8 Scientifically Proven Ways to Get Over a Breakup
It doesn’t matter if your split was amicable, or if you never want to see your ex again. Either way, breakups are tough. And while a pint of Ben & Jerry’s finest and a glass of rosé might help in the short-term, the truth is that the healing process takes time. So we examined the research and tapped relationship experts for science-backed ways to mend your broken heart.
Turn Up The Weepy Ballads
It turns out that playing “Someone Like You” on repeat isn’t just wallowing—it’s actually key for getting over a breakup. That’s according to researchers at UK’s Durham University, who found that sad music can be a form of therapy when you’re feeling down. Good news for you, bad news for your roommate.
Get Back to Your ‘Dear Diary’ Days
Embrace your inner preteen and jot down your feelings. “Research shows that writing about traumatic experiences can be helpful because it allows you to make sense of chaotic pieces to construct a larger, more cohesive story,” says psychologist and author Dr. Paulette Kouffman Sherman. Just remember to write your thoughts down in a notebook (not on Facebook).
Grieve the Relationship
Relationship expert and dating coach Samantha Jayne recommends letting yourself cry and talk about the relationship—just not forever. “They say that it takes half the length of a relationship to get over it, but if you've been with someone for five years, do you really want to spend that much time feeling sorrow?” Hell no. Science agrees. A study published in The Journal of Positive Psychology found that most people were able to bounce back from a breakup in 11 weeks. Jayne suggests setting a time limit for grieving (like a few months) and then moving on.
Step Away From the Internet
Let’s get real: Everybody in the history of modern breakups has fallen down the rabbit hole of cyber stalking at one point or another. And you know what we’re about to say, don’t you? Checking your ex’s Instagram every 30 minutes is bad news. That’s not just common sense; it’s science—researchers at Brunel University in London found that spying on your ex's profile page actually delays post-breakup recovery. Time to log off to move on.
Clear Your Mind By Decluttering Your Home
“When you’re ready, clear your house of your partner’s stuff and pictures, symbolizing creating space for new things and people to come in. It will also be helpful not to have constant visual reminders around you,” advises Dr. Sherman. A sort of feng shui of your former flame, if you will. Although skip the fire hazard and toss those old photos in the trash (there’s no need for actual flames).
Fake It Till You Make It
A recent study published in The Journal of Neuroscience found that even doing something that makes you feel like you are getting over a breakup can help mend a broken heart. That’s because simply believing that you’re working toward getting over your ex may trigger the parts in your brain able to decrease pain. So while signing up for a calligraphy class won’t actually cure your heartache, if you believe that it can, then it just might. Mind over matter.
Now that you’ve quit cyber stalking your ex, you probably have some free time (say, three hours a day) on your hands. Time for a spa day. “You may feel depleted and starved for physical affection, so gift yourself a massage or foot rub,” suggests Dr. Sherman. Spoil yourself a little so that you feel nurtured and loved during this tough time.
Rebound With Caution
Don't be afraid to make like Aaliyah and “dust yourself off and try again,” but only when you’re ready. A Queens College study found that people who rebounded reported higher self-esteem and confidence, plus were not as hung up on their ex. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should sign up for Tinder the day after your split. “Use this break as an opportunity to fall in love with yourself. When you feel complete on your own is when you're ready to get out there and meet someone,” says Jayne. A bit New Agey, maybe, but sound advice nonetheless.