The Science of Getting Over Heartbreak
by Zach Murray
With cuffing season just around the corner, love is in the air. And whether it’s mutual or unrequited, it’s on the forefront of many students’ minds. So, because cuffing season may be fast approaching, this means that heartbreak season is too. As situationships end and friends-with-benefits go back to just friends, they leave a trail of broken hearts in their place. Although heartbreak is an inevitable part of life, science has conducted research on the best ways to mend it. In a study done by Sandra Langeslag and Michelle Sanchez in 2018, they went through three different strategies towards getting over a breakup.
First—thinking negative thoughts about their ex and listing all the things they didn’t like about them. Next, accepting the situation for what it was and realize that it is perfectly fine to still have love in your heart for someone who broke it. And, finally, the last strategy was to distract yourself as much as possible.
All three options had a tangible effect on the participants’ emotional states, showing that each helped them get over the heartbreak even a little bit. However, they weren’t without drawbacks. The study found that when you focused on the negative aspects of your ex, there was a solid decrease in mood. And for those who accepted their feelings, there wasn’t a significant change in mood or emotional response to a photo of their ex. Finally, though, distraction left participants in a better mood overall, but scientists described it as a type of avoidance, which prolongs the heartbreak process.
Overall, the findings of the study showed that there are many ways one can get over a heartbreak, and there’s no foolproof concoction to mend yourself in a day. Un-loving someone
may be challenging, but not impossible, and if you take steps every day to work on unbreaking your heart, you’ll be on the mend in no time.