[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The majority of us have had our hearts broken. It sucks. Especially when the heart break stems from a breakup and rejection is part of the equation. Because while the loss of a loved one hurts, rejection hurts worse. That’s according to Florence Williams’s new book, Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey
. In her chapter “All Pain is One Malady: Rejection,” Williams describes how social rejection makes one feel “essentially unseen and immaterial.” Rejection triggers in us an impotent despair, a sense of deepest fear being realized: that we are utterly unworthy and unlovable.
Heartbreak is bosom buddies with that old friend, loneliness
. Psychology has subcategories that specialize in social rejection, also referred to as social exclusion, ostracization, partner loss and mother of all hurts, grief
. Williams says, “Heartbroken, we are likely to hit all the emotional bases in more or less this order: rejection, grief, shame and existential loneliness, with each one changing the brain in ways that create anguish and often distinctly self-defeating behaviors.”
Of course, heartbreak has many causes. Death of a loved one, a breakup, loss of a job or even loss of a dream that now seems impossible. Whatever the cause, it’s important to expand the lens on what’s broken to what’s whole, to navigate our way from what is lost to what can be found—even amidst the loss.
Broken heart syndrome, as it’s sometimes called, is real. Clinically speaking, it can manifest as stress cardiomyopathy or takotsubo cardiomyopathy. Although its symptoms mimic a heart attack, it’s caused by a sudden physical or emotional stress.
How to Get Over Heartbreak
Even though it feels terrible when it’s happening, heartbreak is in some ways part of human development. It’s how we grow stronger and evolve, how we learn deep trust, preciousness and to keep a tender eye on the inherent vulnerability of being human.
And there are
ways to heal a broken heart. There’s no magical cure-all, however. You won’t feel better all at once. But if you use your broken heart to open
your heart, you will be well on your way to recovery. Here are four ways to move the dial on heartbreak.
The heat in “heat pray love” is not used egregiously. Heat, according to the scientific research, encourages our bodies to release natural opioids. Being warm is associated with lower rates of depression and stress
(which could be one reason the Finnish are so fond of saunas). Physical warmth and emotional warmth are linked.
Williams cites a study
that showed when people are holding a hot beverage
, they behave with more warmth than those holding an icy beverage. Williams extrapolated from this study that when lacking emotional warmth, physical warmth could be a viable substitute. She turned to hot baths
and sleeping with a hot water bottle for solace.
Get out of your head (and go outside)
Turning toward nature, whether it’s sitting by a lake or in a park, cycling, walking or you name it, can get you out of your head, into the present moment, and grant access to a broader perspective. Nature is conducive to sparking new avenues of perception, helping us parse things differently and in a more expansive light.
Being in nature has all kind of effects on our mood. Greenspace
(greenery and trees) and blue space
(bodies of water) offers multiple health benefits, such as promoting mental and physical wellness, and reducing morbidity and mortality in urban residents by providing psychological relaxation and stress alleviation and stimulating social cohesion.
releases all kinds of endorphins, which act as analgesics, which means a diminished perception of pain.
Recognize the risk of remaining tight
As the famous Anais Nin quote goes, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Williams writes in her chapter “Open Sesame” that openness is the crux of recovering from heartbreak. Openness, she writes, is the personality trait correlated with empathy, creativity, emotional richness, imagination, intelligence and intuition. Openness is tied to the erotic: A sense of adventure, play and life force that courses through our veins and makes us feel fully alive.
An attitude of openness belies a confident relationship to the unknown. It makes us believe in new potentials and the possibility of change. As we age, our openness decreases a bit with each passing decade. By exercising our openness muscle, we can become less stuck in our habits and ways, more receptive to new experiences and new patterns. In other words, increased openness may be a mechanism for therapeutic change.
Drop into awe
Part of living our best life is the sense that we are part of something bigger and are meant to be of use to that. One way to get a glimpse of that bigger picture is through an experience of awe. Awe makes us realize we are all in this together, all joined by some transcendent force, an ineffable perception of something beyond our brief lifespan and limited identity—the eternal. Awe is the gateway to transcendence. It is perhaps the ultimate remedy for a broken heart, as during an experience of awe, nothing is broken, and if it is broken, it ceases to be of concern.
As Williams notes, “When we experience less me
, we experience more us
.” Awe brings in all the things: Meaning, purpose, focus on others, community and belonging. All these roads lead out of self-absorption and into a much greater absorption.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_text_separator title="Featured Products" border_width="2"][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width="2/12"][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="3/12"][vc_single_image image="159168" img_size="full" onclick="custom_link" link="https://www.vitacost.com/megafood-stress-protect"][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="2/12"][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="3/12"][vc_single_image image="159169" img_size="full" onclick="custom_link" link="https://www.vitacost.com/natures-way-mood-lift"][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="2/12"][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row]