At some point in our lives, most of us will experience loss, but we don’t always get the help we need to get through it. The book How to Fix a Broken Heart by psychotherapist Guy Winch, PhD, tries to fill this need. He gives tips on how to deal with heartbreak in a way that helps you heal instead of making it worse. He does this by telling stories about his clients who have gone through types of heartbreak that are often made fun of.
Winch chose to focus on a breakup and the death of a pet because people don’t always have enough resources or enough help from other people to get through them. When a human family member dies, we get time off from work and everyone at the funeral is sad for us. But when we lose a pet or break up with someone, we’re often left to pick up the pieces on our own, or worse, we’re told we can’t “get over it.”
Winch takes lessons from his work as a therapist about how to get over a broken heart and how not to. Here are some tips from his book that you could use in any situation that breaks your heart.
1: Find people who know how much you’re hurting.
Many people don’t take sadness seriously, especially after a breakup or the death of a pet. Make sure you talk to people who can help.
Having supportive people around you can also take your mind off the sadness. Winch tells Bustle, “Use social contacts and events to keep your mind off of dwelling and being sad.” “Get involved with the people and things that make you feel like yourself and bring you closer to your core.”
2 Don’t judge how you feel.
Just as you need friends who understand how you feel, you also need to understand yourself. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, and there is no time limit. If you let yourself feel how you feel, they will go away faster.
3 Don’t try to figure out what happened.
When a relationship ends, many people make their pain last longer by trying to figure out why. The partner of one of Winch’s clients gave her a reason, but she didn’t believe him. Instead, she looked for another reason. Believe your ex when they tell you why they broke up with you, take what you need from it, and stop trying to figure it all out.
4 Don’t Cyber-Stalk
Winch says that cyberstalking our ex-partners makes us think about them, and study backs this up. One study in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behaviour, and Social Networking found that people who watched their ex-partners on Facebook were more upset about the breakup and more likely to miss them. Winch says, “Don’t text, message, or talk to your ex. You need to stop all contact with them to get them out of your head.” “Don’t stalk your ex on social media or in any other way. You need to move on.”
5 Don’t think of your ex as perfect.
Winch talks about a client who often thought about leaving his ex, but when she left him, he acted like he’d lost his dream relationship. When someone isn’t there, it’s easy to think of them in a good light. But you broke up for a reason. Most likely, you and your partner had problems.
Winch says, “Balance out the good things you remember about your ex by writing down all the ways they were wrong for you.” “Balance your idealised memories of the relationship by making a list of all the compromises you had to make in the relationship that you would rather not make again.”
6 Don’t stay away from things that make you think of your ex.
Many people avoid songs that their ex played for them, restaurants where they went on dates, common friends, and other things that remind them of their ex so they don’t have to go through the heartbreak all over again. But this will just make you keep thinking about your ex when you do these things, so it’s better to go back to them and make new connections with them.
Don’t let the breakup get in the way of your life in general. Winch says, “Keep doing the things that used to make you happy and interested, even if they don’t seem fun and interesting.” “Going through the motions is a good way to show yourself that life keeps going.”
7 Get Rid Of Reminders
So, don’t leave your ex’s things all over the house. It will be much harder to stop thinking about them after this. “Don’t keep things that remind you of your ex if they hurt you or make you think of them in a good light,” says Winch.
During this process, be kind to yourself and keep in mind that your feelings are real and worth paying attention to, even if others aren’t.