Are You Dealing With Loss In An Unhealthy Way?

Are You Constantly Being Reminded Of Her Everywhere You Turn?

A show comes on and you remember the nights you shared cuddled up on the couch together. Your phone rings and yet, somehow, the ringtone only reminds you of her. Her Facebook page feels like it’s taunting you, all the while, she even seems like she’s doing just fine.

You try to put her out of your mind but nothing seems to be working. You find yourself in these moods where you don’t want to do a whole lot of anything.

You may even wonder… Is this healthy?

The Brain Chemistry Of Loss

Grieving the loss of a relationship is not that different from grieving a death. In a way, you are grieving the death of a relationship that will cease to be the same, again, even if the two of you get back together at some point.

When coupling occurs between two people, something interesting happens in the brain that at the end of it is a big contributor to experiencing grief.

If you look back at how you picked your ex girlfriend in the first place you may notice that she complimented you in many ways. Besides, just being attracted to her, she probably filled roles in you life that you didn’t normally do for yourself, or maybe she even took over certain roles in your life completely. Maybe she cooked for you which you never did before, or she was very social and helped you get out of your “man cave”, or maybe she was very feminine and soft and helped you lighten up instead of being serious all of the time. You would have filled various roles and needs for her, as well.

Now, that she’s gone, it may very much feel like there is a void in your life, or even in your body. A lot of times people feeling loss feel a heaviness in their heart, or a pit at the bottom of their stomach. This is not uncommon, because your brain has actually adapted to this person constantly being around and fulfilling various roles and needs for you. When the two of you got together and started consistently seeing each other, your brain basically said, “ah, we can relax now, she’ll take care of all of that stuff!”

Your Brain Needs Time To Re-Adjust

If she left, and you’re feeling blue and hollow… that’s should be the name of a country song…

All that means is that you need to consciously give yourself some time to re-adjust. The keyword there is “consciously”.

Step 1: Tell Yourself It’s Okay!

It may sound silly, at first.

A big part of dealing with grief in a healthy way is actually allowing yourself to feel grief. A lot of times when we feel sad, we try to force ourselves out of it by distraction, or get angry at ourselves for moping around. This is the part where you get to tell yourself that you’re okay.

Say To Yourself: “I’m feeling this way, and it’s okay”.

Allow yourself to fully feel the sadness of that moment without trying to resist. Don’t try to antagonize yourself or make yourself feel bad for feeling sadness.

Loss is an integral part of life. Without loss we would not be challenged to change and grow. Loss is the act of shedding skin which is integral to moving forward.

Step 2: Interrupt The Pattern

Here’s the catch! If you dwell in the loss for too long, you can create a negative habit of compulsively looking towards and living in the past. This may come in the form or re-running happy memories with her, or checking her Facebook and going through her pictures everyday to see what she’s up to, or going back and re-creating scenarios of how you “wish” you would’ve handled things, and playing them out in your mind.

Constantly revisiting the past without checking yourself, can hold you back from dealing with the loss and getting over it.

One way to interrupt this pattern is literally do something different. When experiencing loss or grief it’s common for us to want to sit at home and not do anything because we feel depressed in our physical body.

You can start pulling yourself out of this state by planning to be active during the times when you feel the most blue. This will take some conscious effort, at first. At first, you may feel, what’s the point? It does get easier!

Step 3: Create New Memories

Notice the times when you are feeling most depressed. For most people it is usually nights and weekends. Once, you have noticed those moments start to create plans in advance to fill up those times, whether it’s spending it with friends, family, or going out and being in nature. Find some things that you want to do that you don’t normally do. Volunteer at a shelter, or take up salsa dancing. Eat at a restaurant you haven’t tried. A big part of your healing process is creating novel memories on your own and with others that will crowd out memories of her.

In a sense, you are supporting your brain chemistry to move on. Taking action in the midst of grief will quicken the healing process.

Sometimes, getting out of a funk, means literally stepping out of it, one step at a time.

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