Heartbreak: The good and the bad

Wednesday 8th February, 2023

Heartbreak is unfortunately a sad occurrence that most of us will experience during our lifetime. Sometimes you know it is going to happen, other times it comes out of the blue. Either way, it proves just how resilient and impressive we are as human beings.

I know what your thinking, the world doesn't need another article explaining how bad heartbreak is, with a copy-paste style five-step process on how to get over it, so why am I bothering reading this? Well, this isn't how to get over heartbreak or even to give you any sympathy (call your mummy up for that). This article talks about the nitty-gritty of what heartbreak is but also looks at both the good and the bad, the physical and the mental. We have been trained as human beings to view heartbreak as solely negative on our mental health, without considering our physical health, or the positive outcomes that we build from it.

The Bad

Let's start off by acknowledging the crying, as when you go through it your eyes turn into Niagara Falls. Then let's delve deeper into the less obvious physical symptoms of eating too much or too little and lying there night after night tossing and turning in bed not being able to get a moment of sleep. All of this takes its toll and ultimately leads you to become a bawling mess of a human being crying your eyes out on the kitchen floor at two am cradling a pint of half-eaten ice cream.

The mental side then, as whilst you are going through the above our brain thinks it is a great idea to play you a never-ending host of memories on why that person was so great. But the memories aren't all you have to contend with, you have questions too. Why did this happen? What am I going to do now? All spiralling around repeatedly in your head, like a horrible alternative version to the traditional merry-go-round. You can't help but repeatedly quiz yourself to try and make it stop, yet alas it continues and you are stuck with the same answer every time. We also can't forget the flashbacks. Just as you finally start to resume something that resembles everyday life again, bam! A nice happy memory of what you once had has the audacity to come to the centre stage of your brain and present itself just because you heard a certain song, saw a mustang or smelt roses.

Enough with the negative, as you have already been through it. Let's be optimistic.

The Good

Physically some form of exercise is always the go-to during heartbreak, whether it is a walk to clear your head, a gym trip to lose that relationship weight (that we all know you gained despite you denying it), or a swim in a foreign country. Exercise is a good habit as it releases endorphins to boost mood and allows a mental break from consuming mindless content on social media from supposedly 'happy' people. Yes, Becky did get a promotion this week, but she also broke up with her boyfriend, yet all that went on her Facebook wall was the promotion. Remember it only takes twenty-eight days to form a habit and then you are very likely to stick to it, so make it a good one, like exercise.

Mentally you just need to retain the way you look at the memories. Now I know what you're thinking memories during this time are horrible and cause more pain. But let's reframe that thinking. Picture a memory with your person where you are on the beach having a fun day and immerse yourself as one with you in that memory. How are you feeling? Happy? Chilled? Peaceful? This is because this is how you are actually feeling. Subconsciously you are using the memory as a comfortable safe space right now, so don't look back on it with sadness at what you have lost, let the happiness of the memory fill your heart with joy.

So what am I saying?

Heartbreak is a horrible thing to go through, but if you frame it right with the correct lens it is actually a beautiful process of self-discovery. Everything in life is how we perceive and react to it not the actual situation itself. Here is an example: this article. The article is called 'Heartbreak: the good and the bad'. I haven't stated at one point in this article what the heartbreak I am discussing relates to, it could be a death, a relationship ending, the loss of a pet, and the list continues. However, I bet that from the moment you started reading this you assumed it was a specific kind of heartbreak and read it in order to fit that perceived narrative.

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