your body is producing cortisol and adrenaline to prepare you for action: fight / flight. That’s why you may feel compelled to send this angry message or call your ex and scold him, your body is energized and ready for action. But this knee reaction is often something you will regret when you return to a calm and logical state.

To let your body and mind recalibrate, make a state change. Exercise, run or set the stopwatch for 2 minutes and shake your body from head to toe. This will allow stress hormones to move through your body and metabolize them. Then, calm your nervous system by taking deep breaths, make sure your exhalation is longer than your inspiration.

You can change your brain

Whether you developed coping strategies that were maladapted during childhood and later in life, the great news is that they are not solved. The neuroplasticity of our brain allows us to replace useless behaviors with up-to-date and healthier actions. The more you practice, the more natural it becomes, until you finally respond automatically to stress with adaptive coping mechanisms.

Want to learn more about how to cure yourself of lovelessness? Check out Renew Breakup Bootcamp for a separation retreat or do a workshop to beat your ex, once and for all.

Do you want to overcome your breakup?

Get the Rupture Guide workbook The Renew Rupture Guide will guide you step-by-step through the entire process of healing the rupture. For just $ 9, the guide is full of tools, exercises, and worksheets to help you repair your heart and move forward. Grab it now.

#ways #cope #breakup

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