Getting Over Heartbreak According to Science

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By Via Lana Dolinska

Nowadays we get all kinds of happiness and dating advice on the Internet from people who don’t know what they’re talking about.

I am a geek matchmaker and to convince me of anything, you have to back your words with research.

UCLA neuroscience researcher Alex Korb has some insights that can help you get over the hump, no pun intended.

Here are four rituals that will heal your heart according to Neuroscience.

1. Be grateful. When you are heartbroken, when you worry if someone will ever love you again, when you wonder what you did wrong, when you think about the mistakes you could have avoided, all this worrying is apparently how our brain makes ourselves feel a little better—at least we’re doing something about our problems.

Instead of mindless worrying ask yourself this question, “What Am I grateful for?”

Research in psychology shows that gratitude is like getting a booster shot for romantic relationships:

What if you feel you have nothing to be grateful for? 1. You are not looking hard enough. 2. Don’t worry, the act of looking for an answer is good enough to help your brain.

Just the act of looking provides your brain a little shot of serotonin—an antidepressant.

According to Korb “It’s not finding gratitude that matters most; it’s remembering to look in the first place.” The act of looking creates a break in the cycle of worrying and it is that break and shift to looking that creates the serotonin.

2. Label your emotions. You are heartbroken, sad, unhappy, blue—whatever is that you are feeling, give it a label.

Why? Because studies using MRI showed that consciously recognizing the emotions reduces their impact!

Its being used in meditations and also in mindful practices over centuries.

The fascinating thing that occurs when we name our experience or emotions is that the power shifts from the emotion controlling us to us controlling the emotion. The more we resist it, the more it persists. Naming it gives up the resistance and it disappears. Try it. Remember, suppressing your emotions will never be helpful. Take it one step further and try on that it is just a body sensation and it does not define you, the you having the body sensation.

3. Make a choice. Decide to date. Berry Shwarts, in his book The Paradox of choice, says that we should not sweat over our decisions, trying to make the best possible one on Earth. We should choose those that are good enough.

“Good enough is almost always good enough.” And don’t be a picker. It’s hard to pick from 100. Be a chooser. Instead of deciding, choose. Understand the distinction of choice and own the choice you make.

When it comes to online dating, we are paralyzed with hundreds of online profiles and always feel that if this doesn’t work, the next one will most certainly will.

So what to do? Hire a matchmaker in your area instead. They will help you create a list of the most important qualities that you are looking for in your partner and will pre-select those five people who satisfy those qualities!

4. Okay, what is the fourth ritual? Science has the answer for that—touch! Hug your kids, your close friends, your relatives. Are you living alone and don’t have friends? Then get a massage!

According to The Upward Spiral:

“The results are fairly clear that massage boosts your serotonin by as much as 30 percent.”

My eight-year-old twins say that Mom gives the best hugs! Yes these long 30 seconds hugs will make you feel better!

To Sum Up:

Here’s what brain scientists say will help you get over the heartache.

>>> Ask: “What am I grateful for?”
>>> Label emotions. Give your emotion a name and your brain will make you feel better.
>>> Go for “good enough” instead of “best decision ever made on Earth.”
>>> Give someone a big, long hug. Don’t text—touch.

About The Author

Scott Martin holds a Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and teaches a quarterly Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction class in Tyler, Texas. For more information on developing a mindfulness practice or processing emotional trauma visit www.etsrc.org

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