We all have had our heart broken at least once in our lifetime. Whenever that happens, you’re left with a sense of hopelessness that makes you not want to believe in love anymore. For the rest of your days. Eventually, we do get over it, but not before going through hell and back. Lucky for us, there are a few tricks that can help us bounce back after a breakup.
One of the best psychological hacks for heartbreak is reframing.
Cognitive reframing has been used in behavioral therapy for ages to help patients identify and call into question their negative thoughts and thought patterns. Though it was originally developed to fight depression, it is effective in lots of areas: improving memory, reducing anxiety, relieving stress or boosting well-being.
When you’re in a million pieces after a breakup, turn to reframing.
Something that’s eating us up inside after a breakup is the feeling of uncertainty. Why did they leave us? What did I do wrong? When did we lose the spark? Research shows that people loathe uncertainty, with one study pointing out that sick people would rather be told a bad diagnosis than no diagnosis at all.
To get this feeling out, start reframing. Sit down and write a letter to your ex. Empty your soul on paper. Say all those things you wish they had had the opportunity to hear. But don’t send the letter.
Instead, write their reply to you. For now, you must pretend in order to get some answers, some kind of closure. Find a way to accept that the relationship is over. Allow them to admit that they were cowards, that they’re sorry but in the end, it was for the best.
The next step is to visualize all of this. How you would say these words to your ex. How would they read their letter to you?
Just by imagining this scenario you will feel better because visuals activate our emotional processing centers.
Functional MRI studies indicate that our brain process understanding, then belief, then disbelief. So, for a brief moment, our mind thinks that this course of reframing is real, helping to ease hurt and anxiety.
Moreover, part of our brains has the ability to store fantasies as memories. No, you will not think your beloved one actually wrote you that letter, you have the conscious part of the brain telling you the truth. But nonetheless, the fantasy of closure will mend a fraction of the damaged you.
If this doesn’t work, try penning another one. Get everything off your chest, write about the unhappy moments in your relationship, about all the times he made you feel bad, about all the reasons your relationship would not have worked. And it will help you move on.
By visualizing everything, you will come to the conclusion that it wouldn’t have worked out anyway and that they were simply not the one for you. Better sooner than later, that’s for sure! Help others get over a broken heart, please share!