Make your new life better than it ever was with your ex!
After you’ve watched all the Netflix marathons, sworn off the booze and finally washed all the tear-stained pajamas, it’s time to take action to get your life back — and maybe even become a better version of yourself than the one you were with him.
Here are 5 tips to stimulate that loving feeling post-breakup:
1. Daydream about your future in the same starry-eyed way you did when you met your ex.
Now that you’re embarking on some time being single, treat it with the positive expectations and daydream about it as you would when starting a new relationship. In fact, you are starting a new relationship — with yourself. Imagine who you will become, the places you may travel, the new people you might meet and the new experiences you may have.
2. Arouse your curiosity.
When you’re falling for someone, you’re curious about them. You want to know about their history, their interests and their goals for the future. Use this time of being single to get curious about yourself.
You may discover new preferences that you didn’t think much about while in the relationship — for example, maybe it was easier to go along with what your ex liked. Now’s the time to explore what you enjoy.
Taking personality tests is insightful and may give you a better understanding of your tendencies, responses and thought processes. Try a few and see what you learn about yourself. The Meyer’s Briggs, DeMartini Values Scale and the Enneagram Tests are all quite elucidating.
3. Create a chemical reaction.
Helen Fisher, PhD, wrote about 3 stages of falling in love — lust, attraction and attachment — and the chemicals in the brain associated with them. You can stimulate the same chemical release by doing different activities and choosing your thoughts to develop a new mindset.
In the attraction stage of love, adrenaline is released. This stress response makes us feel slightly awkward with a quickened heart rate and sweaty palms. Why not increase adrenaline by doing an activity out of your comfort zone?
Try a ropes course, ride around a race-track or, the ultimate adrenaline rush, sky-diving. Don’t walk through a known dangerous neighborhood alone at night, but a few scary movies might be just what you need to boost your cortisol and adrenaline output.
Dopamine levels, associated with desire and reward, are high in newly formed couples. Increase your dopamine by having a sense of accomplishment about completing a task.
Washed the dishes? Woohoo! Celebrate that success. Set small goals and take the time to feel good about each one you complete. This is a good time to learn a skill, take up a new hobby, enroll in a class, etc. Celebrate the feel good sense of completing something like the book you just read, putting together the piece of Ikea furniture without leftover hardware or enjoying a delicious meal you made from a new recipe.
To release serotonin, participate in a group activity where you feel valued and connected. I did volunteer work after my marriage came to an abrupt end and it was one of the best things I did for my healing. You can read about the 12 healing practices for heartbreak I wrote about in my book, My Heart Is Broken. Now What?
4. Get healthy and feel sexy again.
In the beginning of a relationship, we tend to take the best care of ourselves, spend more time putting outfits together and our personal grooming takes precedence. We want to look great for our partner.
Now that you’re single, this is the best time to take even better care of yourself. Go for the hydrating hair treatment at the salon, splurge on the designer perfume, take an extra Spin class during the week. Don’t mope around in sweatpants eating pizza. Put on your favorite outfit and go volunteer for a cause that’s close to your heart. You’ll feel better and meet like-minded people.
Use this as your time to shine and to put your best version of you out into the world. Your confidence will skyrocket when you know you're looking good and feeling good. This creates a healthy emotional thought pattern that raises up your positive energy.
5. ACTUALLY love yourself.
When we’re in love, we not only feel the love coming from our partner, but we also want to say and do things that make them feel special. Now that you’re single, this is the time to give yourself the love and adoration you’re not getting from someone else right now. Start your day with journaling some positive and affirming thoughts about yourself. What are your good qualities, what are you proud of and what do you aspire to be like in the future?
Monitor your self-talk and correct any thoughts that aren’t supportive, loving and kind. Gaze into your eyes in your reflection in the mirror and say "I love you." If that's too uncomfortable, start with "I like you" or just say "Hi." Write yourself a love letter and post love notes on your mirror and in your car. Set an alarm on your phone with an affirmation of self love.
If you sink into negative thinking, replaying criticisms and remembering what they thought was wrong with you, flip-switch to new thoughts of what's right with you and what you love about yourself. Speak to yourself as you would to your very dear friend.
Getting to know and love yourself after a breakup is a personal discovery journey. Like any journey, having a destination and a guide are valuable.
If you're ready for support, guidance and accountability in moving forward after your break up or divorce, contact me at patty@pattybluehayes. Patty Blue Hayes is an award winning author, certified personal development trainer and life coach.