Breakup: 6 Steps to Get Off the Emotional Roller Coaster

By Jenine Estes, Estes Therapy

Breakups, suck. Plain and simple. A relationship breakup can be extremely difficult, painful, and emotionally draining. We often find ourselves on a horrible roller coaster of emotions. From day to day you shift between feelings of anger, depression, hopelessness, fearfulness, anxiousness, and a sense of being overwhelmed. While in a relationship, people will plan for a future with their partner, along with the feelings of connectedness love, and belonging. However, once the relationship is over, these feelings often swing the other way, and you now have to face an aspect of the relationship that you never planned for or expected. No matter how long your relationship was, or the type of relationship, breakups are almost always an emotionally painful experience. Here are a few tips that can help recover from a breakup.

1. Let out some air

Imagine for a second you have a balloon in your body. Now, imagine stuffing emotions down into this balloon every time you get sad, angry, or frustrated.

Just as helium balloons pop when they get full, so do the emotional balloons within us. The feelings you experience during a breakup can burst this balloon, leading to physical side effects like headaches, depression, and stomach aches. One of the best methods to release the internal pressure before it pops is talking about your frustrations with a trusted friend or therapist.

2. Journal

Emotion can force our mind to go over the same thoughts time and again, forming a continuous thought loop. Cyclical thinking doesn’t get you anywhere and is counter-productive to eliminating an emotional roller coaster. Continuing these mental cycles only increases the pain, fostering more negative thinking. Besides talking about your emotions, another way to confront these feelings is to journal. By writing down your thoughts, your brain gets time to relax. Journaling solidifies your thoughts and can help you gain clarity.

3. Spend time with Friends and Family

Time by yourself can be the biggest hurdle to getting off the emotional roller coaster. Rather than moping, spend time with a friend or family member for support, get help with being distracted, hear another perspective, and find some time for laughter. Being with the ones you love reminds you that life does go on, and you can still have good times in the future, despite your breakup.

4. Keep track of your thoughts

We often ask ourselves questions which we cannot immediately answer in the wake of a breakup. These questions include: Why did this happen? What could I have done? What will happen now? Getting trapped in these questions often leads to a state of no longer being present in the moment; you leave the real world and go to a world of doubting thoughts and unanswered questions. You can get so caught up in the thoughts that all other aspects of your personal life get left behind. The thoughts can ignite an emotional roller coaster and will only keep you hurting and seeing the negative about the situation. Tell yourself to stop and shift your thoughts onto another topic.

5. Take it Off Your Radar

Recovering from a breakup can cause you to be hyper-aware of your surroundings, especially when it comes to other couples and how they seem to be so happy. Try to refocus your attention on the more helpful parts of the environment. Notice the colors, the fresh air, and the beautiful environment. Avoid the thoughts of what you don’t have and shift your thoughts to what you do have.

6. Have Fun

I think the title explains itself. Do activities that you enjoy, that give you pleasure, and that help you feel good about yourself. In this time of emotional pain, a little smile will go a long way.

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