How to heal a broken heart why it hurts bad and how to recover

. including the truth about rebound relationships.

How to heal a broken heart why it hurts bad and how to recover

Break-ups do a number on the self. It’s like taking a tree branch and snapping it in two. The “me” that you were is no longer whole: It’s splintered, painful, and in need of healing. How do you move from the sting that comes from the loss of a relationship to a healthy and happy self?

Research in the field of relationship science offers these five suggestions:

  1. Rebuild the Self.
    Evidence suggests that love facilitates self-growth, expanding, and diversifying who you are (Aron & Aron, 1997). As you spend time together, the lines between you and your partner become blurred; your self-concept and partner-concept become inextricably intertwined. So it’s no surprise that when a relationship ends, people experience self-confusion (Slotter, Gardner, & Finkel, 2010) and self-contraction (Lewandowski, Aron, Bassis, & Kunak, 2006). Your sense of self actually shrinks. You might feel lost and unsure of who you are. The remedy? Start rebuilding. Rebuilding requires redefinition. It’s time to try new things and spend time with new people. Pursue the benefits of self-concept rediscovery. Evidence suggests that individuals who do not make progress on redefining and rediscovering themselves experience poorer psychological well-being and post-break up adjustment on a week-to-week basis (Mason, Law, Bryan, Portley, & Sbarra, 2012). One of the most important actions you can take to heal post-break up is to expose yourself to new people, challenges, and experiences.
  2. Break the Ties.
    As hard as it might be, breaking up by actually breaking up may help post-relationship adjustment. Maintaining contact with a new ex-partner delays sadness recovery and slows the (necessary) decline in love (Sbarra & Emery, 2005). Perhaps attempts to rediscover and rebuild the self are stymied when a former partner is still actively part of one’s life.
  3. Try Exercise.
    Stressful life events, like a break-up, produce a variety of depressive-like symptoms that can be difficult to manage. Evidence suggests that physical exercise can serve as an effective intervention, disrupting the link between such stressful life events and their potential consequences (e.g., mood problems, sleep issues, difficulty concentrating; O’Dougherty, Hearst, Syed, Kurzer, & Schmitz, 2012). While exercise may do little to curb your feelings of stress, the physical activity may buffer your depressive symptoms—an important step towards recovery.
  4. Fake It.
    Feeling sad is a natural response to a break-up, and although sadness declines over time (Sbarra & Emery, 2005), sometimes you need a life. If you’re looking to boost your happiness, try faking it. Called the facial feedback hypothesis, engaging in the physical, muscular act of smiling can send signals to your brain that you are happy. In other words, even though we think our mind is in charge of our smiles, the facial behavior of smiling can actually send happy signals to your brain, potentially improving your mood.
  5. Rebound.
    Rebound relationships get a bad rap, but their sour reputation is not based on empirical evidence. Instead, new research suggests that starting a new relationship fairly quickly post-break can be a healthy, even long-term, solution to the challenge of break-up recovery (Brumbaugh & Fraley, 2015). People in rebound relationships see themselves as more desirable, are more “over” their ex-partners, and have greater overall well-being; indeed, less time between partners is linked to more self-esteem, less attachmentanxiety, and less attachment avoidance. These findings suggest that starting something new sooner, rather than later, could be a productive next step towards a healthy and happy you.

Aron, A., & Aron, E. N. (1997). Self-expansion motivation and including other in the self. In S. Duck (Ed.), Handbook of personal relationships: Theory, research, and interventions (2nd ed., pp. 251– 270). New York: Wiley

Brumbaugh, C. C., & Fraley, R. C. (2015). Too fast, too soon? An empirical investigation into rebound relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 32(1), 99-118.

Lewandowski, G. W., Aron, A., Bassis, S., & Kunak, J. (2006). Losing a self‐expanding relationship: Implications for the self‐concept. Personal Relationships, 13, 317-331.

Mason, A. E., Law, R. W., Bryan, A. E., Portley, R. M., & Sbarra, D. A. (2012). Facing a breakup: Electromyographic responses moderate self‐concept recovery following a romantic separation. Personal Relationships, 19, 551-568.

O’Dougherty, M., Hearst, M. O., Syed, M., Kurzer, M. S., & Schmitz, K. H. (2012). Life events, perceived stress and depressive symptoms in a physical activity intervention with young adult women. Mental Health and Physical Activity, 5, 148-154.

Sbarra, D. A., & Emery, R. E. (2005). The emotional sequelae of nonmarital relationship dissolution: Analysis of change and intraindividual variability over time. Personal Relationships, 12, 213-232.

Slotter, E. B., Gardner, W. L., & Finkel, E. J. (2010). Who am I without you? The influence of romantic breakup on the self-concept. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36, 147-160.

Strack, F., Martin, L. L., & Stepper, S. (1988). Inhibiting and facilitating conditions of the human smile: a nonobtrusive test of the facial feedback hypothesis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 768-777.

How to heal a broken heart why it hurts bad and how to recover

Romantic love is mystical and magical — permeating every aspect of mind, body and spirit until you are completely consumed. The intensity of the attraction, the depths of the desire, and the power of the passion are simultaneously exhilarating, intoxicating and terrifying. Tremendous courage is a prerequisite for the awesome vulnerability of opening up your heart, body and soul for love.

When that love is not reciprocated or sustained, it can be devastatingly sad, like a death.
Like a flower that yearns for the sun until it blossoms completely, until every last petal drops, heartbreak leaves you feeling turned inside out. Not having your love reciprocated or being rejected can trigger a grief response that mirrors a depressive episode. Symptoms may include difficulty sleeping, changes in appetite, sadness, apathy, hopelessness and sometimes even loss of the will to live.

The heartbroken often struggle with feelings of powerlessness; frustration that it’s not within their control to make things the way they want. Many internalize the rejection of a break-up to mean that they are somehow not worthy, not capable of a sustaining relationship, or not lovable on a deeper level. This self-loathing can take root and cause a pessimistic view of the future, igniting panic and despair that love may never be found again.

Many people seek therapy to remedy a broken heart. In treatment, we try to understand and analyze our love relationships. Are we recreating old patterns? Filling a void? Addicted to love? Seeking ego validation? Dysfunctional? Delusional? Naive? Insane? Perhaps. Or maybe we are just human and subject to the forces of love.

Recovery from heartbreak is much like processing grief, so we go through the following stages:

  • Denial (“This can’t be the end, I’m sure he will call.”)
  • Anger (“I hate her.”)
  • Bargaining (“Maybe if I behaved differently, it would work.”)
  • Depression (“I never want to love again so I never feel this pain again.”)
  • Acceptance (“It was. And now, it is over.”)

In my practice, I have counseled hundreds through the depths of the depression that accompanies heartbreak. I recommend the following:

1) Know your love and feelings were real. Just because it didn’t last doesn’t mean it wasn’t real or true. You’re not crazy, foolish, wrong or delusional.

2) Understand love is always a gift. Love is a blessing even if it ends painfully, for heartbreak bears great wisdom.

3) Consider that all things happen and people come into our lives for a reason. Eckhart Tolle says, “Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness.” A relationship that ends is not a mistake or failure.

4) Stay in the present. Don’t ruminate about the past or second guess your actions. Don’t worry about the future. (“Will he find somebody else? Will that relationship be better?”) Stay out of your head, for that is a dangerous place to go. Practice mindfulness techniques like deep breathing and meditation. Imagine breathing in what you need (strength, hope, energy) and out what you don’t (pain, aches, sadness).

5) Release feelings of anger, hatred and thoughts of revenge. Understand this are all related to ego and cause you more harm than good. Anger exacerbates anxiety and depression, keeps us tethered and prevents us from moving forward. As Nelson Mandela said, “Resentment is like drinking poison and hoping it will kill your enemies.” In a moment of quiet, repeat the mantra, “I forgive and release you and let you go.”

6) Let go of the attachment or connection. Don’t be a whack-a-mole and repeatedly poke your head up for rejection from the object of your affection. As Mark Twain said, “Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.” Care enough about yourself to conserve your energy for those who deserve it, starting with yourself!

7) Get support. Talk to friends and family who are empathic and kind. Tell them specifically what you need from them. If your friends are tired of your broken record, consider therapy or a support group. Get immediate help if feeling so depressed you are suicidal.

8) Know you are lovable. Do not misinterpret the end of a relationship as meaning you are somehow not enough. Sometimes people aren’t capable of giving us the love we need and deserve, which is their issue and not yours. You are exactly as you should be and are perfectly lovable just the way you are.

9) Practice self-love. Recognize masochistic and self-harm behaviors (not eating, substance abuse, risky behaviors, etc.) and nip them in the bud. As Buddha said, “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Stick to structure and routine and get proper rest, nutrition and exercise. Don’t isolate yourself or your depression will take a deeper hold on you.

10) Know this too shall pass. Put one foot in front of the other and time will heal your wounds. Even if you can’t imagine feeling better or being open to love again, you most certainly will. In my practice, I have been awed and amazed by the resiliency of the human spirit.

“The emotion that can break your heart is sometimes the very one that heals it. ” — Nicholas Sparks

What else do you recommend to help recover from a broken heart?

Kindly endorse the author for WEGO Health Activist by clicking HERE!

How to heal a broken heart why it hurts bad and how to recover

How to heal a broken heart why it hurts bad and how to recover

Most people have experienced a broken heart, and there are multiple possible causes. But whether it comes from a breakup with a significant other or the death of a loved one, heartbreak is never easy.

Unfortunately, there’s no Band-Aid for broken hearts — but there are ways to ease the pain.

Heartbreak can be such an intense experience that some scientists suggest it feels the same as physical pain. A 2011 study found that people had similar brain activity when they viewed a photo of a former love and when they burned their arm. Kross E, et al. (2011). Social rejection shares somatosensory representations with physical pain. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1102693108

It might even be possible to die of a broken heart. People who are in the early stages of grief are more likely to experience increased blood pressure and heart rate, which can raise their cardiovascular risk. Buckley T, et al. (2011). Haemodynamic changes during early bereavement: potential contribution to increased cardiovascular risk. DOI: 10.1016/j.hlc.2010.10.073

A 2018 study found that widows and widowers were 41 percent more likely to die within the first 6 months after losing their spouse. The researchers suspect this was a result of a 53 percent increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Fagundes C, et al. (2018). Spousal bereavement is associated with more pronounced ex vivo cytokine production and lower heart rate variability: Mechanisms underlying cardiovascular risk? DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2018.04.010 Tragically, heartbreak came at the expense of their actual hearts.

As more scientists confirm the biological basis of love, there may eventually be a treatment for heartbreak. In the meantime, psychotherapist Athena Staik shares three important tips to make it feel a little better.

Understand the past

Take an honest look at what you just went through. “Recall your emotions and thoughts during the romance — from its early stages to when things began to get rough, to when it ended,” Staik recommends. “Think of other past relationships and look for patterns.”

Prepare a self-care action plan

While it’s tempting to lie around in sweats for days on end (we’ve been there) and stock your fridge full of ice cream and pizza, taking good care of yourself now will save you from more struggle later.

“Lift yourself up emotionally, mentally, and physically,” Staik says. “Exercise. Eat super healthfully. Cut out sweets and alcohol as much as possible.”

Connect

When we’re used to being around someone 24/7, it can be quite a shock to our system when they’re no longer around. “Practice deep breathing, yoga, and meditation,” says Staik. “Connect with people you trust.”

Losing a loved one is one of the most excruciating ways to obliterate a heart. While there’s no way to bring the person back, there are ways to mend the broken hearts left behind. Psychologist Julie S. Lerner explains exactly how to grieve.

Allow yourself to cry

“‘Be strong,’ a phrase often heard during the grieving process, doesn’t have to mean keeping your feelings bottled up inside,” Lerner says. “It can also mean expressing them in whatever way feels best for you. Remember that no one ever died from crying.”

Make space for the loss

It can be tempting to just try to forget about your loss and move on with the endless distractions available to us these days (alcohol, projects, dating apps, you name it), but you can’t outrun grief for long.

“Don’t fully immerse yourself in work or other activities. Loss is a part of life, so make room and time to grieve,” Lerner says.

Self-soothe

“Don’t feel guilty about enjoying life even during the grieving process. Make time to do things that you love and that help you feel good,” Lerner says. “Keep your house organized, buy yourself flowers, take a bath, connect with pets — whatever works for you!”

Cristale Adams is an online author and publisher. Her articles vary in topics and focus on life situations. She enjoys learning new things.

Broken Heart Syndrome?

Yes! It is real and it is almost exclusively found in women. More than 90% of reported cases are in women ages 58 to 75, which is right after menopause happens. Broken heart syndrome is also called stress-induced cardiomyopathy or takotsubo cardiomyopathy. This condition is a weakening of the muscular tissue within the heart so that it becomes enlarged, or broken from what it once was. This can be temporary and sudden but is definitely almost always some form of stress-induced. Most cases fully recover with no long-term heart damage or complications. Recovery from this is approximately one month, depending on the severity.

Broken heart syndrome can resemble a heart attack and is often misdiagnosed as one. Although there are no physical blockages or obstructions that reduce the blood flow to the heart, stress hormones release adrenaline which can alter the heart muscle cells or coronary blood vessels or both that cause the heart tissue to weaken and partial inflammation to occur. Since a particular part of the heart is temporarily enlarged, it doesn’t pump blood in or out very efficiently. Since the heart tissue is weak and partially enlarged during this time, there is a restriction to the large or small arteries of the heart. The heart’s rhythm and substances change to what is very similar to a heart attack. It can be fatal if not treated right away.

When your heart is broken, it can feel like the end of the world. No amount of pain has ever felt so agonizing or concentrated. It’s like a giant hole was pummeled into your chest, with no hope of repair.

You cry, you scream, you watch Netflix until you’ve seen every documentary your subscription has to offer and yet nothing seems to smoothВ your heartbreak or soothe the longing you feel.

True Story: Breakups are a bitch, and heartbreak is aВ bigger bitch than f*cking karma.

I think I can say with pretty solid confidence, most people would rather get smackedВ in the face with a metal pole than get their hearts broken. It’s why we try to avoid it.

Our bodies literally repel being dumpedВ because there’s no greater pain than heartbreak. The struggle is just so real, and the risks we take by falling in love are innumerable and terrifying.

The thing is, a breakup is really, really f*cking bad for your health. You might think it’s all in your head, but it’s not. You truly are experiencing an illness.

Here are eight scientific things that happenВ to your body when you have a broken heart, proving it’s just about the worst thingВ in world.

Your brain thinks you’re physically hurt.

When you get viciously dumped, it can feel like someone has punched you in the stomach, knocking all the wind out of you.

It can be consuming, as if your entire body were suddenly in Rigamortis. Guess what? While nothing has physically been done to you, your brain literally is telling your body the pain is real.

As Naomi Eisenbuerger, Ph.D., and assistant professor of psychology at the University of California at Los Angels told Women’s Health Magazine, the area of your brain that lights up when you’re hurt physically is the same area that lights up when you suffer “social rejection.”

So, when we say heartbreak “hurts like hell,” you know it actually hurts.

You either get really heavyВ or really thin.

Having your heart broken can go one of two ways: you either binge-eat or eat nothing.

It’s all about how youВ cope with sadness. Some people eat their feelings, using food as a distraction and a comfort while they cry their hearts out, watching an endless stream of Lifetime movies. Others are so racked with anxiety, they can’t even think about eating; food becomes disgusting and indigestible.

For some, heartbreak can be the most fabulously unhealthy diet known to man.

You’re swimming in stress hormones.

As Women’s Health MagazineВ explains, when you’re in love, your brain is inundated with the neurochemicals dopamine and oxytocin, making you experience feelings of happiness and pleasure. After all, love is more addicting than drugs, according to science.

When you get your heart broken, though, all those lovey-dovey chemicals wash right out of your system, leaving you victim to stress hormones. Your brain pumps your body full of cortisol and epinephrine.

An overabundance of cortisol tells your brain to send too much blood to your muscles, causing them to tense up, ostensibly for swift action. But you’re not leaping anywhere, and as a result you’re plagued with swollen muscles causingВ headaches, a stiff neck and anВ awful squeezing sensation in your chest.

The verdict? Heartbreak is really f*cking bad for you.

You’ll be depressed.

Though this one might be obvious, but studies have actually proven heartbreak does cause depression. According to Psychology Today, researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University studiedВ 7,000 male and female twins and analyzed their levels of depression and anxiety based on traumatic experiences in their lives.

The research found “losses that involved lower self-esteem were twice as likely to trigger depression as ones that involved loss alone.” Read: Getting rejected by your boyfriend or girlfriend is the greatest self-esteem hit of them all.

Withdrawal is real.

As I mentioned before, love is just as addicting as drugs, specifically cocaine. When you’re a cocaine addict cut off from the drug, your body goes through withdrawal. The same thing happens when you’re addicted to love and suddenly find yourself without it.

According to The Frisky, “areas of the brain are much more active after seeing the image of the ex. These same active areas are also afire in cocaine addicts who are experiencing physical pain while going through withdrawal.”

Luckily, like the withdrawal you experience from drugs, eventually the symptoms will subside and you can get on with your new, single life. It’ll be better, I promise.

You’ll wonder who you are.

Doctors say after a terrible breakup, you can question your identity. According to Erica Slotter, a psychology Ph.D. candidate at Northwestern University, “We know that relationships change the way we think about ourselves. When a relationship ends, that sense of self ends.”

Breakups can provoke existential crises. When we’re brutally broken up with, we’re left questioning who we are because we’re not sure how this could have happened to us. Aren’t IВ lovable? Wasn’t that person The One?В Now you’re forced into a new phase of life, you’ll have to figure out just what kind of person you want to be moving forward.

This won’t be the last time heartbreak hits.

Sorry to be the bearer of possibly the worst news known to man, but research from Brown University has found if you experience a breakup, the likeliness of a second breakup increases by 75 percent. I know this is the last thing you want to hear right now, but it’s the truth.

You’ll want to be alone, but you’ll need to avoid it.

When you go through a breakup, the only thing you want to do is be alone. Instead, you need to get those dopamine levels up, stat. The best way to do this is by going out and doing some of the activities you love to do, likeВ activities that bring you joy.

It may seem like the most unappealing thing in the world when you’re miserable and just want to cuddle up to a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and finish off yourВ pathetic list of ways to get him back, but if you want your body to heal, you need to GTFO of the house and do sh*t.

Even if you choose to go on a bender, itВ can be good for the soul. Becoming a hermit crab is only going to prolong and agitate your broken-heart syndrome.

How to heal a broken heart why it hurts bad and how to recover

Romantic love is mystical and magical — permeating every aspect of mind, body and spirit until you are completely consumed. The intensity of the attraction, the depths of the desire, and the power of the passion are simultaneously exhilarating, intoxicating and terrifying. Tremendous courage is a prerequisite for the awesome vulnerability of opening up your heart, body and soul for love.

When that love is not reciprocated or sustained, it can be devastatingly sad, like a death.
Like a flower that yearns for the sun until it blossoms completely, until every last petal drops, heartbreak leaves you feeling turned inside out. Not having your love reciprocated or being rejected can trigger a grief response that mirrors a depressive episode. Symptoms may include difficulty sleeping, changes in appetite, sadness, apathy, hopelessness and sometimes even loss of the will to live.

The heartbroken often struggle with feelings of powerlessness; frustration that it’s not within their control to make things the way they want. Many internalize the rejection of a break-up to mean that they are somehow not worthy, not capable of a sustaining relationship, or not lovable on a deeper level. This self-loathing can take root and cause a pessimistic view of the future, igniting panic and despair that love may never be found again.

Many people seek therapy to remedy a broken heart. In treatment, we try to understand and analyze our love relationships. Are we recreating old patterns? Filling a void? Addicted to love? Seeking ego validation? Dysfunctional? Delusional? Naive? Insane? Perhaps. Or maybe we are just human and subject to the forces of love.

Recovery from heartbreak is much like processing grief, so we go through the following stages:

  • Denial (“This can’t be the end, I’m sure he will call.”)
  • Anger (“I hate her.”)
  • Bargaining (“Maybe if I behaved differently, it would work.”)
  • Depression (“I never want to love again so I never feel this pain again.”)
  • Acceptance (“It was. And now, it is over.”)

In my practice, I have counseled hundreds through the depths of the depression that accompanies heartbreak. I recommend the following:

1) Know your love and feelings were real. Just because it didn’t last doesn’t mean it wasn’t real or true. You’re not crazy, foolish, wrong or delusional.

2) Understand love is always a gift. Love is a blessing even if it ends painfully, for heartbreak bears great wisdom.

3) Consider that all things happen and people come into our lives for a reason. Eckhart Tolle says, “Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness.” A relationship that ends is not a mistake or failure.

4) Stay in the present. Don’t ruminate about the past or second guess your actions. Don’t worry about the future. (“Will he find somebody else? Will that relationship be better?”) Stay out of your head, for that is a dangerous place to go. Practice mindfulness techniques like deep breathing and meditation. Imagine breathing in what you need (strength, hope, energy) and out what you don’t (pain, aches, sadness).

5) Release feelings of anger, hatred and thoughts of revenge. Understand this are all related to ego and cause you more harm than good. Anger exacerbates anxiety and depression, keeps us tethered and prevents us from moving forward. As Nelson Mandela said, “Resentment is like drinking poison and hoping it will kill your enemies.” In a moment of quiet, repeat the mantra, “I forgive and release you and let you go.”

6) Let go of the attachment or connection. Don’t be a whack-a-mole and repeatedly poke your head up for rejection from the object of your affection. As Mark Twain said, “Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.” Care enough about yourself to conserve your energy for those who deserve it, starting with yourself!

7) Get support. Talk to friends and family who are empathic and kind. Tell them specifically what you need from them. If your friends are tired of your broken record, consider therapy or a support group. Get immediate help if feeling so depressed you are suicidal.

8) Know you are lovable. Do not misinterpret the end of a relationship as meaning you are somehow not enough. Sometimes people aren’t capable of giving us the love we need and deserve, which is their issue and not yours. You are exactly as you should be and are perfectly lovable just the way you are.

9) Practice self-love. Recognize masochistic and self-harm behaviors (not eating, substance abuse, risky behaviors, etc.) and nip them in the bud. As Buddha said, “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Stick to structure and routine and get proper rest, nutrition and exercise. Don’t isolate yourself or your depression will take a deeper hold on you.

10) Know this too shall pass. Put one foot in front of the other and time will heal your wounds. Even if you can’t imagine feeling better or being open to love again, you most certainly will. In my practice, I have been awed and amazed by the resiliency of the human spirit.

“The emotion that can break your heart is sometimes the very one that heals it. ” — Nicholas Sparks

What else do you recommend to help recover from a broken heart?

Kindly endorse the author for WEGO Health Activist by clicking HERE!

We’ve all been hurt. You can’t be an adult — or teen — alive today who hasn’t experienced some kind of emotional pain.

It hurts. I get that.

But what you do with that hurt is probably more important than the hurt itself. Would you prefer to get back to being an active liver of life? Or do you prefer to ruminate endlessly about the past and something that cannot be changed?

In short, how do you let go of past hurts and move on? Let’s find out…

Blaming others for our hurt is what most of us start off doing. Somebody did something wrong, or they wronged us in some way that mattered to us. We want them to apologize. We want them to acknowledge what they did was wrong.

But blaming someone else for our hurt can backfire, as Holly Brown notes:

The problem with blaming others is that it can often leave you powerless. For example, you confront the person (your boss, your spouse, your parent, your child), and they say, “No, I didn’t,” or worse, “So what if I did?”, then you’re left with all this anger and hurt and no resolution.

All your feelings are legitimate. It’s important to feel them fully, and then move on. Nursing your grievances indefinitely is a bad habit, because (as the title goes) it hurts you more than it hurts them.

People who hold on to these past hurts often relive the pain over and over in their minds. Sometimes a person can even get “stuck” in this pain, in this hurt, in this blame.

The only way you can accept new joy and happiness into your life is to make space for it. If your heart is filled full-up with pain and hurt, how can you be open to anything new?

1. Make the decision to let it go.

Things don’t disappear on their own. You need to make the commitment to “let it go.” If you don’t make this conscious choice up-front, you could end up self-sabotaging any effort to move on from this past hurt.

Making the conscious decision to let it go also means accepting you have a choice to let it go. To stop reliving the past pain, to stop going over the details of the story in your head every time you think of the other person (after you finish step 2 below). This is empowering to most people, knowing that it is their choice to either hold on to the pain, or to live a future life without it.

2. Express your pain — and your responsibility.

Express the pain the hurt made you feel, whether it’s directly to the other person, or through just getting it out of your system (like venting to a friend, or writing in a journal, or writing a letter you never send to the other person). Get it all out of your system at once. Doing so will also help you understand what — specifically — your hurt is about.

We don’t live in a world of black and whites, even when sometimes it feels like we do. While you may not have had the same amount of responsibility for the hurt you experienced, there may have been a small part of the hurt that you are also partially responsible for. What could you have done differently next time? Are you an active participant in your own life, or simply a hopeless victim? Will you let your pain become your identity? Or are you someone deeper and more complex than that??

3. Stop being the victim and blaming others.

Being the victim feels good — it’s like being on the winning team of you against the world. But guess what? The world largely doesn’t care, so you need to get over yourself. Yes, you’re special. Yes, your feelings matter. But don’t confuse with “your feelings matter” to “your feelings should override all else, and nothing else matters.” Your feelings are just one part of this large thing we call life, which is all interwoven and complex. And messy.

In every moment, you have that choice — to continue to feel bad about another person’s actions, or to start feeling good. You need to take responsibility for your own happiness, and not put such power into the hands of another person. Why would you let the person who hurt you — in the past — have such power, right here, right now?

No amount of rumination of analyses have ever fixed a relationship problem. Never. Not in the entirety of the world’s history. So why choose to engage in so much thought and devote so much energy to a person who you feel has wronged you?

4. Focus on the present — the here and now — and joy.

Now it’s time to let go. Let go of the past, and stop reliving it. Stop telling yourself that story where the protagonist — you — is forever the victim of this other person’s horrible actions. You can’t undo the past, all you can do is to make today the best day of your life.

When you focus on the here and now, you have less time to think about the past. When the past memories creep into your consciousness (as they are bound to do from time to time), acknowledge them for a moment. And then bring yourself gently back into the present moment. Some people find it easier to do this with a conscious cue, such as saying to yourself, “It’s alright. That was the past, and now I’m focused on my own happiness and doing _______________.”

Remember, if we crowd our brains — and lives — with hurt feelings, there’s little room for anything positive. It’s a choice you’re making to continue to feel the hurt, rather than welcoming joy back into your life.

5. Forgive them — and yourself.

We may not have to forget another person’s bad behaviors, but virtually everybody deserves our forgiveness. Sometimes we get stuck in our pain and our stubbornness, we can’t even imagine forgiveness. But forgiveness isn’t saying, “I agree with what you did.” Instead, it’s saying, “I don’t agree with what you did, but I forgive you anyway.”

Forgiveness isn’t a sign of weakness. Instead, it’s simply saying, “I’m a good person. You’re a good person. You did something that hurt me. But I want to move forward in my life and welcome joy back into it. I can’t do that fully until I let this go.”

Forgiveness is a way of tangibly letting something go. It’s also a way of empathizing with the other person, and trying to see things from their point of view.

And forgiving yourself may be an important part of this step as well, as sometimes we may end up blaming ourselves for the situation or hurt. While we indeed may have had some part to play in the hurt (see step 2), there’s no reason you need to keep beating yourself up over it. If you can’t forgive yourself, how will you be able to live in future peace and happiness?

I know this stuff is hard and that it’s incredibly hard to let go of one’s pain — I’ve struggled with this myself. If we’ve held onto it for a long time, it feels like an old friend. Justified. It would be sacrilegious to let it go.

But nobody’s life should be defined by their pain. It’s not healthy, it adds to our stress, it hurts our ability to focus, study and work, and it impacts every other relationship we have (even the ones not directly affected by the hurt). Every day you choose to hold on to the pain is another day everybody around you has to live with that decision. And feel its consequences.

So do everybody — and yourself — a big favor: Let go of the pain. Do something different today and welcome happiness back into your life.

How to heal a broken heart why it hurts bad and how to recover

How to heal a broken heart why it hurts bad and how to recover

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Sometimes a story hits your right in the heart. Matt Fogg’s experience with battling chronic heart failure to eventually overcoming it is one of those.

Typically, when patients receive a left ventricular assist device (LVAD), it serves as either a bridge to transplant, or as a lifetime therapy if the patient is not a candidate for transplantation. But one Brigham and Women’s Hospital patient became the hospital’s first chronic implant patient in recent years to successfully recover heart function with targeted therapy and, ultimately, have the device removed.

When Fogg, now 24, arrived at the Brigham two years ago, he was suffering from heart failure. His heart was so damaged that it was unable to provide enough blood to his organs. After Matt had received care at the Brigham for a month, cardiologist Dr. Eldrin Lewis of the Center for Advanced Heart Disease advocated for him to have an LVAD implanted. “Given that Matt was so young, we thought he would do well on an LVAD,” says Lewis.

At the time, the Center had just begun to systematically study whether some patients eventually may be able to have an LVAD removed. The goal, in cases where heart failure was reversible, was to use the LVAD for a short time to recover heart function and then remove it.

“Less than one percent of patients can get an LVAD and recover heart function to the point of not needing the device, and those patients usually have heart failure caused by a virus or an issue related to pregnancy,” says Dr. Mandeep Mehra, Co-Director of the Brigham Heart & Vascular Center. “These kinds of reversible heart failure are the situations where myocardial heart tissue recovery has been seen.”

Fogg was among a group of patients who participated in a study at the Brigham. “We systematically turned down patients’ LVADs to see how the heart would behave without the support of the device,” says Lewis. “Matt is our first patient whose heart responded very well to treatment and demonstrated good function despite reduced support with the LVAD.”

The squeeze of Fogg’s heart muscle went from 4 percent to 45 percent over the course of his LVAD therapy, compared to normal function at 50 percent. “By offloading the heart with the support of the LVAD, we enabled his heart to have time to rest and recover,” Lewis says.

In August of last year, Fogg had the LVAD removed. Since then, the New Hampshire native was able to get a job at a local deli, resume his hobby of swimming, and practice regularly with his metal band.

“It’s unique to take a chronic heart failure patient who was on an LVAD for more than 20 months and remove the device, but this is the kind of event we want to become more common,” says Mehra. “Whenever possible, we want to recover the heart, not replace it.”

Fogg will continue to take medications to keep his heart healthy, but the Brigham Heart & Vascular Center is implementing a study to find out whether the use of stem cells for patients like Fogg could reduce the need for medication and allow the heart to rebuild on its own.

“This is a very beautiful story of healing the heart, not just supporting it,” says Mehra.

How to heal a broken heart why it hurts bad and how to recover

Eldrin F. Lewis, MD, MPH, is the director of the Cardiovascular Clerkship Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. A cardiovascular medicine and heart transplantation specialist, he is also an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School.

How to heal a broken heart why it hurts bad and how to recover

Mandeep R. Mehra, MD, is medical director of the Heart and Vascular Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Before you go,

Our experts address congenital heart conditions, heart disease and symptoms of heart problems. They advise on steps you can take to keep your heart healthy and strong. Read more articles about breakthroughs in treating heart conditions.

We’ve all been hurt. You can’t be an adult — or teen — alive today who hasn’t experienced some kind of emotional pain.

It hurts. I get that.

But what you do with that hurt is probably more important than the hurt itself. Would you prefer to get back to being an active liver of life? Or do you prefer to ruminate endlessly about the past and something that cannot be changed?

In short, how do you let go of past hurts and move on? Let’s find out…

Blaming others for our hurt is what most of us start off doing. Somebody did something wrong, or they wronged us in some way that mattered to us. We want them to apologize. We want them to acknowledge what they did was wrong.

But blaming someone else for our hurt can backfire, as Holly Brown notes:

The problem with blaming others is that it can often leave you powerless. For example, you confront the person (your boss, your spouse, your parent, your child), and they say, “No, I didn’t,” or worse, “So what if I did?”, then you’re left with all this anger and hurt and no resolution.

All your feelings are legitimate. It’s important to feel them fully, and then move on. Nursing your grievances indefinitely is a bad habit, because (as the title goes) it hurts you more than it hurts them.

People who hold on to these past hurts often relive the pain over and over in their minds. Sometimes a person can even get “stuck” in this pain, in this hurt, in this blame.

The only way you can accept new joy and happiness into your life is to make space for it. If your heart is filled full-up with pain and hurt, how can you be open to anything new?

1. Make the decision to let it go.

Things don’t disappear on their own. You need to make the commitment to “let it go.” If you don’t make this conscious choice up-front, you could end up self-sabotaging any effort to move on from this past hurt.

Making the conscious decision to let it go also means accepting you have a choice to let it go. To stop reliving the past pain, to stop going over the details of the story in your head every time you think of the other person (after you finish step 2 below). This is empowering to most people, knowing that it is their choice to either hold on to the pain, or to live a future life without it.

2. Express your pain — and your responsibility.

Express the pain the hurt made you feel, whether it’s directly to the other person, or through just getting it out of your system (like venting to a friend, or writing in a journal, or writing a letter you never send to the other person). Get it all out of your system at once. Doing so will also help you understand what — specifically — your hurt is about.

We don’t live in a world of black and whites, even when sometimes it feels like we do. While you may not have had the same amount of responsibility for the hurt you experienced, there may have been a small part of the hurt that you are also partially responsible for. What could you have done differently next time? Are you an active participant in your own life, or simply a hopeless victim? Will you let your pain become your identity? Or are you someone deeper and more complex than that??

3. Stop being the victim and blaming others.

Being the victim feels good — it’s like being on the winning team of you against the world. But guess what? The world largely doesn’t care, so you need to get over yourself. Yes, you’re special. Yes, your feelings matter. But don’t confuse with “your feelings matter” to “your feelings should override all else, and nothing else matters.” Your feelings are just one part of this large thing we call life, which is all interwoven and complex. And messy.

In every moment, you have that choice — to continue to feel bad about another person’s actions, or to start feeling good. You need to take responsibility for your own happiness, and not put such power into the hands of another person. Why would you let the person who hurt you — in the past — have such power, right here, right now?

No amount of rumination of analyses have ever fixed a relationship problem. Never. Not in the entirety of the world’s history. So why choose to engage in so much thought and devote so much energy to a person who you feel has wronged you?

4. Focus on the present — the here and now — and joy.

Now it’s time to let go. Let go of the past, and stop reliving it. Stop telling yourself that story where the protagonist — you — is forever the victim of this other person’s horrible actions. You can’t undo the past, all you can do is to make today the best day of your life.

When you focus on the here and now, you have less time to think about the past. When the past memories creep into your consciousness (as they are bound to do from time to time), acknowledge them for a moment. And then bring yourself gently back into the present moment. Some people find it easier to do this with a conscious cue, such as saying to yourself, “It’s alright. That was the past, and now I’m focused on my own happiness and doing _______________.”

Remember, if we crowd our brains — and lives — with hurt feelings, there’s little room for anything positive. It’s a choice you’re making to continue to feel the hurt, rather than welcoming joy back into your life.

5. Forgive them — and yourself.

We may not have to forget another person’s bad behaviors, but virtually everybody deserves our forgiveness. Sometimes we get stuck in our pain and our stubbornness, we can’t even imagine forgiveness. But forgiveness isn’t saying, “I agree with what you did.” Instead, it’s saying, “I don’t agree with what you did, but I forgive you anyway.”

Forgiveness isn’t a sign of weakness. Instead, it’s simply saying, “I’m a good person. You’re a good person. You did something that hurt me. But I want to move forward in my life and welcome joy back into it. I can’t do that fully until I let this go.”

Forgiveness is a way of tangibly letting something go. It’s also a way of empathizing with the other person, and trying to see things from their point of view.

And forgiving yourself may be an important part of this step as well, as sometimes we may end up blaming ourselves for the situation or hurt. While we indeed may have had some part to play in the hurt (see step 2), there’s no reason you need to keep beating yourself up over it. If you can’t forgive yourself, how will you be able to live in future peace and happiness?

I know this stuff is hard and that it’s incredibly hard to let go of one’s pain — I’ve struggled with this myself. If we’ve held onto it for a long time, it feels like an old friend. Justified. It would be sacrilegious to let it go.

But nobody’s life should be defined by their pain. It’s not healthy, it adds to our stress, it hurts our ability to focus, study and work, and it impacts every other relationship we have (even the ones not directly affected by the hurt). Every day you choose to hold on to the pain is another day everybody around you has to live with that decision. And feel its consequences.

So do everybody — and yourself — a big favor: Let go of the pain. Do something different today and welcome happiness back into your life.