“What’s your process?” I asked. Kioshi just looked at me, her eyes flat, tears on her cheeks. “How do you move through the pain to the other side?” Kioshi shrugged. Her heart was broken and it was a recent pain, large and consuming. Her healing needed a kick start and she needed support to discover what would help get it going. I tentatively offered a few suggestions:
- Try to take some time just for yourself. This person has been a natural part of you for some time. Absence is going to feel wrong and very strange for a while. For now, indulge in things you really enjoy– just for you. Go to a movie, read a new book, or take up a new hobby you’ve always wanted to explore. New experiences cause the brain to secrete endorphins, those feel good hormones. You could use a little “feel good” right now.
- Take care of yourself by eating right, getting enough sleep, and plenty of regular exercise. Physical activity gives your mood a boost and increases your production of serotonin and dopamine, more feel good hormones produced by your brain.
- Try some laugh therapy. Pretending you aren’t hurt (also known as denial) won’t help, but smiling, laughing, and enjoying humorous movies or time with fun and funny friends, all help restore your sense of optimism and can actually trick your mind into producing a happier mood.
- Grow into forgiveness. As you move through your sadness and grief, examine what went wrong with the relationship. Take only your share of responsibility for what went wrong and allow the other person their fair share. Every pain has a lesson in it. Don’t be afraid of the pain or the lesson; you’ll survive. It may help your next relationship be a stellar one. When you are ready, forgive the other person.
- In time, move on. Only you will know when it is time, but when your heart has mended sufficiently, be open to new relationships. Remember it takes two years to learn a new job, get comfortable in a new town, and to heal from a painful broken heart.
As Kioshi thought about these ideas, she began to smile a little. Her healing had begun as she let in the possibility of healing.
If you are experiencing the pain of a broken heart, try one, some, or all of these tips. Changes may happen slowly but they do happen.