Creative Coping

Heartbreak sucks. Whether you are the dumper or the dumpee, saying goodbye to someone who has been an important part of your life is going to be painful. You could be having your heart broken for the first time, or you could have been down this road a couple of times before; no matter what your score is, this experience would always hurt to some degree. As getting over a breakup is not an art we can master over time, unlike what Kate Winslet did in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”, most of us will fall back to the same unhealthy method in order to move on from each failed relationship.

Why not break the habit for once? Next time you find yourself turning into a real life Bridget Jones, ditch the self-pity party and do any of these:
1.Write songs.
For Taylor Swift, getting her heart broken has earned her 7 Grammy Awards and made her one of the most successful pop stars in the world now. She is also one of the richest, if not the richest for her age, at 23 years old, with Forbes gauging her to worth at least U$55 million. Who says heartbreak can only be inspiring and not lucrative? FYI, some of the most memorable love songs of today are penned after a breakup anyway –remember Cee Lo Green or Alanis Morissette? So whip out your guitar, practice your singing voice, and start making music. Turn your sadness and frustration into something beautiful and productive. Get your song out there on Youtube or Soundcloud and connect with people.

2.Help other people.
This might seem like a total contrast to what your instinct might tell you to do at the moment, which is holing up in your bedroom and playing Damien Rice non-stop. But helping others works both ways: you learn to put your problems aside and focus on something more important, and others receive a little help with their burdens. They will feel loved, safe and happy –all positive feelings that you might benefit from by being around. Giving help is also a form of self-love –researchers have proved that doing good for others can increase your happiness and personal fulfillment in the long run as it gives you a natural sense of achievement.

3.Read more books.
Do you know the main fear of someone who is fresh out of a relationship? That they are going to be alone forever. This might sound a tad dramatic, but it’s really easy to get wrapped up in your own thoughts when your spirit is low. What you need is perspective, and lots of it. Books are ideal because they can provide the distraction you desperately need, and they also have some pretty good messages for the readers. No matter what your flavor of literature is –self-help, memoir or deep existential books– seek comfort in the written words. You will be surprised at how the right book might ease your heartache.

4.Pick up a new hobby.
The hardest thing to get rid of after a relationship ends is not the photos of your ex nor the stuff you had while you were still together, but the habits that you had formed with each other. Now that you are broken up, you suddenly find yourself having a lot of free time, which you will often choose to spend with countless trips down the memory lane to relive your heyday as a couple. Kick this masochistic and useless ritual. Your brain needs to re-wire itself to your new life, so learn something new and establish a new routine: rock-climbing activity, dancing lessons, cooking class –anything, as long as you are doing something.

For Speak! Mar.edition, 2014

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