I am a fan of healing broken hearts and living life with your whole heart as opposed to half-hearted living or being one of the walking wounded. You are in excellent company if you have suffered a broken heart and have not yet healed from it. Really, really good company if that makes you feel any better. There are too many people who become jaded, wounded, or otherwise broken after experiencing heart break. Many of those people will tell you directly that they are just jaded. While that is fine and that is one way to live, I am a fan of love and healing your heart, which can be done.
I recently blogged about dealing with emotional pain and how to use it to your advantage. Heart break is a special form of emotional pain, which in and of itself can be a big source of loneliness and isolation. When I speak about heart break I am specifically addressing the heart break caused from an intimate, significant relationship that ends due to either death or a break up although there are other things that can cause heart break, which I addressed in the post about emotional pain.
Twenty-eight sources or causes of emotional pain are included in that emotional pain post. All of life involves some form of emotional pain now or then because it is just a part of life unpleasant as it may be. Unless you close yourself off to people, happiness, love, joy and being connected to people – emotional pain and heart break is unavoidable. What is helpful is to learn the skills, habits, practices, attitudes and beliefs that will enable you to live a happy and powerful life regardless of what is going on in your life especially when times are tough. Dealing with heart break often causes people to develop trust issues. You want to be able to heal your heart so that you can be vulnerable with people because that is a critical part of close relationships.
Here’s where I make a shameless plug for you to enter to win free stuff! Yes, you read that correctly! I am giving away cool stuff every single month until July 2021 in my Year of Freedom Giveaway. Why? Because if you took on your own growth and development you could have a completely different life. You can read more about the Year of Freedom here.
Hopefully you want to have a happy and healthy life. I want you to have a happy and healthy life. Even if your life up until this very moment has been filled with stress, strife, negative events and people – you can change that. You are not stuck with a future that is filled with negativity or unhappiness. We know that the brain can be rewired thanks to a concept called neuroplasticity of the brain, which means that you literally can teach an old dog new tricks (video). You can change your life regardless of what your past includes. It takes motivation, the willingness and openness to want something better for yourself, and support. Even if you are in a situation that you cannot change because of the circumstances – you can go to work on yourself (growth and development) and feel better. You can also create a vision for your life or a life plan and start working on that.
If you think that this is simply impossible for you, then I would strongly suggest that you get familiar with the concept of the self-fulling prophecy and what that means in life, which I happen to have a short video on. Life is hard. There’s no doubt about it. That’s why you need to have every tool and technique to make it easier. Harness the self-fulling prophecy to your advantage because otherwise you are making use of the self-defeating prophecy, and just like the name implies – that’s a negative thing.
Physical Manifestations of Heart Break
My recent post on emotional pain includes a section on how emotional pain can manifest in physical pain in the body, which I am not going to repeat here. I will however add some new information on the subject. If you have never heard of emotional pain causing physical pain in the body that falls under the mind-body connection and is worth learning about since there is plenty of evidence to support that. Consider that over 2,000 years ago, Hippocrates – a Greek physician who is considered to be the father of medicine, wrote that all forms of illness had a natural cause when at that time (460 B.C. to 375 B.C.) people believed that sickness was caused either by the wrath of God or some superstitious beliefs. All that means that the mind-body connection has thousands of years of history and practical use.
According to the American Heart Association, physical manifestations of heart break can include a condition called Broken Heart Syndrome, which can include chest pains (angina), shortness of breath, irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias) and cardiogenic shock (a suddenly weakened heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs) – a condition that can be fatal if not treated immediately.
The bottom line is that emotional pain of any kind can cause physical pain in the body or heart issues in the case of a broken heart. This should provide some motivation to deal with and process your emotions and do the work to heal your emotional pain, which can be done if you put in the effort and keep at it.
Benefits to Healing Your Heart
There are significant benefits to doing the work to heal your heart regardless of the source of heart break. This list is only a partial list of the top benefits.
It gives you access to love.
It helps you form healthy relationships.
It helps you feel connected to people.
It will increase your happiness.
It will give you freedom from emotional pain.
It will increase your vitality.
It feels better.
It will increase your self-esteem.
It provides significant health benefits.
It will help you feel back in control of your life.
It will give you a sense of real freedom from the past.
It will increase the joy you experience in life.
Suicide Warning/Mental Health Waiver
If you have any thoughts of suicide or harming yourself or others please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or call 911 immediately. Please call someone, tell someone or post it on social media and ask for help right now! We have more people suffering from depression, anxiety, and negative emotions than ever before, which means that you are in good company. I am asking that you take a specific action if you are feeling suicidal or that harming yourself because your life matters more than you realize and because there is help available to you. I am not a licensed mental health professional or in the field of medicine. You should get your medical advice from a licensed medical professional. Although my posts are research and experience based, they do not constitute medical advice since I am not a medical professional in any capacity.
20 Steps to Healing Your Heart
Healing your heart will not happen overnight. It typically takes time and actions on your part. This is both an outline of the process and the steps.
Own that your heart if broken. Put into words how you are feeling.
Be committed to your own healing and wholeness. Everything in life that matters starts with a commitment. To really heal, you need to commit yourself to healing. Make a decision that you will do whatever it takes to heal your heart and mean it.
Accept that it’s okay to feel this way. Being in denial is not going to help you heal one iota.
Go through the grieving process step-by-step. Feel your feelings. Don’t make yourself feel guilting for being human.
Increase your self-care right away. When you are reeling from a broken heart it is absolutely imperative that you bump up your self-care and make sure that you are getting plenty of sleep because it will help you feel better and heal. Do not skip this step! This is the step that will accelerate your healing and help you function in life. This is a foundation for living a happy and powerful life. It’s really not optional if you want a great life.
Forgiveness is powerful. Sometimes heart break includes anger whether it be anger over a break up or anger that someone died “leaving” you alone. It can include resentment and other feelings that call for forgiveness. You want to take a look at what you are dealing with and determine if you need to forgive yourself for anything or perhaps forgive the other person(s). Anger and resentment zap you of energy and vitality. It takes so much more energy to remain angry or resentful than it does to forgive. Forgiveness is for you not the other person. I highly recommend forgiveness over anger and resentment for health, happiness and vitality – it is a path to healing.
Practice gratitude as a tool for healing. Gratitude is one of the big sleepers in having a powerful life from my view. It doesn’t cost anything. Anyone can practice the skill of being grateful and it is easy to do. The benefits of gratitude are extraordinary. It might not make sense to ask that you start practicing gratitude when you are suffering from a broken heart, which I can understand. That doesn’t change the benefits or the fact that getting into the operating practice of being grateful will change your life for the better. Feeling grateful every day will help accelerate healing your heart break.
Limit pity parties to a reasonable time period. If you are prone to excessive self-pitying, self-loathing, catastrophizing, negative thinking, low self-esteem, anxiety or depression, you might tend to overdo the pity parties. If you are in doubt about whether your pity parties are reasonable or beyond reasonable start talking to the people who care about you and want to see you feel better. Do a survey. Ask several people and get a consensus and then take the appropriate actions. Just be mindful that excessive pity parties are not going to help you move on and will prolong your pain inhibiting healing in the process.
Implement healthy distractions. While you are processing your emotions and allowing some time for actual healing to take place, set up some healthy distractions for yourself. Examples include: setting an attainable goal that will make you happy and going to work on that goal; cleaning and/or organizing anything or doing yardwork; volunteering at a local charity or service organization. These are examples of healthy distractions that will help you fill up your schedule and take your mind off of your heart break.
What can you learn from this? Ask yourself what you can learn from your heart break. While not every situation has some value, I do find that I can learn and grow from almost everything in life, which means that I am a huge fan of asking this question and being open to using heart break to my advantage.
How can you use this to become a better person OR help make the world a better place? In my very early 20’s when I experienced the death of a friend, I used the heart break of it to make sure that I made every moment in life count in part to honor my young friend who didn’t get that chance. How could you use your personal heart break to be a better person? How could it be used to make the world a better place. This falls under using emotional pain to your advantage.
Create a life plan or vision that excites or inspires you. Everyone needs to have a purpose or feel needed or useful. It is part of being human. Yet all too often people float through life just letting life “happen to them” without intentionality. I am a big fan of having a plan or vision for your life because when heart break hits it is extremely powerful to have one in place because it is a powerful tool to pull you forward when you are feeling down. The bonus is that it is never too late to make one.
Get out there and socialize even with the current limitations. What we know about loneliness and social isolation is that it is extremely bad for your health as you can read about here. You are much more likely to be feeling lonely or isolated when you are dealing with a broken heart. It just goes with the territory. Even though you might not feel like it, get out there and socialize. If you don’t have enough friends, which is an extremely common problem in our society and the world, then put that on your life plan or vision or set a goal to make more good friends. Having good friends and/or a good family can go a long way to help you heal from heart break. The problem is that too, too many people don’t have good friends or a good family (tips if you have a bad family or parents video).
Ask for help. If you are going through heart break it’s okay to ask for help. You can call friends or family and say I need a pick me up or let’s meet for coffee. No one is going to think less of you for asking for help because you are human. Human beings need each other for health and wellness. Go to therapy if you need that. Get the help that you need.
Be watchful of the decisions you make as a result of heart break. It is particularly important if you are healing from heart break to pay attention and be awake and aware of what you are thinking, feeling and deciding as a result of a broken heart. If you are not awake and aware, then you could subconsciously make a decision that you are simply not aware of, which could negatively impact your life and your future. For example, after some people experience a broken heart they unconsciously or subconsciously decide that they are never going to let someone get that close to them again. That type of unconscious/subconscious decision cuts you off from love, relationships, happiness and all the good stuff. It happens all the time that people make decisions after heart break that they are not awake and aware of so please pay attention.
The self-fulfilling prophecy is key to a better future and healing. What you believe matters moving forward as you heal. You can create your future and take advantage of the self-fulfilling prophecy (video) by consciously deciding what your future will hold. What that would look like after a broken heart might be along the lines of – God has a better man (or woman) in mind for me. Or it could take the form of -I have learned and grown and I will have love in my future. It could take many different forms. The important point is that you author and create how it will go. I decided after a huge betrayal and heart break that I was still going to trust people. It was a conscious decision on my part and I am happy with it because being able to trust is important if you want to connect with people in intimate relationships.
Use tools that are appropriate to heal. There are plenty of tools available to help you heal. Use whichever of them resonates with you. Some examples include: affirmations, cognitive behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, praying, meditation, tapping (emotional freedom technique).
Engage in hobbies or activities you find enjoyable (healthy ones). Hobbies are one of my favorite things and they can provide a pleasant distraction while you are healing. If you don’t currently have any hobbies that you enjoy now is the perfect time to go hobby shopping and find one that you love. Ask people about their hobbies. Have fun with this. Make a list of activities, healthy ones please, and start doing those.
Get complete with what happened. Whether it is heart break caused by the death of a person or a relationship that ended, heart break can leave people incomplete with things that were not said or otherwise unfinished business. That includes the things that you wish you had said or done and that sort of thing. I suggest that you write a letter to the person in question – without sending it – and say what there is to say. Obviously if the person is deceased you would not be able to send it. Notice that I am NOT recommending that you send these letters to a living person. You are doing this as an exercise to get complete. In an ideal world, you would get complete with an individual face to face, yet that is not always possible or appropriate in break some or all ups. Do this over and over until there is nothing left to say.
Avoid Rebound relationships. Whether your heart break is because of the death of a beloved spouse or partner or the ending of an intimate relationship it is best to work on healing your heart and avoid getting into a rebound relationship out of fairness to both parties involved, to avoid regrets, and to avert other problems that can result.
Call to Action:
There is no question dealing with a broken heart is painful, hard and not what you want to go through. At the same time would you rather cut yourself off from love, joy, happiness, feeling connected and related to people? I hope not! Learning how to heal your heart is a valuable skill that will help you in life. Are you dealing with a broken heart? Are you taking prudent and appropriate steps to go through the healing process? What do you need to help you through the process? Do you know someone who is going through this? Will you share this on social media to help other people? Will you let me know how I can help you? I want you to have a happy and healthy life.