It can be very overwhelming to go through a breakup, especially a rough one. Researchers have discovered that emotional pain after a breakup lights up the same areas of the brain during physical pain, so don’t fret if you’re having trouble moving on– it’s completely normal!

From “7 Phrases That Will Help You Get Over a Breakup” to “22 Ways to Get Over a Breakup Like a Grown Woman” (or man), there are many suggestions of how to move on after a sad breakup with your past babe.

You may feel many psychological reactions such as emotions of anxiety, depression, and loneliness, but on top of that you may also feel physical responses such as lethargy and physical illness. Breakups can be very overwhelming, but I promise you, you can happily move forward!

Let’s start with basics.

During a breakup, your brain is the first to react, and it does so by instating the process of grief. Grief can come during any kind of loss, which doesn’t dismiss the loss of a loved one in the form of a breakup. According to multiple studies, there are many types of reactions to grief, but we will focus on four: chronic, healed, delayed, and resilient.

Let’s break that down in a little more detail.

  • Chronic reaction to grief: 29% of individuals who experience heightened stress for up to (or more than) 2 years due to grief.
  • Healed reaction to grief: 23% of people tend to resolve their feelings of grief within 2 years.
  • Delayed grievers: these individuals will go upon their normal lives as if nothing happened, but a few days to several months later, they will start experiencing heightened psychological and physical symptoms of grief. Delayed reactions to grief constitute approximately 13% of the population.
  • Resilient reaction to grief: 35% of people will suffer from minimal to no symptoms whatsoever, no matter how much time has passed.

So just remind yourself, it’s okay you’re feeling some type of way, it’s different for everyone. But how can you motivate yourself to feel better?

  1. Have faith in the methods you’ll use – in one study, researchers used a placebo method to influence people’s reactions to their breakups (and physical pain) more positively. They found that the simple thought of feeling better actually made them feel better!
  2. Take charge of your life – start doing things you like: increase your hobbies, look for a new job, start volunteering at your favorite organization, go to the gym, take up the next project in school. Intentionally increase the things in your life that make you happy and keep you healthy.
  3. Distract yourself – listen to music, surround yourself with family and friends, start that new show on Netflix that you’ve been dying to see but haven’t had the time to.
  4. Cut off all contact – although almost last on the list, this is the most important method to make sure you remain accountable. Block him/her if need be, delete their phone number, move all the pictures and memories somewhere else (preferably removing them completely). In moments of vulnerability, it’s important that you’re making these choices.
  5. Take your time – last but not least, everyone goes through grief differently. A lot of bloggers will have time frames, but personally I don’t agree. Go at your own pace, but don’t dwell in the past for too long. The goal is to move forward!

So keep in mind, although you’re going through something incredibly difficult, believe in the fact that you will come out stronger, wiser, and better for it.

Blog post by Daya Montakhebi, Volunteer