Every day, all over the world, millions of people die while they’re awake. Their hearts are shattered into a million pieces because of a betrayal, death, loss, or disappointment. These people are known as the broken hearted. They could end up spending the next couple of days, months or years mourning unless they find a cure for their heart break. 

I am one of those people. It feels as though my heart has been broken all of my life and some days, I feel like there may very well be no cure. There are self-help articles. There are motivational books. There are awe ridden stories, but how really do you heal from a broken heart?

What Does Christianity Say? 

For those who are Christian, open to religion or generally spiritual, it’s interesting that the bible has a few verses on those with a broken heart. God must see a broken heart as a huge deal. I wish that employers did too and they’d give us a few paid days off to recover. Ah well, for now we’ll just have to settle for crying in the bathroom during lunch breaks. 

Anyway, here are a few verses I came across. 

What Does Science Say? 

I found it interesting that science had something to say about what’s going on in your body when you have a broken heart. Seeing as it feels like you’re going into cardiac arrest, I’m happy science is here to tell us that we aren’t exagerating. 

Interestingly, studies show that your brain registers the emotional pain of heartbreak in the same way it does physical pain. 

When we’re in love, dopamine and oxytocin which are hormones that make us feel good rise. On the contrary, when heart break happens, these hormone levels drop and the stress hormone cortisol steps in. Too much cortisol over a period of time can result in anxiety, nausea, acne and weight gain which all sound like heartbreak symptoms to me. 

Now, if you’re wondering whether your heart can physically be broken from heartbreak, the answer is yes and no. What apparently can happen is you could experience Takotsubu cardiomyopathy, which is a syndrome that can be caused by the stress of a heartbreaking situation.

More specifically, the emotional stress from a heart break can cause the left ventricle, which is the hearts main pumping chamber to be stunned or paralyzed. This explains why you may experience symptoms like chest pains, shortness of breath, or dizziness. The good news is that this condition doesn’t usually cause permanent damage and will resolve itself. In other words, it will hurt like hell, but you shouldn’t die. 

How to Heal a Broken Heart

broken heart black girl

Now that we’ve established that heart break is lethal and both science and Christianity agree, it’s time to look at how you heal it. Although healing is spiritual, there is a practical approach you should take to healing as well. 

1.) Accept it

This is sometimes the hardest part of the process and a reason many aren’t able to heal. Accept that your heart is broken and take the time to dissect your feelings. You honestly cannot heal if you don’t know what you’re healing from. One of the things that triggered heart break for me was my miscarriage.

I had to understand that the aftermath of feeling neglected and unloved is what caused so much pain.  I also had to accept that people are imperfect and that was the beginning of my healing. 

2.) Develop a Healthy Routine

A routine outside of lying in bed, crying and skipping baths until you reek of all things ungodly is necessary if you want to recover from heart break. If you don’t throw some positive things into that routine, you’re likely to sink deeper into despair and depression. Try and develop a daily routinethat forces you to do a couple of self-loving things a day.

It could be getting up to have a shower, opening the curtains and eating some fruit the first few days. As you begin to feel better, you can gradually add more positive things to your routine. 

It starts with remembering to love yourself intentionally even when you don’t have the energy. I created a self-love checklist that you can download herewhich helped me to remember to do things that were good for me EVERY DAY. 

Nobody is saying don’t cry, because even thugs cry. Crying can be therapeutic a lot of the time, but don’t let your tears drown you.  Add activities that trigger the brain chemicals that make you happy. Some include walking on a treadmill, volunteering, and reminiscing on happier times in your life. Also, eat foods that literally lift your mood such as dark chocolate, walnuts, spinach, and blueberries. 

The world needs your energy. A routine should distract you from your pain momentarily, but also, allow yourself to feel the pain. It is a necessary part of your healing.

3.) Give it Time

Nobody wants to hear it, but you can’t rush the healing process. If you break your leg tomorrow, you don’t expect it to be magically healed the next day, so think about your heart break the same way. Let time pass and let the emotions fully express themselves after a while, you will become strong enough to manage them.

If time isn’t doing the trick, it could be best to reach out to a professional. They may be able to provide you with tools you need to recover.

You have to deal with heartbreak as you would with grief. You have lost something that you saw as integral in your life and you need time to process that. You also have to restructure your life and learn to live without it. 

4.) Choose Healing

 Many people begin to love the self-pity and woe is me that accompanies the pain of a broken heart. This can be the biggest hindrance to moving forward. Instead of choosing self-pity, choose healing.

If not, you could miss out on all of the beautiful things the world has waiting for you. Remember that your broken heart may not be your fault, but fixing it is your responsibility. Nobody is going to do the healing for you. 

My Experience 

As I’m writing this, I am realizing that I’ve never truly given myself time to heal, because I didn’t know how. It wasn’t just about isolating myself or letting time pass. It was about unpacking and offloading dissecting my emotions. Revaluating my beliefs as they influenced the decisions that played a part in my heart break most times.

It was about replacing all of those false beliefs about myself and people and replacing them with healthier ones. To mend my heart, I had to believe in things that bring life, not death. 

At thirty, I am doing that and I have never felt more liberated. I am tapping into a higher version of myself that is praying and cleansing her soul in the middle of a field of wild sunflowers. Who is purifying herself with transparent oceans of tears. Who is facing her pain head on instead of running from it. It’s incredibly uncomfortable, but absolutely necessary. 

I want so desperately to find refuge in the arms of someone who will run their fingers over each scar and ease the pain. But I know this healing process is one that I have to walk alone. Hopefully, I will be a better mother, lover, sister and friend because of it. 

The Naked Poet