One of the hardest things
Rahul had a crush on Tina for a whole year before he worked up the courage to ask her out. The two of them were together for six months – most of their class 12, before she sat him down one afternoon for a chat. Rahul knew what was coming, but even so, when Tina told him she needed a break, Rahul took it really badly.
Did the above incident strike a chord? Have you ever faced a similar situation in life?
You’re definitely not alone: research has shown that a breakup is one of the most difficult things you can go through especially as a teen or in your early twenties. And it’s not uncommon to be depressed when a relationship ends. Rather it’s a natural response to the situation.
Research that has shown that certain things can help fight depression when a relationship ends.
There’s more, yes there is
People who are optimistic tend to think things will work out well in the future. They tend not to give in when life gets tough – including after a breakup.
Easier said than done, you’re probably thinking. After all, being optimistic is one thing when a relationship is going well and another altogether when your heart has been broken.
But it turns out that optimism is something you can work on. How you ask? One way is to focus on what’s going well in your life and then be grateful for those.
For Rahul, he was getting really good grades at college and was elected the house captain. During the time of break-up, his friends and family stood by him. What’s more – he even won a new laptop in a singing contest! He had so many positive things happening in life at that time. Once he chose to focus on those, he started feeling better.
So, try getting out a pen and paper and make your own list – jot down the names of friends who love you, things you are passionate about, anything that keeps you happy!
You could also think of one positive thing that happens to you each day and jot it down. After a few weeks or a month, there’ll be no denying there’s a lot of good in your life.
Focusing on these things is a proven way to boost optimism.
Stop obsessive thoughts
After his break-up, all Rahul could think about was what Tina said during their long conversation. He could not stop himself for not going over all the chats they had during their happy times.
This made him more depressed. To fend off the post-breakup blues Rahul had to do away with obsessive thoughts.
It’s normal when you can’t stop going over the details of that final chat with your partner or the things you and her were planning to do together or all the moments you shared.
Instead of getting carried away with what ifs, take some time to reflect on how things went wrong and what you can do differently next time. Doing so could lead to positive growth instead of depression.
Believe in the future
Last, but not least. It is very important to remind ourselves - that there is life beyond a break-up. Every day millions of people around the world have their hearts broken. Most of them also find love again and live happy lives. It is very hard to believe this right after a breakup. But it is true.
So write it on your mirror, put a poster on the wall or let your friends remind you: this (the break-up phase) is just a few days of your life. There are many more experiences to live, many more relationships (of all kinds) to be had and more moments to be lived. It is only with the constant reminding that the mind and the heart can stop hurting about the present and focus on the future. We know it’s hard. But you must try.
Tools to get through post-breakup depression
Focus on what’s going well in your life - if you think you will find many!
Focus on the positive things, make a deliberate effort
Make a list of one positive thing that happens to you each day
Think about what went wrong in your relationship
Reflect on how you might do things differently in the future
Believe in a better, brighter future
References: How do Traits Reflecting Resiliency Moderate Adjustment After Experiencing a Romantic Breakup in Emerging Adulthood? Published: February 11, 2019.
To protect the identity, the person in the picture is a model and names have been changed.