“It is our wounds that create in us a desire to reach for miracles. The fulfillment of such miracles depends on whether we let our wounds pull us down or lift us up towards our dreams.” ― Jocelyn Soriano, Mend My Broken Heart
The loss of a relationship, especially if the ending was not your idea, can cause great emotional and physical stress. In addition to the feeling that someone ripped your heart from your chest, you can experience depression, heart palpitations, loss of appetite and crying spells that you think will never end. Whether you’ve lost a spouse of 35 years or your lover just gave you the boot, you’re suffering real pain.
The bad news is that you have to pass through a series of emotional stages before you feel as if you can face the world again. The good news is, with a little focus, you can greatly shorten the duration of a heartache. The 5-Day Plan for Healing a Heartache takes you step-by-step through the emotional soothing process that will allow you to find relief.
You don’t have to believe in these techniques for them to work. You just have to do them. Each day, you will train your thoughts and gently nudge your emotions to a place where you eventually feel better. Your emotions follow your thoughts so by replacing detrimental thoughts that have become habitual, with healing thoughts, your emotions will follow.
Today, you will lay the foundation for the next six days. Day 1 is about reasserting the value of your life. When you’re in the grips of heartache, your mental focus is on your lost relationship. The first step in healing is to begin to shift that focus to yourself.
When you awaken this morning, turn off the alarm and lie in bed for five more minutes. During this time, purposely focus on how good the sheets feel against your skin. Slowly stretch out your legs and then your arms and enjoy the sensation. Take deep, purposeful breaths and just enjoy the feeling of lying there.
After you have a bit of coffee or breakfast, take out a single sheet of paper and write “5 Things I’m Proud Of” at the top. Now, write down five things that you’ve done in your life that you’re proud of doing. As you write each one, recapture the feeling you had at that moment. Your list can be anything you choose, a speech you made in school or the time you helped a lost child in a store. It’s your list.
Put your list where you can see it throughout the day and at least twice more today, take a minute to read through your list and, once again, recapture the proud feelings you had when the events took place.
As you lie in bed tonight, think softly on your list and tell yourself, “I am a valuable person in my own right. I have much to offer the world around me,” as you slip off to sleep.
Repeat the five minutes of stretching and enjoying the softness and soothing comfort again upon awakening. Just revel in the feeling. This short time you spend upon waking every morning gives your mind a chance readjust before the day begins.
Today you will gently coax yourself into feeling a little better. Heartache is a feeling of loss combined with the idea that you’re powerless to change your situation. After breakfast, and at least twice more during the day, mentally go through the following steps in order.. Don’t skip any steps. Just focus on each item in turn and think of how it might apply to your personal situation. Go slowly and spend about two minutes on the first two items and three to four minutes on the last two.
1. I recognize that I am discouraged and disappointed. I might even be feeling anger and have some thoughts of revenge. I won’t act on any vengeful thoughts but it’s okay to admit to having them.
2. Sometimes, my emotions are overwhelming, but I also sense that I’m disappointed and worried. Although I blame myself and the other person, I realize that blame in this situation isn’t helping me and I’m going to try to move past my blameful thoughts.
3. I have moments when I’m feeling frustrated and impatient with others and with myself. I can be a little pessimistic right now and if I think about it – some of my feelings are of boredom.
4. Occasionally, I get a glimpse of hopefulness. It’s fleeting but it’s there. Now, that I think about it, I can remember a few hopeful moments I’ve had recently.
Going mentally through the steps should take no more than 10 minutes, and when you’re done, you will feel a bit lighter. Repeat the sequence at least twice more today, but if you find yourself in a bad place, you can go through the list as often as you need to ease your emotions.
Tonight, as you go to sleep, tell yourself, “I have reason to be hopeful. There is a light at the end of this tunnel.”
After performing your 5-minute wakeup routine and grabbing a bit of coffee or breakfast, it’s time to take the next step toward healing. While you might find this step difficult at first, it serves as the turning point in the process.
Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed for 5-10 minutes. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and try to relax. Then, in your mind’s eye, picture a sphere of pure white light. Imagine that the light is warm and welcoming. Imagine yourself walking into the light and feeling its warmth and love radiate through you. As you stand there in the middle of the sphere, you see the person you feel is responsible for your heartache standing just outside the light. Smile, and walk over to the person. Take hold of their hand and gently lead them into the light. Feel the light radiate through both of you, then turn and walk your separate ways, still smiling.
This technique takes some practice, but your desire to feel better and your willingness to participate in the mental imagery will immediately lift your spirits. You can do this as often as you like, it’s an excellent technique for dissipating the anger and jealous feelings that play a role in heartache.
Tonight, as you drift off to sleep, gently repeat the words, “I am moving on and it feels right.”
Congratulations. By now, you’ve taken the edge off your heartache and you’re beginning to see that there might really be a light at the end of this tunnel. By Day 4, your 5-minute waking program will be second nature. Long after you’ve overcome your heartache, the waking program will serve you well. Make a commitment to make it a part of your life from now on.
Today, you’re going to shift your focus to a sense of personal control. While it’s easy to feel powerless during the grip of heartache, in reality, you create your life and the events in it. Little decisions you made long ago brought you into contact with specific people and you chose to form specific relationships. Now that your relationship has ended, it’s time to remember just how much influence you really have over your life.
Take a sheet of paper and make a list of all the things you control in your life. Big things and little things. Your list might include things like “I control what clothes I put on in the morning. I control when I eat and how much I eat. I control feeding my cat and walking my dog.” Make your list as long as you can in 10 minutes and then leave it where you can see it.
Today is a little different from the previous days because instead of repeating the list twice more, take a little notepad, or a few sheets of folded paper with you and add items to your list throughout the day as they dawn on you. Be relaxed in doing this. If you go shopping, you might add, “I control what type of milk I buy,” to your list.
Tonight as you fall asleep, softly repeat the words, “I am good, I am free, and I control what happens in my life.”
Today, you will train your thoughts into a place where you will once again feel hopeful for the future. Take a sheet of paper and at the top write, “Things I Appreciate.” Now, look around for something you like. It can be anything, a pretty vase, a big-screen TV – anything. Contemplate how much you appreciate this item and then write it down. Look for another item. There are no rules to what you can appreciate. You can appreciate a pet, a child, the warm sunshine and green grass – anything. Spend 10-15 minutes appreciating and then put your list somewhere you can see it. Make at least two more lists today. The idea isn’t to hurriedly write, but to focus on the appreciative feelings you get when you ponder each item.
Tonight, as you drift off to sleep, repeat the words, “I appreciate so many things. My life really is blessed.”
By now, if you’ve followed the steps, you will be feeling noticeably better. This is not a program that you need to repeat in its entirety, but if you backslide a little, you can find immediate relief by going through the appreciation steps of Day 5.
This 5-Day program will gradually move your thoughts from a place of loss, despair and hopelessness, to a place of hope and optimism. Keep in mind that you control your thoughts and your thoughts control your emotions.
In the future, don’t allow yourself the luxury of feeling sorry for yourself. Understand that while you control your life, you must also allow others to do the same in their lives. Heartaches hurt, there’s no denying that. But, they hurt because we allow ourselves to feel hopeless and victimized. When we shift our thoughts to a place of appreciation and the knowledge that we are in control, the sun comes out again.
Craig is the founder of LifeGuider, he is dedicated to improving not only himself but also others in being more physically fit and mentally capable of handling life’s challenges. He is not your regular life coach, no fancy clothes or fast cars, just a regular “Ole Joe” who has experienced the ups and downs of life like everyone else.