Here are some strategies for dealing with and learning from breakups.
1. Talk to a friend. Having support during a hard time is often really overlooked. Some people isolate or withdraw because they feel so awful, but actually talking it out with someone and letting out your emotions is very healthy. If you feel like your friends just don’t get it, you might try talking to a guidance counselor at school.
2. Don’t catastrophize. Often when something like a break-up happens, we tend to have all sorts of catastrophic thoughts – like I’ll never feel this way again, or I’ll never find someone else, or other extreme types of thinking about either yourself or your future and this is just a downward spiral. Picture a stop sign and stop yourself from going there. If your friend were going through the same thing, you’d probably be able to realize and express to them that most of these fears are just that – fears – with no real basis in reality. Let yourself feel the feelings but don’t get lost in negative thinking.
3. Let yourself go through the emotions. Sometimes we think that if we let ourselves feel our emotions we’ll fall apart, but to avoid your feelings will just make them build up. Tell yourself that this is a very difficult time and that like most other things, it will pass. The key is not to avoid but not to dwell for weeks on end either.
4. After you’ve let yourself go through the motions, start thinking about ways to inspire and stimulate yourself. Get involved in a creative activity you’ve been interested in and let it be an outlet for you. If you are into being active, take a dance class. If you like to use your voice, take singing lessons! If you are interested in art – you get the picture. Engage yourself in things that make you feel alive and expressive.
5. Don’t rebound – after letting yourself go through the motions and then trying to find ways to enjoy yourself on your OWN, then start thinking about opening your heart to someone else. At this point its much more likely that a new relationship will be based on something real.