Emotional Health

Mourning and Mending a Broken Heart

How to Handle Heartbreak

Heartbreak is widely characterized by the intense pain of grief, anguish and distress. Mostly associated with the end of a romantic relationship, a broken heart can be felt after any intense emotional stress, such as the death of a loved one or a job loss.

The resulting pain can be so severe that scientists believe the experience is similar to physical pain. In one study, brain activity when seeing a photo of a former loved one resembled that of someone subjected to extreme heat. Plus, emotional health has long been linked to heart disease and the immediate period of mourning is tied to increased blood pressure and heart rate.

Learning how to manage stress and cope with difficulties can strengthen your health, prepping you for when heartbreak strikes – whether physical or emotional.

Take Care of Yourself

In the wake of heartbreak, it’s essential to take of yourself. As best you can, form a self-care plan: make an effort to eat especially healthy and cut out sweets or alcohol. As hard as it may be, avoiding easy indulgences like chocolate and wine can get your body back on track, leading the way for your emotional health.

Allow Yourself to Feel

The hard truth of coping with emotional stress is that you have to go through it, not around it. Allow yourself to experience the grief and distress of heartbreak however you best express yourself. Whether mourning a relationship or the loss of a loved one, it’s important to acknowledge the event, no matter how painful. Many people find crying to be a valuable release, but ultimately this will be a distinctly personal step.

Make Space in Your Schedule

Try not to overwhelm yourself with activities after an emotionally stressful experience. While it’s important to meet your responsibilities, avoid immersing yourself in anything that will prevent you from dealing with the heartbreak.

Make Time for Yourself

In the aftermath of heartbreak, it’s more important than ever to spend time on yourself. Connect with friends, play with pets or take a personal day to surround yourself with positivity and good feelings.

Relax, Meditate and Exercise

Emotional stress can easily drain your energy. Exhaustion is a completely normal response to a broken heart and another reason to avoid overwhelming your schedule during a time of grieving. To keep active when you feel extra tired, consider long walks or yoga. Deep breathing and meditation are great ways to cope with the emotional stress of heartbreak, with both emotional and physical benefits.