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7 Tips For Breakup Grief

1. Dont exagerate the positive. Sometimes we romanticize the past, this includes past relationships. It can help to balance the view and note some undesirable parts of the relationship if you are being overly positive about things. But dont get stuck there! Being neutral is better for our mental health than being too optimistic or pessimistic. If you need to practice neutrality, try analyzing art and sifting through your view for bias., reducing judgements as you review. 

2. Plan a positive future that is just about you. We often plan our future with partners and when we lose a partnership, we can lose our hopes and dreams too. This can be extra devastating for our self worth and motivation at an already low time. To re-engage that part of you that wants good things for yourself, try making a dream board, a 2 year plan, or just browse pinterest for things you want to experience. You need to get motivated to rejoin life as an individual, and doing this one time gives you something to return to when you encounter grief in the future. 

3. Validate your feelings but don't wallow in them. It can be far too easy to spend all our time in grief, allowing these feelings to take over our whole mental life. What can help is to accept that you are going to feel grief, so familiarize yourself with the process. When a wave of emotion hits you, identify the grief stage, meet your immediate grief needs, and then put it away for a bit. (journaling or visualizing an imaginary box to file your expereince away are helpful tools for this). Repeat as many times as needed throughout the days, always giving space to both feel it and put it away. 

4. Reconnect with your friends and new people: When a relationship ends, there is often an increased need for positive connections. This can be a good time to reconnect with friends and family, to ask for time together. Who have you lost contact with? What relationships have you neglected? What groups could you join around your hobbies and interests? This is NOT the time to reach out to exes though, because this would be a loaded experience that can complicate grief instead of ease it along. Be patient and give your attachment time to heal, to return to internal security instead of codependent regulation of insecurity. 

5. Share your feelings but dont OVERSHARE. This means say how your feeling and where you are in your process, but dont get bogged down in the details. Avoid endless story telling, criticizing your ex, lamenting the past, ruminating, etc. because this actually slows down your healing. Consider keeping meetups brief so you can be successful, dont expect too much from yourself so say yes to low key outings and save high demand activities for later in the grief process. Set yourself up for success!

6. Try new things that do not remind you of the ex. If you have been doing lots of activities with one person for a significant period of time, or developed partner hobbies, you will need to try new and different activities during your grief cycle until you enter the acceptance stage of grief. This will allow you to heal a bit more easily, and reduce triggering yourself in moments of enjoyment. This also allows you to practice healthy boundaries when you most need to. 

7. Set boundaries that help you move forward.  One of the most common errors exes make with each other (in my opinion) is they have diffuse, unclear, unprotective boundaries around contact with each other. Sometimes this is due to habit, or hoping for another chance with that person. But consider this: when someone breaks up with you, you need to grieve that loss of attachment whether you get back together or not. So why not consider a period of time with minimal or no contact to grieve before even considering a reunion? 

8. Take the growth you had in the relationship with you. If the relationship is over, that does not mean it was unsuccesful. You grew, and you will continue to grow as a individual, and in your next relationship. All of those points of learning belong to you so please take them with you and consolidate that learning via your breakup behaviors.  Every experience can yield growth, even a breakup. 

 

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