How to deal with a breakup: Anxiety after the breakup (2023)

Can't breathe, can't sleep, can't even think about laughing again - you know the feeling. When a relationship falls apart, it can feel like your world is falling apart with it. A breakup can turn an otherwise perfectly healthy, happy person into a sad, shaking mess. I see many of these transformations in my practice. I get at least several new clients every week who are so traumatized by a difficult breakup that they decided to go after hertherapyfor the first time.

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For people in their early 20s, the breakup can mark the end of their first significant, meaningful, adult relationship. For those a little older, who may have already experienced that first lovesickness, every breakup after that can seem like getting stuck in an endless search for the right mate. Either way, breakups can be painful.

In fact, a breakup can be the most difficult thing a person has ever experienced. Breakups touch on so many issues at once: sadness, security, self-esteem, role identity, and evensexuality. The sadness andAngstcan lead to feelings of panic, obsession, and depression. A human withobsessionsTendencies might suddenly feel the need to check up on their exesFacebook page continuously, while a more depressed person might brood over self-doubt. Whether a person reaches a clinical level or not, the feelings can be very intense.

When the aftermath of a breakup begins to affect your mental health and overall well-being, it's time to do something about it. But how do you go from howling into a pillow to riding off into the sunset with a fresh perspective? Overcoming a breakup takes small and large steps—from a simple task you can do right now to intangible acts that require some soul searching. I hope the following tips will help you get past the breaking point.

1. Learn a new language or skill

Do you see your ex's name everywhere? Do the smallest things, even the most mundane objects, remind you of him or her? This happens because so many of our experiences are linked to that other person. However, when we learn new things, we have whole new experiences that are entirely our own. Learning a new language, for example, puts too much strain on your mind to keep focusing on the memories of an ex. Open yourself to new languages, people and cultures. Make the world seem a little bigger.

Even if learning a new language isn't for you, consider other things you'd like to take on, like a pottery class, a wine tasting club, or a gym membership. Choose a course that lasts six weeks so that it fits into your schedule and gives you the opportunity to meet new people over time. As we learn new things, we achieve a sense of progress and self-improvement that counteracts false feelings of rejection or failure that sometimes accompany breakups.

2. Invest in your well-being

This is a time to nurture both your body and mind and engage both emotionally and emotionallyphysical self-care. Humans have a limited level of self-discipline (that's partly why you might be able to sing and waltz, but not at the same time). If you have a lot of self-discipline dealing with the urge to contact your ex, it's okay to spend a little money on yourself. However, it is important to ensure that the things you spend money on contribute to your self-sufficiency. Buy a ticket out of town to visit a good friend or invest in this yoga package. But don't waste your money on alcohol, unhealthy foods, or worse, illegal substances, all of which can temporarily boost your mood but make you feel worse in the long run.

3. Remember why it didn't work out

Sometimes ex-boyfriends suddenly seem a lot more attractive when they're gone. If you're suffering from a pink rear view mirror case, keep a list of the top five reasons you're better off without your ex and review them as necessary. Some people keep a copy of the list in their wallet or on their phone so it's always handy. Others stick the list on their bathroom mirror or some other place where they see it regularly without having to think about looking for it. You might even want to do both if you want to be 100 percent sure you remember the reasons the relationship had to end.

4. Find a breakup partner

If you have trouble dealing with urges and impulses, ask agood friendto be your 'breakup buddy'. This person will hold you accountable if you suddenly feel the need to contact your ex. So instead of sending that "I miss you" text to your ex late at night, call your breakup partner, who will encourage you to hold back and help you center yourself. Choose a trusted friend who is patient and a strong communicator.

5. Do a breakup mix

Music is a powerful tool; it can affect your mood, affect your thought process, and excite your body. Make a special mix of great breakup songs to keep you motivated. Ask friends about music that has helped them through breakups or times of loneliness. Choose songs that give you strength (e.g. "I Will Survive") rather than ones that inspire you to wallow in your misery (e.g. "All By Myself"). Set your phone to wake up to your breakup mix, or use the mix at the gym or on your daily commute. Often feelings of sadness and stress are stored in the body. What better way to let them go than by moving through the day to music that speaks to the emotions you want to let go of?

6. Have a massage

No really, it works. When a breakup occurs, the body reacts physiologically; it has become so used to positive physical touch that it can suddenly feel incredibly difficult to be without it. In fact, as a result of physical withdrawal from a romantic partner's physical intimacy, we experience an increase in cortisol, a stress hormone, and a decrease in dopamine. This is true whether you and your ex had a passionate sex life or even just a cozy, hand-holding, arm-wringing pattern of affection. Getting some form of healthy touch, such asMassage, can help close the gap.

7. Reevaluate yourself and your relationship goals

Breakups can be a good time for self-reflection. Take a look at what kind of partner you want to be and commit to engaging in activities that will help you become that person. For example, if you want to become more present and patient, try practicing mindfulness. If self-awareness and empathy are issues for you, you might consider keeping a journal or finding a therapist to help you process these things before jumping into another relationship. If you're struggling with financial or physical fitness, do whatever it takes to take better care of yourself to help you become more confident when dating.

Be sure to take some time to evaluate your relationship goals. If you know you tend to choose people who hurt or undermine you, make sure you address this before and during your efforts to re-date. Make a list of the warning signs you've ignored in the past and commit to watching for those signs in the future. Read self-help books on topics like codependency, self-esteem, and healthy boundaries. Get a trusted friend, family member, or therapist to help you sort through new dating experiences and watch for signs of trouble.

You can be happy again!

Emotional discomfort doesn't always mean something went wrong. Regretting the end of a relationship often means you have made yourself vulnerable, opened up to another person, and are capable of connection. When met with awareness and intention, a breakup can actually help you learn to choose a better partner and be better at redefining your boundaries in the future.

Often the pain of a breakup ends when you can fully appreciate that even though parts of the relationship were great, that doesn't mean that ending the relationship was a mistake. If you miss your college days, do you take that as a sign that graduation and moving on weren't meant to be? Past relationships are also necessary for learning and growth. I hope you take the opportunity for self-discovery, growth and emotional advancement to find happiness again!

And when all is said and done, Mike loves Syd, xxoo.

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First publication date:March 04, 2015

Updated February 01, 2017

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