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46 Secrets to Mend a Broken Heart, Heal & Feel Happy and Whole Again

Breakups are always difficult and not easy to get over. That’s why you need to know how to mend a broken heart so you can move on with your life.

how to mend a broken heart

You’ll get your heart broken at some point. Maybe you’ll be one of the lucky ones who finds their true love early on in life and never has to go through a breakup. But that’s not the norm and therefore, you’ll have to know how to mend a broken heart so you can find happiness again after a devastating heartbreak.

It’s not easy to pick up the pieces of your shattered heart. At first, you’ll be a wreck, but after you start to heal, you’ll learn to start living again. 

However, you’ll find that it’s harder to be happy than it was before. You’ll find less joy in the things that used you excite you like nothing else.

What does a broken heart feel like? 

When we fall in love with someone, our brain produces a lot of “feel good” chemicals. In fact, if you look at a person’s brain when they’re in love and another person’s brain who is high on cocaine, the pleasure centers light up exactly the same.

However, after problems start to arise in a relationship, these chemicals aren’t produced nearly as much as they were in the beginning. And when there is a breakup, the brain stops producing them altogether and your body suffers from withdrawal.

That’s why a broken heart feels so painful and difficult to deal with. People usually withdraw and might even fall into depression. [Read: Powerful ways to conquer unloving someone]

So, you might feel like crying, raging, or crushed in a wave of overwhelming despair. You might not even be able to eat or get out of bed. And you could even neglect your personal hygiene.

Or you might prefer to repress your feelings so you don’t have to face the pain of the loss. You might think that if you allow yourself to feel it, then it will cause you anxiety, panic, or depression.

Having a broken heart can cause your body to release high levels of stress hormones, and that can even result in feeling like you’re having a heart attack. But luckily, this is temporary for most people. [Read: Most common post-breakup mistakes you should never do]

Signs of a broken heart

You just broke up, and so you are wondering if what you’re feeling is actually a broken heart. Just to be sure, here are the signs.

1. Grieving

Grief is a very common emotion to feel after you break up with someone. However, grief is a very personal experience and can look different for everyone. 

But there are general patterns or stages of grief that can apply to a breakup in the same way as if you lost a loved one. [Read: Painful stages of heartbreak and grief all of us go through after a breakup]

2. Fatigue and exhaustion

You will be feeling a lot of emotional pain, and the changes in your brain can make you feel exhausted and fatigued. 

Your energy levels might prevent you from being able to move through your day with ease. It could also stem from not sleeping well.

3. Physical pain

On top of the emotional pain, you might even feel physical pain. [Read: How to heal from the pain of loving someone who doesn’t love you back]

A broken heart can actually cause pain all over your body. That’s because the sudden surge in cortisol not only stresses your mind but your body too.

4. Depression

Obviously, a broken heart makes people sad. But sometimes, this sadness is so heavy that it can lead to depression. 

However, after a breakup, the feelings of sadness, anger, or changes in your mood aren’t long-lasting. They’ll go away eventually. [Read: How volunteer work can help heal depression]

5. Feeling empty

When you invested so much time, energy, and love into a relationship, it can leave you feeling empty. This numbness is common with a broken heart. 

It’s your brain’s way of protecting you from feeling the full effect of the emotional pain. So, you might even feel nothing at all.

6. Rumination 

If you’re constantly thinking about the breakup, such as why it ended or what went wrong, then you are ruminating. It’s fine to analyze it, but if it becomes excessive and intrusive, then it’s rumination. [Read: How to stop overthinking – secrets to go from overthinker to relaxer]

These unwanted thoughts are stressful and can be debilitating. This sign is an indication that the breakup is consuming you, and you might be feeling hopeless.

7. Feeling stressed out

As we said earlier, a broken heart impacts how your brain releases hormones. It releases the stress hormone cortisol as a reaction to heartbreak, and it makes you more stressed than ever before.

8. Less self-control

If you are depressed and ruminating about the breakup, then it can also bring about less self-control than usual. So, you might turn to your vices more than you normally would. [Read: 52 happy habits and ways to find happiness within yourself and feel better]

For example, you might drink more, eat more, or shop more. It could even lead to an addiction problem if you’re not careful. Try not to indulge more than you know you should.

9. Withdrawal

Love is kind of like an addiction. When you’re in love, dopamine stimulates your brain’s reward system, just like cocaine does. 

So, when the person is removed from your life, your brain can’t activate this reward system anymore in the same way. [Read: 58 life-changing secrets to get over a breakup and heal your broken heart]

That means your brain needs time to readjust. In the meantime, you might experience withdrawal as if you had a drug addiction.

10. Reduced or increased appetite

A broken heart can also affect your appetite. However, it affects people differently. 

Some people might turn to eating more food because it comforts them and helps them cope. Others might lose their appetite completely and not be able to eat because of the emotional pain. [Read: How long does it take someone to get over a breakup? 34 steps and the timeline]

11. Sleeping too little or too much

If you are ruminating over the breakup and are in a lot of emotional pain, it could interfere with your sleep. You might stay up all night consumed by these thoughts and emotions and not be able to sleep.

On the other hand, you could sleep too much. If you’re depressed, you might find it difficult to get out of bed. You might think that sleeping will help you forget the breakup because you don’t have to face it.

12. Lack of interest in your usual activities

You also might find that you are losing interest in the things that normally bring you joy. Maybe you used to work out, but now you feel lethargic all of the time. [Read: 15 sad romantic movies to help you move on]

Or you used to like to go out and socialize, but now you’re feeling like a hermit and just want to stay at home. Either way, you’re not acting like yourself anymore.

You have to get through the breakup

Believe it or not, breakups can last a while. You might think all it takes is a single conversation but occasionally, a breakup can go on and on and on. 

Usually, this is the case if the other person isn’t quite sure they want to leave you. They just keep toying with the idea and never come out and tell you upfront. [Read: Ways to deal with heartbreak the right way]

Then after a little while, they finally give you a straight answer and you’re left to deal with a broken heart. The first step is getting through that initial breakup with class.

Don’t reach out. Don’t drunk dial them over and over again. Leave them alone and try to cope by getting a solid support group together.

How to mend a broken heart so you can find happiness, and potentially love again

You’re probably not really thinking about finding love again right now, but you might want to know how to mend a broken heart so you can at least start enjoying your life again. [Read: The first week after a breakup – the hardest parts and 15 steps to survive and heal]

Here’s what you can do to ride out the pain until your heart has healed.

1. A broken heart comes from being in love

That pain in your chest, the feeling of throwing up? That’s because you’re in love with this person. 

If you didn’t love them, sure, your ego would be a little bruised, but in a couple of days, you would completely forget about them. But this is different; this pain comes from love. [Read: Can you die from a broken heart?]

2. Do not doubt your feelings

You should never doubt the relationship or your feelings. You chose this person for a reason.

For whatever reason, there was something about them that you really liked and grew to love. What you felt was not wrong or a mistake, those were your feelings at the time and this person was what you needed at that moment in your life.

3. You either face the pain or run

So, you have two options when you’re trying to learn how to mend a broken heart, and they’re both hard. [Read: Emotional numbness – 23 ways you could slip into it and how to snap out]

You avoid your feelings, or you face them. If you avoid them, you’ll probably be successful for some time, but you’ll end up having a breakdown sometime in the future when it catches up with you.

If you face your emotions, you struggle in the beginning. Then, it gets better. So, basically, you either choose to struggle now or struggle later.

4. Let yourself feel the pain

Don’t try to hide it away. If you need to cry, cry. Let yourself feel the pain of your broken heart because it is very painful. Nobody’s going to hold that against you. [Read: 66 songs that’ll let you cry and help heal you]

Take the time you need to cry and then pick yourself back up and find a reason to smile. In order to learn how to mend a broken heart, you’ll have to get very good at crying and then cheering yourself up.

5. Write down how you feel

Sometimes writing down our feelings helps us see what we’re going through from a different perspective. It’s easier to see the things we’re struggling with most when you write them down.

So start journaling. Talk about the pain you’re going through and how you feel every day. This also helps you get those feelings out so you’re not bottling them up inside. [Read: How to get your self-esteem back after a breakup]

6. Accept that it happened

You probably still have some hope left inside of you that they’ll take you back or come back to you, but don’t. 

Accept that it happened. You are broken up. If they come back, great but don’t wait for them. You only delay the healing process.

7. You’re going to go through phases

Right, you’ll go through some phases, most of them unpleasant, but that’s life. First, is denial and probably thinking that this is all a joke. [Read: How to deal with your broken heart and crawl out of the pit]

Then, you’re going to be angry. You may want to call them, yell at them, you know, be a little dramatic— but please don’t.  

Then, you bargain. This is where the “I should have” comes in which transitions you into a depression. You’re going to be really sad. Eventually, you reach acceptance and that’s when the healing starts.

So if you’re feeling a particular way, maybe in denial or maybe angry, find peace in knowing that soon this feeling will pass, you’ll move on to the next phase, and eventually, you won’t have to worry about how to mend a broken heart because it will be mended.

8. Stay out of the “what if” or “I should have” zone

You cannot keep dwelling on the past. It’s not easy to do. There were probably a lot of things you should have and could have done, but you didn’t. [Read: Letting go of your ex: 15 ways to make it easier]

You didn’t do those things! So, what do you want now? There’s nothing to do except learn from it and work on your next relationship.

9. Look at the positives the relationship gave you

Yes, it ended but the relationship taught you a lot, whether it was a good or bad relationship. You learned about yourself and what you look for in a partner. 

This isn’t easy. It may make you upset when you think about the time you spent with them but look at your relationship as a life experience. [Read: Letting go of someone you love, minus the bitterness]

10. Focus on changing your thoughts

Right now, if it’s a fresh breakup, you may be blaming yourself or having a small pity party as to why nothing works out for you and how you’re going to die alone with eighty cats.

Okay, we all have those thoughts, and they’re normal. 

However, after some time, if you still think like this, well, who’s to say it won’t happen? So, change your mentality. You will find love. [Read: How to open your heart and find love again the right way]

11. Reflect on the relationship

If you don’t reflect on your relationship, how are you supposed to be a better partner for your future relationships? 

And if you don’t process your emotions and simply f*ck your way through until your next partner, nothing changes. If anything, you may even break up with your new partner for the same reasons. [Read: 15 lessons you can learn from your own break ups]

12. Think logically about your relationship

Take a step back and look at the quality of your previous relationship from afar. Was it really that great? It’s easy to have a skewed perspective when you’re with someone because you love them.

However, usually, the relationship wasn’t all that great to begin with. They dumped you. There were clearly issues. Take a step back and think logically about your relationship as if it was your friend’s relationship. 

This might help you see the truth of the matter and mend your broken heart much more quicker. [Read: 18 critical signs of an unhealthy relationship]

13. Look at how you reacted to the breakup

This isn’t so much about you getting over it, this is more about seeing your emotional reactions and triggers. Maybe you called them twenty times after the breakup, yelling at them on the phone. 

Why did you do that? Simply ask yourself why you react the way you do. Is it anxiety? Anger? Fear? Figure this out.

14. Admit to yourself your faults

You don’t need to do this right away, but if you truly want to understand how to mend a broken heart, eventually look at your involvement in the relationship and break up. [Read: 28 self-improvement secrets to improve yourself and transform into your best self]

Relationships consist of two people, so though you may think your ex is an asshole for this and that, there are things you did or didn’t do that you should reflect on. Look at what you did and be honest with yourself about your own actions.

15. Start working on building your confidence 

Your self-esteem is probably shot. You were dumped. It’s understandable that you’re not feeling all that great about yourself right now. But dwelling on those feelings of insecurity will only make things worse.

Hit the gym to feel better about your body and to get endorphins flowing. Focus on your positive traits and don’t let the fact that you were broken up with ruin the way you see yourself. [Read: How to build self-confidence – 16 ways to realize you’re worth it]

16. Make sure you cut all contact

This isn’t for them, this is for you. Cut every ounce of contact with your ex. Don’t text them, call them, write them emails, nothing. 

Delete them from social media. You need to cleanse yourself. If not, you’ll online stalk them. We all do it, but it doesn’t do us any good. So, do yourself a favor and speed up the healing process by cutting them off.

17. Remove your ex from social media

This is probably the time when you stalk them like crazy which is even more of a reason for you to delete and remove them from all forms of social media. [Read: The toxic dangers of social media and 19 signs and ways it makes you insecure]

It’s going to be hard, but by not having them as a reminder everywhere, you’ll move on more quickly.

18. Get a new, sexy profile pic

It’s time to revamp your social media accounts. You were probably a little tamer because you were taken, but you’re single now, remember? 

So, why not post a brand-new sexy picture of yourself showing you all glowed up? You need to show your ex what they miss. [Read: Seductive selfie – 34 best sexy selfie poses and tips to show yourself off]

19. Get help from friends

Your friends are there to support you. They want to lift you up and help when you’re going through a rough time. Reach out to them and tell them what’s going on. Discuss your feelings and why you’re hurt.

Let them understand what you’re going through so they can offer help. Chances are, you’ve been on the other side of this equation before helping them. Let them repay the favor now. [Read: 18 ways to build a lasting friendship]

20. Find distractions

If you want to mend your broken heart, you’ll have to find things to take your mind off the pain. The less you notice it, the easier it’ll be to get through. 

In time, you’ll find that it hurts less and less and the more you’re not thinking about it, the faster you’ll get through that rough period of time.

Spend time with friends. Do the things you find fun. Avoid lying in bed with nothing to think about but the fact that your heart is broken. [Read: 30 really fun ways to get distracted with friends]

21. Keep living your life

Don’t stop doing what you’ve always done. If you have a hobby, keep doing it. Keep going out with your friends on the same night of the week you always have. 

Don’t stop living your life just because you’re heartbroken. If you do, it’ll only make it worse.

22. Pick up new hobbies

You’ll probably have some extra spare time since you’re no longer in a relationship. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, take up some new hobbies. [Read: 15 ridiculously fun games to have a good time]

You’ll be distracted and you could also find something new you’ll really enjoy. It’s okay to take on a lot of different projects in order to find something you’ll enjoy most.

23. Read often

Reading is a great way to distract yourself because you really can’t think about your own life when you’re reading about the struggles of ficitonal characters.

When you get super invested in a story, you won’t think about your own heartache for a very long time. Find some good books and start reading. Your heart will be mended in no time. [Read: The 15 best books to read after a breakup and begin your healing]

24. Get out as much as possible

It’s really easy to stay cooped up inside when you’re heartbroken. You don’t want to go anywhere or see anyone. That’s understandable. However, you need to.

Let your friends drag you out and have fun with you. This is a fantastic distraction that’ll also help you realize that there’s more to life than your ex.

25. Do not use rebounds as a way to cope

Your friends may tell you that the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else. Shockingly, this doesn’t work. It just makes you feel even more attached to your ex. [Read: Steps to get over someone you love]

Sex is healthy. However, if you only use sex to get over someone else, it’s not going to work. This isn’t acknowledging your feelings, this only masks the pain through sex. 

Though you think it’ll work, when you’re in bed next to someone you don’t care about, your ex will be on your mind.

26. Or… try a rebound if you want

Just be careful if you go this route. You can learn how to mend a broken heart by having someone else put the pieces back together. [Read: Rebound relationship – 43 signs and rules and how to have fun in one]

Just be careful not to get into a relationship with someone right away instead of using them as a rebound. This could have dire consequences.

27. Clean your room

You might think it’s a weird time to clean your room but just clean it. It’s easy to feel depressed when your room is a mess. 

Give it a solid cleaning. It not only makes you feel better, but it shows you that you can start fresh.

This means giving your sheets a washing as well. [Read: Steps to get over someone you love]

28. Get selfish

This is the time to focus on yourself and do things that make you feel good. Join the class you always wanted to take, go to the movies, or hang out with friends. 

It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it makes you feel good. It’s time to focus on yourself and give yourself love.

29. Get that fresh breakup look

Cut your hair, get a new outfit, and join a gym. Everyone has that moment after a breakup when they just want to start fresh. But take a couple of days before doing anything drastic. [Read: The 20 life hacks you need to be confident you]

You know, just in case you were riding the emotional wave. Let yourself cool off and then drastically change your look if you want to.

30. Don’t light their things on fire

You’ll be tempted to chuck or light on fire personal gifts from them, etc. But don’t. Put them in a box and give them to a friend to hold on to. 

When you’re older you’ll regret destroying those things because, at the end of the day, this person was a part of your life. [Read: Old love letters and memories – Should you keep them or burn them?]

It’s important to look at those items and reflect on who you were then and who you are now.

31. There’s no set time for you to get over your ex

Getting over someone isn’t a race. There’s no deadline by which you need to be completely over that person. If you were in love, it takes time to truly recover from the relationship. 

This person was your best friend. Losing someone that close isn’t easy to process. There’s really no rush, so just take your time. [Read: How long does it take to get over someone?]

32. Give it some time

You won’t heal this breakup overnight. It’ll take some time. As a standard, give yourself three months. If in three months you’re not even feeling better, go ahead and seek out additional, professional help.

Feeling down and negative for that long can be a hindrance to your life. Fix it early on so you can be happy again.

33. Not all love stories are supposed to be lifelong

This is really hard to accept. Not all relationships are supposed to last a lifetime, though this doesn’t mean they’re not important. [Read: Post-breakup questions you should consider]

All relationships serve as a life lesson and a purpose in your life. Just because there’s no ring on your finger doesn’t mean it was a waste of your time. 

34. This person isn’t the only one out there

This is going to be hard to think about right now because you’re still hurt, but you need to understand that though you love this person, there’s someone else out there you can love.

Will this new love look and feel like the love you had? No, you’ll never experience the same love twice, but that doesn’t mean it’s not equal to or even better than what you had before. [Read: Stages of grief in divorce and everything else in between]

How long does heartbreak last? 

While each person and situation is different, there are some general timelines that can be expected when you are trying to mend your broken heart.

Many studies suggest that most people will start to feel better about their breakup after about six weeks. Some people might get over it a lot faster than that, but it’s usually not a whole lot longer than six weeks. [Read: Self-discovery after a breakup – how to happily move on]

With that said, if the heartbreak is very deep, then it could take 3-4 months to start to feel more like yourself again. And in the cases of a long-term marriage and divorce, it could take years.

But if you’re not following these timelines, that doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you. If you get over your broken heart quickly, then that’s great. If you’re struggling for a long time, then you might want to seek some professional help. But that’s still okay.

[Read: 45 saddest lost love quotes for the broken-hearted]

Learning how to mend a broken heart is a useful process, but it’s not easy. You’ll have to stay tough and get through those rough patches before you can experience happiness again.

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Carol Morgan LP
Dr. Carol Morgan
Dr. Carol Morgan has a Ph.D. in communication and is a professor at Wright State University where she loves corrupting young minds. As a relationship and succes...