There is no one correct way to get over losing a love. The path to healing depends largely on your personality and how the relationship ended. Death versus a bad breakup, for instance, can present different paths to healing. Ultimately, however, healing is necessary. Sustained bereavement is detrimental to your psyche and can even damage your physical health by leading to loss of sleep, under- or overeating, stomach problems and more. The most important thing you can do to begin getting over a lost love is recognize your feelings, whether anger, sadness or even relief, and begin dealing with them.
Loss Through Death
Allow yourself time to grieve for your lost love. Give yourself permission to cry, to be alone or to put aside daily activities for a time if that makes you feel better.
Seek out empathetic people who will listen to you. Don't be ashamed of telling them how you feel. Look for people who will listen rather than try to "fix" your grief too soon.
Take care of yourself physically. Eat nutritious meals and work in light exercise, such as a walk on a sunny day, to lift your mood.
Avoid self-medicating your grief with sleep medications, alcohol, over-consumption of food and other vices, which may only compound and extend your grieving period.
Devise ways of self-expression to deal with your grief. Remember the happy times you had with your love, write stories or poetry or create artwork. If you're not feeling creative, think of other ways to honor the deceased, such as a charity walk in his or her name.
Refrain from judging your emotions, especially if you feel relief to some extent. Caretakers of a chronically ill person often feel relief after the person dies, and then feel guilty. This is a normal emotion.
Seek out professional help if your grief is overwhelming or begins to interfere with your daily activities after an extended time.
Loss Through Divorce or Breakup
Give yourself time to grieve, as losing a love through ways other than death is still a devastating experience.
Care for your physical needs by eating healthfully, lightly exercising and giving yourself extra treats, such as a massage. You may feel emotionally better if you are physically cared for.
Talk to trusted friends or family about how you're feeling. Seek out people who will listen to you, not judge or offer too much advice.
Consider ridding your environment of painful reminders of the relationship. Remove pictures, mementos and other reminders. Box them up and store the items, or throw them away if you feel ready to make that step.
Write a letter to the lost love if you find your emotions overwhelming. Sit down and write until you have nothing else to say. Write about your anger, sadness, disappointment and anything you have left unsaid. This can help you express your emotions, but don't send the letter to the lost love as this can reopen old wounds.
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- Many people make rash decisions in the face of lost love. Recognize this impulse and mute it if possible when it involves major events, such as selling a house. Give in to impulses if they are reversible and not life-changing, such as a haircut, if that makes you feel better.
- Be cautious in throwing away reminders of a lost love if you have children in the house. Ask them if they want pictures or mementos, and only clear out items from your personal space at first.
- Get involved in something larger than yourself as you move through grief. Volunteer for a nonprofit, take in foster pets or visit nursing homes, all of which can help you get out of your own head and focus on others.
- It is not uncommon for grief to re-emerge periodically months or years later. Don't ignore these episodes, but instead practice what helped you recover the first time.
- Call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 (800) 273-8255 if you feel suicidal over your feelings of grief.
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