How Meditation Can Help You Heal From Heartbreak
*“Hearts can break. Yes, hearts can break. Sometimes I think it would be better if we died when they did, but we don’t.”
Stephen King, Hearts in Atlantis
It’s said that it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. And while that may be true, the pain of a broken relationship can leave you shattered, confused and unable to move forward. If you have ever suffered, or are presently suffering, from Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy (yes, there is even a scientific term for broken heart syndrome), you know exactly what I’m talking about.
It’s called heartbreak for a good reason. The physiological reaction to intense emotional pain can physically hurt and weaken your body. When you are heartbroken or painfully rejected, your body begins an emotional storm, creating a dangerous cocktail of toxic hormones such as adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine.
As Dr. Ronald Stram, founder of the Stram Center for Integrative Medicine in Albany, says: “There’s an immediate adrenal stress response. The adrenal gland releases adrenaline. Your cortisol levels go up. Your gut shuts down, your heart rate goes up, blood pressure rises. The emotional wounds of rejection literally hurt. From the perspective of our brain and our body, the emotional distress of heartbreak is the same as severe physical trauma!”
It’s true that time can heal our wounds, but sometimes we want to accelerate the process and get on with our lives. It’s important to heal properly because we could permanently re-wire our brain for sorrow and misery with repetitive negative thoughts (this is known as Hebb’s Law by neuropsychologists).
Meditation can be one effective way for quickly healing and moving on.
Meditation brings you into a relaxing light trance, known as the alpha state. In this pleasant state, you can visualize yourself happy, joyful and loving again. Whilst in this state, you can use mental rehearsal to trick your brain. While you are in the alpha state, your frontal lobe does not recognize the difference between fantasy and reality, which allows you to reverse the physiological effects of your painful heartbreak. Additionally, whilst in the alpha state, your normally locked subconscious mind opens, allowing you to reprogram it by intentionally replacing repetitive negative thoughts with healing and loving ones.
Meditation combined with visualization (mental rehearsal) can help you to rid yourself of toxic emotions, and reopen the possibility for love and joy once again.
Visualization for Healing After Heartbreak
With your eyes closed in a light trance, visualize yourself healed and happy. Picture negative emotions leaving your body and drifting away in a cloud. Visualize yourself embracing and thanking your ex-partner for the lessons learned together. Release your former partner and wish them well. Picture your heart opening and creating space to allow love back into your life again. Feel yourself comforted by the infinite universal love and nurturing that is always around you.
This simple visualization will help you to move through the grieving process more quickly so that you can begin healing; opening your heart to love again.
Additionally, you can enhance and accelerate your healing by taking good care of yourself by committing to your yoga practice, eating a healthy sugar-free diet and surrounding yourself with friends and loved ones.
How to Create a Meditation Altar
In The Miracle of Mindfulness, Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh says that we should meditate because “each of us needs to realize total rest… mindfulness is the miracle by which we master and restore ourselves.” Sometimes even a full night of sleep doesn’t help you achieve total rest. How can the restless truly rest in modern society? Mindfulness, or the art of living in the present moment, is an important state of being to achieve in such a busy world.
Develop a Meditation Practice
As we rush through life, many of us feel like we’re not quite present in every moment. According to Karen Kissel Wegela, Ph.D., to counter this feeling, practice mindfulness meditation. Meditation allows you to let go when stressed and accept yourself just as you are – your thoughts, feelings and emotions as they arise moment to moment.
It is important to have a daily meditation practice that grounds and centers you. Such a practice will allow you to feel strongly connected to and centered with yourself. Sometimes, breathing exercises aren’t enough. You need a physical place to go to and rest. While mindfulness meditation can be practiced anywhere, it is important to have a sacred space to call your own. An altar is a beautiful space full of sacred energy that you can tap into when you need. Anyone can create an inspirational altar with just a few items and pure intention.